Show and Tell in Chicago with Starshaped Press and UPPERCASE

During this year’s HOWLive conference I had the thrill of introducing Janine Vangool, UPPERCASE Magazine to the stage. I am a person who has an urge to promote and share awesome, especially individuals and their work whom I admire and feel others would benefit from their insights and vision as well. One thing I have learned over the years is that Janine is an introvert who makes the brave effort to come out of her shell for the sole purpose of connecting with her readers of UPPERCASE magazine because she is smart to realize that is how a strong brand is supported.


Starshaped-20150504-069One of the events that Janine hosts during her travels is a “Show and Tell”. Yes, it is exactly as it sounds, the same show and tell you would do in grade school. She collaborated with Jennifer Farrell of Starshaped Press, whom opened her letterpress studio in Chicago to fellow UPPERCASE readers. It seemed appropriate as UPPERCASE’s Issue 25 was a letterpress theme. Let’s be honest when it comes to Janine, this wasn’t a coincidence.

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A highlight for me was the opportunity to get to know Jennifer and her assistant, her daughter Josephine. She has managed a working lifestyle and passed on her passion for letter press to her intelligent offspring. Jo’s job that night was to supervise the guests as they printed up their own personal letterpress UPPERCASE print created out of metal type by Jennifer.


Janine invited Creatives’ Cupboard to co-host the event which to be honest wasn’t too much work. I spread the word about the event and showed up showing my own wares of what Creatives’ Cupboard was with my new line of undated planning systems, the myDay and myWeek. I am really glad I went first – I would have felt extremely intimidated after hearing from the others in the group!

Starshaped-20150504-076The studio space was inspiring in itself. The collection that Jennifer has grown over her 15 years in the business is impressive. She is a lover of metal type. When I mentioned my interest in using her services she was adamant about not printing other designers’ designs! I didn’t understand at first, but when I realized that in her own way she is like an illustrator that I would hire – I would give her the creative brief and she would create the art out of her letterpress materials. That sure works for me!

Starshaped-20150504-034This was a small event due to the venue size. We managed to cuddle up with over 25 people in Starshaped Studio. I managed to get greased up after cuddling with one of the letterpress machines. Sure glad I was wearing black – it all matched.


Starshaped-20150504-013As in any social gathering of strangers there is a quiet awkwardness of little introductions and wondering what you are going to say or even chat about. I am happy to say that that changed for everyone once the showing and telling began. The “oo’s” and “ahh’s” were everywhere as each person stepped up and showed their art. We were treated with beautiful surface pattern designs, illustrations, letterpress designs, 100-day concept art projects, bookbinding, box crafts and linotype press art.

Starshaped-20150504-002One of the guests was Paul Aken of The Platen Press, a curator of all things letterpress. His understanding of the craft and collection of materials was humbling. It was a real treat to hear from someone who loves sharing his stories and passing on the torch to whomever would listen.

Starshaped-20150504-004I came out of the show and tell with an appreciation that you really don’t know a person until you have seen their passion in action. When you cue into what makes a person “light up” you have the ticket to making real connections.






Most of these images are provided by UPPERCASE with a couple extras that I collected only phone. I would like to thank Starshaped Press for hosting and of course UPPERCASE for proving that print is not dead.

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