Based in Christchurch, Tumbleweed Press is an impressive one woman operation run by Clazena,
a stationery designer, letterpress printer, wife and mother. In addition to producing gorgeous
designs on her antique letterpress, Clazena’s crafty inclinations include sewing, knitting, crocheting,
quilting and baking.
What do you make?
I design and print letterpress wedding stationery, and have a new range of event stationery for parents and children. This includes birthday invitations, thank you notes, baby announcements and baby shower invitations.
How did you get into your craft?
I was living in Melbourne and become tired with the impersonal nature of the work I was doing as a graphic designer, when an opportunity arose to purchase a platen press. I began designing and printing custom wedding stationery for couples throughout Australia, as well as brides in NZ, New York, London and Dubai. After moving back to New Zealand, I put the business on hold for two years to be a mum. I have now re-launched with a new stationery line.
Do you have formal training or qualifications in your craft?
I have a Bachelor of Design (Visual Communication) from CPIT. I worked as a graphic designer in New Zealand and then Melbourne for 4 years before I started my letterpress business.
What is letterpress?
Letterpress printing dates back to the fifteenth century and is a true craft. I print my stationery on a Chandler and Price platen press. It is operated by a treadle, that is pumped up and down with your foot. Each piece of paper, is inserted one at a time into the press, by hand. The rollers ink the raised plate which is then pressed into the soft paper leaving an impression. If a design has two or more ink colors, the press is cleaned down and the process starts again, one by one. Continuous checking is required making it a very labour intensive process and slight variations are inherent, making every piece a one-of-a-kind artwork.
What inspires you? Great typography, pretty fabric, craft & design books, magazines and blogs.
Your favourite materials, tools and processes?
I like good fibre tip pens and my mac computer. I love letterpress and have accumulated quite a collection of printing presses (and would keep adding to my collection if my husband would let me). You can’t beat the noise of ink being rolled, and the hum of the press as it prints. I enjoy the satisfaction of seeing the finished product, it’s hard to visualize on a computer screen the texture and dimension that letterpress adds to a design.
Describe your workspace:
I have a wonderful sunny design/craft room which I have divided into areas; computer, sewing table, craft table and a lot of bookcases filled with files, magazines, inspiration and craft supplies. I’m lucky enough to have a separate studio which has all my letterpresses, printing equipment, paper stock and guillotine etc.
Five words that describe your mind: Organised, busy, grateful, passionate, obsessed.
Is there a philosophy behind your work?
Simple, modern design with a touch of whimsy. Creating stationery that enhances the style and fun of children’s parties, or other celebration.
Your favourite childhood book?
The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett. I also loved Enid Blyton books and I still collect vintage paperback copies.
What are you reading now?
I’m always reading several books at any one time. I’m currently reading Nurture Shock by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, I love patchwork by Rashida Coleman-Hale and the latest issues of Home Beautiful, USA Country Living and Martha Stewart Weddings.
Do you have any pets? I have a dog and 3 cats, that are all very spoilt.
If you were a crayon, what colour would you be? Chartreuse no question.
Clazena’s beautiful letterpress stationery is available from her Felt shop, Tumbleweed.