Title: Sweet Treats
Photographer: Cyd, letterpress marketer
@ Bella Figura since: 2009
With the new year here, we wanted to show off a few photos from our recent open studio event, which took place a few weeks ago. We had the most fun introducing the local community to letterpress and showing off our print shop and new offices! We invited the local public, media, clients, vendors, friends, family and anyone with an interest or passion for printing and the arts to come pay us a visit. In return, we had printing demonstrations, tours, giveaways, an excess of sweets and goodies from a local bake shop and loads of letterpress fun. We decorated with DIY paper chain garlands for the Christmas tree and colorful paper bunting strung from the cross beams in our office, all of which were created from gift wrap from our sister company, Smock. Our friend and amazing wedding photographer Alice G. Patterson spent the day with us and captured these snippets from the day and her photos already have us excited for next year!
Born on December 16th and weighing 7lbs 5oz, we’re ecstatic to get to extend a warm welcome to baby Petra Juliette. Our very own Chris (one of our esteemed client coordinators) is a new daddy and we couldn’t be happier for him. Congratulations, Chris and Theodora, on the new addition to your family! She’s absolutely beautiful.
This fall Bella Figura, our parent company Boxcar Press and our sister company Smock got a lot larger and moved into some shiny new digs. Our expansion (17 letterpresses, 55 employees, 24,000 square feet) makes us one of the largest letterpress shops in the country. For the past few months we have been packing up, building new walls, moving presses, expanding our print shop and moving our operations from one end of an old warehouse in downtown Syracuse, New York to the other. Now we’ve cleaned up our dust and we’re inviting you to come check us out!Come for shop tours, printing demonstrations, free giveaways, holiday shopping with Smock, refreshments, live entertainment and more. Letterpress lovers of all ages are welcome – we’ll have lots of fun activities for kids, too! We look forward to seeing you on Saturday between 10 and 4 – see you soon!
If you follow us on twitter, you may already know that for the past few months we have been packing up, building new walls, moving presses, expanding our print shop and moving our operations from one end of an old warehouse in downtown Syracuse, New York to the other. We are newly settled in our new space and working on cleaning up our dust (and, trust us, there has been a lot of dust), but we wanted to let you know that we’re going to be hosting an open studio (aka a really fun party) next month and you’re invited! We do hope you’ll join us – friends, clients, general public, and the curious at heart are all welcome. There will be many more details to come so stay tuned!
We were so excited to see one of our newest Bella Figura designers, calligrapher Maybelle Imasa-Stukuls‘s beautiful studio space featured on Brooklyn Bride last week! We loved reading more about Maybelle’s inspiration and the beautiful space she works in and know you will, too. Check it out on Brooklyn Bride! Also, don’t miss Maybelle’s beautiful calligraphy letterpress wedding invitation designs exclusively for Bella Figura, Sonoma and Belle.
Check out 36 new eco stationery designs from our sister company Smock: New letterpress greeting cards, gorgeous new offset note cards, vibrant letter writing sheets and cool patterned hang tags! The bamboo hang tags feature colorful pattern backings with blind deboss letterpress motifs on the front – perfect for both personal and professional use. They’re ideal for wedding favor tags, for the perfectly wrapped birthday gift and more! Smock’s new bamboo lettersheets coordinate perfectly with the hang tags – they are bright, modern and uniquely Smock, an ode to our love for handwritten correspondence.
All items now available for online ordering on Smock’s website.
It was a joyous day here at Bella Figura when calligrapher Maybelle sent us the sweetest of packages – custom calligraphy stamps! Personalized with our names and return mailing addresses and then tied with a cute tag and a little bow made with grosgrain ribbon, they’re just the kind of special gift we love around here. (You can rest assured we’ll be talking about these beauties for a long time to come!) Thank you so so much, Maybelle! We’ve already been putting our stamps to good use and are so very grateful.
Here at Bella Figura, we love the opportunity to work with couples from all walks of life in designing and printing the letterpress wedding invitations of their dreams. Getting to know our clients is such a joy for us – we love when they share photos of their weddings and then come back to us later for letterpress baby announcements! So we thought we’d share a bit of insight into what makes the team at Bella Figura tick. First up, a little look behind the scenes with Bella Figura Client Coordinator, Tiffany…
Describe your typical day during the week…
6:00 – Alarm goes off. Typically I will hit snooze until 7:00 because I went to sleep WAY too late due to either (a) having been up all night reading whatever latest book has captured my imagination or (b) my dog snoring…she snores REALLY loud!
7:30 – By 7:30 I am showered and out the door way earlier than I need to be…but honestly, mornings are boring to me so I usually just head into the office early rather than sit around killing time.
8:00 – As soon as I sit down I check my email first thing so I can tackle high priority items right away. Sometimes things will pop up – a last minute venue change that a couple wasn’t anticipating or a change in bridal party members – and the sooner I can address such changes, the earlier we can get things taken care of on our end to help make sure our clients are pleased with the pieces we’re printing for them.
10:00 – By now my day is in full swing. Depending on the day it will involve a lot of answering calls and emails, preparing specs for clients to review, proofing text, and working with our designers to get proofs to couples for their review. Every day is different, which is half of the fun.
1:00 – At 1:00 it’s lunchtime which means lunch with the ladies, our time to reflect and talk about the important things in life – food we like, food we eat, food we know we shouldn’t eat, and food we should eat but don’t really want to. You know, we keep it real. Sometimes we talk about some beautiful letterpress wedding invitation set we just printed…but more often than not, we talk about food.
3:00 – Late afternoons can get pretty busy, so I’m often pretty busy working on getting whatever information I can to those brides and grooms who need something. We take great pride in extending the best of customer service, so I like to know I’m leaving the day with a clean slate every night and that I’ve done everything I can for the day before taking off.
6:00 – Six o’clock is quittin’ time around here so I’m typically on my way out the door and preparing myself for having to weave in and out of traffic to get home.
What is your favorite Bella Figura design?
Sonnet. It is just perfect! The design is entirely feminine and sweet and it really conveys the feeling of a celebration of love – I can’t get enough of it.
What are your favorite color trends right now?
I am really into purple and gray right now, and I have seen a lot of couples pairing either amethyst or aubergine ink with pewter for their letterpress invitations. I personally love the softness of lavender and pale gray inks paired together, it’s so feminine and sophisticated – just gorgeous!
What’s your favorite tip for keeping letterpress budget-friendly?
I think putting your money into a really fabulous invitation (2 ply paper, corner rounded, edge painted, calligraphy accents etc.) and then opting to print the reception and reply information right on the invitation is my pick. Sure, it’s less traditional but it’s a great way to save money and cut down on paper consumption. I am a stickler for tradition, but the thought of a heavily embellished knockout invitation that stands alone appeals to me.
If you could go anywhere in the world on a vacation/honeymoon, where would you go, why, and what would you do?
Ireland. It is such a lovely country and the people are incredibly warm and personable. Ireland is home to many of my favorite things – horses, Guinness, and amazing landscapes (not to mention men with fabulous accents!) I am planning a trip there in May of next year and I am so excited!
What are your top 5 prized possessions?
Aside from a letter my grandfather wrote to my grandmother when he was in Europe during WWII, my most valued possessions are my books. My favorites (of my obscenely large collection) are: Jane Austen’s Persuasion, Emily Brontë’s Wuthering Heights, Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Hound of the Baskervilles, Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, and Herman Melville’s Moby Dick. I could not survive knowing I wasn’t able to grab any one of them at a moments notice!
For first time visitors to Syracuse, where are your favorite places to shop, eat, and hang out?
I am a country girl through and through, but I do think Syracuse is a great city to visit. With that said, for me the real beauty of this area lies outside of the city limits in some of the neighboring towns. We have some of the most stunning landscapes around, and nothing makes me happier than to gaze out at miles and miles of pristine farm land occupied by grazing sheep and the patchwork effect of newly planted crops. Central New York has beautiful lakes, quaint towns, lots of outdoor activities and tremendous restaurants. Syracuse itself has some not to miss attractions – don’t miss Dinosaur BBQ for the best ribs EVER! – but I would highly recommend a leisurely drive to Cazenovia or Skaneateles to soak in the beauty of the hills, the trees, and the land, particularly in the autumn months when the foliage is incredible!
Here’s our take on a little inspiration board inspired by all things Tiffany. We picture a beautiful wedding in the hills of Ireland with stacks of old books and other vintage ephemera used for centerpieces, Guinness served in pint glasses that guests could take home as favors, rich purple hues, and a bride in a fabulous flowing dress being whisked away on a horse. And the invitations? Letterpress wedding invitations by Bella Figura in our Sonnet design, naturally.
Bride with horse photo by Emily Porter Photography
Wreath photo by Eleise Theuer
Letterpress reply card by Bella Figura
Ring pillow via The Knot
Centerpieces from Once Wed
Bride with bridesmaid photo by Sweet Monday Photography
Landscape photo via Wallace Travel Group
Guinness from fresh expressions
Bride and groom by Carrie Patterson Photography via Snippet & Ink
Check out this great post on Weddingbee by Cyd, a Bella bride who visited our upstate New York letterpress shop recently to plan for her own wedding invitations. Looking for more glimpses of what goes on in a real letterpress print shop? Check out our cool letterpress music video featuring all that is good and beautiful about our presses, and also this other great video of our print shop, made by professional wedding videographer Luke Walker. And yes, we love visitors.