Posts in Custom Work

Well, It’s You Girl

published by Fran Shea

There was a canopy bed in my bf’s bedroom with a Holly Hobby theme. There was a room covered in pink carpeting, but not entirely covered in pink carpeting — one wall featured a mural of a day-glo leopard — when the “black light” came on, it was party-time. There were, at least, four fireplaces — a bronze peacock guarded one of them. In that room, there was an off-limits record collection. Ziggy Stardust confused and intrigued me. An indoor pool in the basement? Yes. Sauna? Check.

This was the Mary Tyler Moore house, circa 1980. AKA: Heaven.mtm-house-outside

You know, Mary Tyler Moore?! Once Laura Petrie, reborn as herself and the star of her very own situation comedy set in my fair city?mtm-help-meI haven’t been back to the MTM House since my friend’s family moved out, BUT one of my spies was just there (it’s on the market for a cool $3,620,000) and saw our Room and Board prints hanging on two walls. Now, I know: Not as cool as a day-glo leopard mural, but as Miley Cyrus would say, “still pretty cool.”2-r-and-b-mtm-house

Wanted: Design Pimp

published by Fran Shea

It was a fat PVC pipe, coated in Crisco, pitched at a 25° angle and suspended over a pit filled with filthy water. A $5 bill was clipped to the high end and my job was to shimmy my way to it. (Why am I always shimmying poles?) With my glasses pushed tight to my face, my stringy blonde hair moved back and forth as I slid myself toward my goal. I wore my lucky shorts — Granny Smith green with pink piping — and “my 4th of July” shirt — red and blue striped off-brand Izod.

A crowd gathered.

I wanted that $5 and the glory that came with it. With that $5, I could buy enough candy to satisfy my aching sweet tooth and with that glory came a lifetime of bragging rights. “The greased pole in the Hollow in Barnstable? Yeah, I did that.”

I entered a competition today. This one does not involve poles, pits, or Crisco. It does involve money and Jen and I have both agreed that we will do (almost) anything for money.

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Uncommon Goods invited us to submit designs for an iPhone case and after slathering myself in Crisco, I submitted some designs. I know you’ve seen these before. I’m really into recycling.

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For Cheese and For My Country

published by Fran Shea

Oscar Litterer lived in my house and he loved his ham radio. He loved it so much, he built a secret radio room under the stairs. I imagine he sat there night after night broadcasting his message to the moon and back. He was not alone — others really did share his passion for frequency modulation — but not in his own home. In his own home, his wife tended the peonies and their only son was devoted to the project of digging the hole in the driveway.

What a lonely life for Oscar!

When someone has a passion for something, they shouldn’t hide under the basement steps. They should open a shop and hire Zeichen Press to design t-shirts. theirs-was-a-tough-act-to-follow-kernedpowers-for-good-with-sheep_0

Mister Eat All The Things OR Three Acres And A Cow

published by Fran Shea

There once was a Frenchman that could, and would, eat large objects. He ate them bit by bit and was able to digest bicycles, televisions, shopping carts, chandeliers, and even an airplane. This took patience and, reportedly, gallons of mineral oil.

Bit by bit.

This wasn’t some sort of performance art piece — he never meant for it to be a metaphor.

But he ate a plane.

Such deliberateness! I like to imagine that he carefully considered each piece as he pried it off and swallowed it.

Mister Eat All The Things (Monsieur Mangetout) could be an inspiring mascot for an economic philosophy.

I’ve been told that a printing press in the shop is just as good as three acres and a cow. We’ll see. WE’LL SEE.

Anyway, I made this card for the president of The Society of Distributism because he has a fancy book signing coming up — 150 lucky people will receive the card. Oh, and a signed book.there-is-no-place-like-small

Using Big Words

published by Fran Shea

The Epilepsy Foundation needed a new look for their fleet of trucks and The Carney Group contacted me (via telepathy) to see if my brain was available to think of ideas. I’m not just a brain. Geez.

I rescheduled my ice-pick lobotomy and put on my thinking cap.

What if the trucks were bright red and had big white letters with a line like, THIS TRUCK CONTAINS TWO TONS OF HOPE??

Yes?

Okay.this-truck-contains-two-tons-of-hope

A Pigeon in My Flashing (and Other Bedtime Stories)

published by Fran Shea

When Nature and Civilization collide it sounds just like stirring twelve tin cans in the bathtub with a golf club. This sound, combined with another sound—the sound of a pair of teeny-tiny hands strangling a pigeon.

I laid in bed for 1…2…3…4…5 hours and listened to, what I concluded was, a pigeon trapped behind the flashing on my house.help-me-pigeon

A squirrel met its maker (Bruce Hornsby) that same way last Summer. But not before it spent several days running itself to death. Was the pigeon luckier? It shivered in the cold until shortly before dawn. Like the Little Match Girl, it shivered to death, clutching a clawful of burnt matches.

We have a client that needs graphics for its trucks so while I listened to the pathetic cries of the dying pigeon, I thought about that.

It was a productive night.

Fortune Teller, Tell My Fortune

published by Fran Shea

Winter has been creeping in like a gas leak and I am always pleasantly surprised to find myself awake in the morning. It would not take long for the madness of Winter to descend upon the little house. Letterpress printed on recycled paper. Comes with coordinating envelope and packaged in cellophane sleeve.

“That’s nice.” I say, as I stretch and crawl off my sofa-bed. Never one to miss nuance, I wonder why I’m not in my own bed.

Good design sometimes requires getting into character – I’ve been dressing like a gypsy (not showering) for our latest Tanek project. A paper fortune teller is easier to mail than a crystal ball and some might argue – more accurate. Tanek will send 300 of these out to their dearest friends – I only hope they take the responsibility of predicting the future seriously:

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Every Couple Wants Their Own Postmark

published by Fran Shea

I won’t try to fight it – and why should I?

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My youngest sister mad-helen

(why is she so angry all the time??) is getting married this weekend and I designed/Jen printed some invitations for the blessed event.

The event will be very celebrity-heavy. By “celebrity” I mean “family.” It will be full of family. You can crash the wedding if you want – but no pictures. Just kidding. Take pictures – I can’t stop you.

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Doing Unspeakable Things With Type

published by Fran Shea

I regret not jumping into Lake Superior last week. I’m kidding, I don’t regret that. I regret not pushing that weird guy into Lake Superior last week. He was yelling, “the effing dog ate my pills! The effing dog ate my pills!” That poor wiener dog was trying to end its own sad life. Anyway, here’s a photo of Lucy and Jenny braving the frigid waters:

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Lake Superior is the poor man’s ocean, just like my Reprex

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(notice the vice grips)

is the poor man’s Vandercook.

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But I must make do.

I must make do because that’s how I was programmed. The project du jour is a print involving lots of words. And because I’m a daredevil, I decided to lock up the type in a vertical formation. This is not for the faint of heart. The type and I both felt creepy when it was over and now we can’t even make eye contact.

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