Stephen Colbert scored his largest margin of victory in late-night since his debut with shows that featured his trip to Russia
Taking us to Nebraska, our next feature on Behind the Stationery is Ramona & Ruth! Kim, the brand’s founder and designer, shares about her self-taught journey with letterpress and why this classic print method is a key element of Ramona & Ruth. As an illustrator, Kim gives us an inside look to how she sets up her ideal sketching environment, what inspires her designs, and what she’s been sketching lately. –Megan Soh
From Kim: It was around 9 years ago that my first little antique tabletop press was delivered to my doorstep in Omaha, Nebraska. It was better than Christmas morning. I had begun my nationwide search for a letterpress after a few years of working as a graphic designer in a corporate job and not feeling very fulfilled. I initially set out to use this letterpress to print wedding invitations for clients, but the more I learned, the more I wanted to explore, so I began printing my own hand-drawn illustrations. I spent countless hours researching the craft and fumbling around on the press trying to figure out how it worked. I still remember the very first illustration I printed of a little coffee cup and the joy it brought me to see my design come to life in print. It was then that I knew this was meant to be.
Over the years, my Omaha-based studio has grown to include two antique printing presses as well as a paper cutter from the late 1800’s. It was a few years ago that I knew time was right to purchase a Heidelberg Windmill letterpress to help me with printing larger wholesale orders. With this press upgrade also came a studio upgrade. Weighing in at 3,000 pounds, the Windmill was a much larger machine than my current press and therefore needed the space to accommodate it. Instead of finding a separate off-site studio space, my husband and I decided to have a letterpress studio built onto the back of our home. With no overhead and no commute I could better balance staying at home with my two little boys with my work in the studio.
After a few months, the studio was finished and the presses were moved in safe and sound. It was so important to me to have a generous amount of windows so the studio would be filled with an abundance of natural light. My studio is my outlet. I just love the light and airy feeling of my space and how it provides me with an inspirational and uplifting place to design and print. It is in this studio that I strive each day to build a brand of letterpress goods that create delicate, thoughtful designs that leave lasting impressions.
Ramona & Ruth is named for my grandmothers who inspired me to find beauty in simplicity. Ramona, an entrepreneur who handcrafted beautiful floral designs in her very own floral shop; and Ruth, who spent her days tending to dairy cows and wrangling chickens out on the farm. These hardworking, dedicated women helped instill my passion for developing my own business.
At Ramona & Ruth we print contemporary designs with timeless sentiment the old-fashioned way. While offering a variety of paper goods, the core of our product line is letterpress greeting cards. Each design starts from a sketch in my notepad and from there, is transferred to a digital image in Illustrator and prepared for platemaking. Letterpress is an art form and the details are what make it remarkable. The initial sketch, hand-mixing the colors, the intricacies of typography and spacing, hand-feeding the vintage presses — from conception to fruition, each and every product is a beautiful journey.
Each day at the studio is a little different, which is part of what I love about running this business. I typically start the work day at around 9 am once my boys are at their grandparent’s. After I pour a fresh cup of coffee and check through my emails, I go through my list of the day’s tasks which often include a mix of designing new products, printing, packaging wholesale orders, and marketing tasks including social media posts and newsletter design. I recently hired my first employee who will be working as our wholesale coordinator. I am hopeful that this will free up some time for me to focus on more of the things I enjoy, such as the design work and marketing outreach.
Designing fresh new products is the absolute favorite part of my job. I can sometimes be quick to tire of my more seasoned products, so I gain a lot of enjoyment out of dreaming up new ideas and nurturing them to life. When it’s time to start thinking about designs for new product releases, I like to start the design process by setting up a calm, quiet atmosphere where there are minimal distractions. This could be at my studio desk alongside my favorite citrus candle with a little music playing in the background. Other times I need a change of scenery so will head over to my favorite little coffee shop that is both quiet and spacious and design there for a few hours. Setting aside specific blocks of time to design along with creating a calm, relaxing atmosphere helps to clear my mind and allow the ideas to flow.
I have one designated notebook where I jot down my ideas and draw little sketches so that all of my ideas can be found in one place. Recently, I have been really drawn to patterns, so have been experimenting with different shapes and lines and how those can interact with each other in different ways. I also find it helpful to curate boards of things that inspire me such as fashion, textiles, interiors and ceramics. From there, it is interesting to see what overarching theme is apparent across the board and draw inspiration from there. Some of the most fulfilling products to develop are the letterpress greeting cards since many times I am involved in the production from start to finish. It is such an amazing feeling to see a design that started as a little idea in my head pressed into the sheet of cotton paper for the very first time.
All photos courtesy of Ramona & Ruth.
Interested in being featured on the Behind the Stationery column? Reach out to Megan for more information at megan[at]ohsobeautifulpaper.com.
IKEA item used: IKEA GULLIVER Changing table
The “Pet and Play” is a design using the GULLIVER changing table. It is easier to care for your pets when you have them sleep and eat in one place altogether rather than in different parts of your home.
This avoids a lot of mess and easy to maintain. This specific “model” was for a dog, a cat, a bunny and a fish.
Depending on what pets you have, you can easily adjust the needs of each pet by building panels over the GULLIVER changing table and adding more space according to their needs (eg: for their food in boxes or shelves to add a bunny cage or a fish bowl).
I added a small ladder for the cat and tied rope on the side for scratching etc.
A good idea that I did was name it our “Petshop” with a closed and open sign. This way kids know that when the animals are resting the Petshop is closed, and when it’s playtime it is open.
You can have a lot of fun styling up the changing table and creating a unique house for your pets and have fun naming your ‘building’.
Other small pets enclosures you may like
This super duper guinea pig equivalent to a Beverly Hills Mansion is made out of 5 LACK tables and a lot of love.
A double storey rabbit hutch formed from 2 HOL storage boxes, complete with a room for some bunny cave time.
Fresh off this spring’s game-changing Iron Chef Gauntlet competition, Alton Brown, the Chairman, and Iron Chefs you know and love are heading back to Kitchen Stadium for an all-new culinary contest: Iron Chef Showdown.
Inspired by the fan-favorite series Iron Chef America, Iron Chef Showdown will bring together the likes of A-list Iron Chefs Bobby Flay, Jose Garces, Michael Symon, Alex Guarnaschelli and Stephanie Izard, who earned the coveted title just this year following her victory on Iron Chef Gauntlet. Look out for brand-new Secret Ingredients, all-star-chef matchups and elite culinary competition of the highest order. Alton will be on hand to host Iron Chef Showdown, while Mark Dacascos will reprise his role as Chairman. Plus, Jaymee Sire will enter the kitchen as a floor reporter, bringing you all the insider details of the what’s and how’s of each battle.
Whose cuisine will reign supreme? You’ll have to wait until later this year to find out. Stay tuned to Food Network for all the details on what’s ahead and when.
Pyre Developed by: Supergiant Games Published by: Supergiant Games Available on: PC, PlayStation 4 Historically, most video games based around quick reflexes have rewarded perfectionism. Racking up a high score on a leaderboard or getting to a new stage generally requires zealously avoiding mistakes. Plenty of games use negative reinforcement — in the form of […]