CREATES WITH PAPER, INK AND PRESS,
HERE IS HER STORY:
I'm the co-owner and creative director of Sycamore Street Press, a letterpress paper goods company based in Heber City, Utah.
I design our Folk line, and all my designs are completely hand drawn and lettered.
I loved watching my mom drawing and painting when I was just a tiny thing. For as long as I can remember, I wanted to follow suit. Drawing was my first love in the creative field, and that's what I still do. The printmaking came later. As an undergrad, I had to take beginning courses in all the traditional mediums. I thought I would take painting as my emphasis, but I found I liked the graphic nature of printmaking better... It wasn't 'til grad school (in '06) that I was able to take a letterpress class. I fell in love with it instantly. In fact, I'd fallen in love with it years before. As soon as I started printing on the letterpress, I began scheming of ways to start my own little letterpress business. Fortunately, I was able to do so just a year later in the fall of 2007. It wasn't until after I started Sycamore Street Press that I realized that entrepreneurship was a big love of mine as well. As a kid, I'd always be setting up stands on the corner selling whatever I could find or make. A big part of that came from watching my dad (he's always had his own business) and admiring that he was his own boss and he made his own way. These days, running the business is just as big a part of what I do as designing. And in many ways, I find it to be just as creative a pursuit.
The name of my line for Sycamore is Folk. That sums up a lot of where I get my inspiration. Traditional folk textiles, paintings, engravings, illustrations, etc... And since moving back to Utah, I'm increasingly inspired by the natural world around me. We live up a dirt road in a small valley, where things like elk sightings and gorgeous mountain views are a daily occurrence. I can't help but be profoundly influenced by that.
As I said, I loved drawing at an early age. Absolutely adored it. And I still really love it. But there was a period of time where I didn't enjoy it at all. I dreaded it. It came after taking a couple of intro level drawing courses in college. The exercises were so tedious, and the critiques made me feel so inadequate. I felt that unless I could draw like a Renaissance master -- and quickly -- there was no hope for me. It was a sad stage. I finally started breaking out of it when I stopped worrying about what other people might think and started drawing in the way I liked. But this new love of drawing and confidence didn't come in one huge a-ha moment. It came in fits and starts and finally settled into a more solid feeling when I began drawing lots and lots of designs for Sycamore Street Press. Which means that this whole "period of time" when drawing and I had an awkward relationship lasted 8 or 9 years. I guess I just needed time (and lots of practice) to work through things.
Sycamore Street Press got its name in the simplest way. We lived on Sycamore Street, and I had a press. We had just moved to the German Village, which is a beautiful historic neighborhood in Columbus, Ohio. The streets are paved with brick and lined with trees and small, charming homes. It seemed fitting to name a letterpress company after such a place.
Although I love letterpress, drawing, paper goods, and running my own business, my absolutely favorite part of this whole thing is the people I get to work with. Stephanie Ford, Kristin Mills, and Amy Shaffer were friends of mine when they started designing for Sycamore in '08, and they've become even dearer to me every year. My husband Kirk joined me in '09, and we now run Sycamore together. I get to work with my best friend every day. Our little girl was born in '10, and since Kirk and I work for ourselves, we have a more flexible schedule and are able to spend more time with her than we would otherwise. All around, it's a wonderful situation! (And I try to remember that when I'm up at 1AM working for a deadline and half wishing I had a job with a predictable paycheck and more traditional "benefits". Ha ha.)
If you would like to purchase some of Eva's beautiful letterpress artwork you can visit Sycamore Street's website here, or their Etsy shop here. If you would like to know more about Eva, Kirk and their adorable daughter Ingrid you can follow them many different ways! On their blog here, on Facebook here, twitter here, instagram here or Eva's wonderful Pinterest here!