A Poster on Rosin Paper

published by Fran Shea

Recently, my roof was crawling with roofers and I watched while they threw hunks of 80-year-old shingles into my Lilac bushes. After screaming at them in the only Spanish I knew (¿De quién perro es ése??!! : Whose dog is that??!!) I grew very interested in a particular part of the process: a giant roll of red paper was used to cover my roof like gift-wrap – I thought it was strange and tried to mime some sort of conversation – my arms waving wildly, like I was landing a plane on an aircraft carrier. The foreman handed me a hundred-dollar-bill and told me I was special. I still don’t know what happened. 

Madge is turning sixty AND ALSO celebrating her 35th wedding anniversary. I have the honor of creating a poster to commemorate this Holy Convergence. There is a roll of red rosin paper and a couple cans of ink in the shop that are dying to be a part of the project. Here’s a sneak peak:

scan-35-60.color

Are you my logo?

published by Fran Shea

Back in the day When Men Wore Hats, back when cuffs were linked, when the boardroom had a bar, when men were men and women were secretaries; way back then, The Logo was king. I wish I could have been there. Thank God for Mad Men.  Dear Lord, please protect Don Draper from small cell lung carcinoma. Amen.

I love a good logo. I love it like I love my mother. I want it to challenge me at every turn.  I want it to lodge itself into my relational thinking. I want it to manipulate me. I DO.

Observe:

Vandalia-Street-Press-card.

Selby Otis card

Californy is the place you ought to be

published by Fran Shea

California would be the perfect place to be except for one teeny-tiny thing. No Zeichen Press. But soon all of its fine citizens will gobble up our goods like manna in the desert. LIKE MANNA. 

Will Los Angeles (and its glorious surrounding areas) embrace the simple and slightly twisted humor from Minnesota? 

Stay tuned.

My Google Shrine is bogus

published by Fran Shea

What am I doing wrong? I devote myself to one search engine. ONE. There are so many more but my eye has never wandered. Sure, I played around a little bit with Yahoo – who didn’t? I just feel like this relationship is completely one-sided. I do. I give and give, search and search and when I FINALLY search for me, I get nothing but pages and pages of other letterpress studios. UM, that makes me ill. Listen, google: (If that is your real name) You either put me first or it’s over. That’s me; Zeichen Press. A design and letterpress studio in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Maker of fun and funny greeting cards and disc sleeves for one and all.

First Base with Trader Joe’s

published by Fran Shea

The Trader Joe’s card chick sent a fat check with a little note that said, “Dearest Zeichen Press, let’s get it on.” 

Isn’t that romantic?

Sighhh, I love this stage of a relationship. Both a little awkward, both excited – sniffing each other’s bottoms. Other things go unnoticed –  cleaning, bills, cooking, dad’s life-support machine. 

I used to raise my hand in class, working my face to communicate a message to my teacher. It was important to get into character – my character was The Girl That Needs To Use The Bathroom Super Bad. It was serious. Of course, I’d be excused and head to the library. The librarian was the tough but lovable hunchback, Sister Avila. She loved the Dewey Decimal System. Never a word from her mouth – just the stern pencil-tapping was enough to make me stuff a sock in it. Every day there was a crisp new StarTribune on the big table. I would feign interest in Global Matters but couldn’t wait to get the comics.

If Trader Joe’s likes this next round of cards I owe it all to skipping class, Sister Avila, and the comics of the late-1980’s. I claimed to despise the Family Circus, but dammit – I read it every day. I also followed Mark Trail – the Cary Grant of the comics. BUT I saved The Far Side for the very end – Gary Larson was the Pope of the Funnies. If he ever comes out of his pen-and-ink cave, I will kiss his ring.

Okay, here we go:

HURRY! That birthday is just around the corner.That's MR. Happy BirthdayYou don't look a day over three.I'm clearing my calendar for your birthday.Yikes! My youth just scurried by.

Craftstravaganza Review/Doppelganger Evidence

published by Fran Shea

The day began with a single, tissue-wrapped banana-lovingly prepared by the May Day Cafe.

It’s all about the details.

From there it was a regular thrill-ride down 35W. Sometimes when Jen drives, I close my eyes and scream The Lord’s Prayer. Jen tries to shut me up by stuffing buttermilk scones in my mouth. I do a lot of praying when Jen’s around. Dear God, please help me not to crush Jen’s toes with a case full of lead type.

The Craftstravaganza was more fun than usual. Everything is more fun with darts. We sold lots of stuff, here’s Jen practicing her smile:

Jen!!

After I took this photo, I backed into Pevenshire Wiffynuts.

Mr. WiffynutsPevenshire Wiffynuts Letterpress printed on recycled paper. Comes with coordinating envelope and packaged in cellophane sleeve.Needless to say, my mind was blown. With barely a moment to recover, Two Bald Men came to our table. I fainted and hit my head. To wake me up, Jen threw a cup of hot coffee at my face. She should be a nurse.

Two Bald MenCheer up, you could be two bald men. Letterpress printed on recycled paper. Comes with coordinating envelope and packaged in cellophane sleeve.

Celine Dion at the Craftstravaganza!!!

published by Fran Shea

I’m totally kidding. Wouldn’t that be awesome though? I was picturing her at Bergan’s Grocery Store this morning… standing with her microphone –  between the Rug Doctor Rentals and the helium balloons… Singing like it’s a Saturday Night in Vegas. Oh, Celine! Shopping would be a pleasure with your angelic voice wafting through the air, mingling with deli-smells – My heart would go on.

The Craftstravaganza? Right. We will be there with 55 of our closest crafting friends. When I say, crafting” don’t think about toilet paper cozies, kleenex box cozies, toaster cozies, and toilet brush cozies. Don’t. I’m not judging the ladies that make things cozy, I’m just wondering why everything needs to be so cozy. Okay, DO think about hand-made goods. GOODS. I’d even call them hand-made greats. See how I am? See how I roll? You know it.

craftstravaganza09poster-download1

Going to the State Fair Grounds off-season is like bumping into your teacher at your dentist’s office. What the hell are YOU doing here?! You’re not supposed to leave school! Your teeth aren’t real!!

See you on Saturday my Best Beloved. Bring your wallet. And your mom.

Creek-Bike & Room & Board

published by Fran Shea

The ice on the creek melted and it was time, again, for the Creek-Garbage-Opener! Our tackle box contained exactly two things: a giant hook (the Kitchen-Aid-bread-dough-attachment) and 50 feet of obsolete ethernet cable.  The catch-of-the-day was larger than usual and after  a nail-biting struggle, this was pulled  out:

Creek-Bike

It smells like death but it’s ours

What does any of this have to do with Room & Board?

Ugh. It’s so obvious. 

So anyway, we gave our prints to Room and Board and we’re waiting to hear what the President & Vice President think. Personally, I don’t think they really needed to take it to that level. Obama is a busy fellow. Here are a couple things they liked:

Big gray typeWood type

Wanted Poster Type

Must…write…more…cards………………

published by Fran Shea

There seems to be something gnawing on the chicken-bone of my subconscious. Not just gnawing, but dipping it in creamy, blu-cheese dressing and sucking on it.

Thank goodness for the wet-nap, or whatever is doing the gnawing would contaminate the rest of my psyche. I like my non-physical parts to be separate. Like a melamine hot-lunch tray. Everything stays within it’s little-walled-area and nobody gets fussy.

Unfortunately, or maybe not, there does seem to be some breach in the Dreaming ~ Day Dreaming compartments. Sandbagging might help. Or a thick, mashed-potato partition – the mashed potatoes finally living up to their destiny.

Great writers are great ruminators but great ruminators are not necessarily great writers. I think that’s what I’m talking about. Or was I talking about my days in the cafeteria? Ah, the cafeteria…“Lunch Lady? Would you mind being careful to keep the gravy in its… No? Yes, you’re right. It all ends up in the same place…”  In the toilet. Which is, of course, a metaphor. That’s what happens when you give children mixed-messages.

So, anyway. I have a growing collection of printer’s cuts and for some reason I feel compelled to give each of them something to say. I realize that the New Yorker’s Caption Contest is eerily similar to what I do. Except I always win. That’s the nice thing about owning the company. Thatand the hugs I get from complete strangers. Why do strangers hug me? They might be trying to squeeze the life out of me. I’m not sure. They tell me not to resist – I’m always like, “Resist? Resist what? Who am I to stifle this bizarre act of love?”

Where was I? … Right. A line I wrote for a lonely cut:

Sorry.

PSSST,

are you coming to my funeral?