Friday Interview: Kyle Durrie! July 15, 2011 10:54

Happy Friday, everyone! I'm excited to introduce you to this week's artist, Kyle Durrie of Power and Light Press. Read on to learn more about Kyle, and about her cross country road trip in a portable letterpress studio. Her truck will roll up to Craftland's curb on October 14, so save the date! Have a good weekend, everyone!

Photo by Mette Hornung Rankin

Please introduce yourself and tell us about your handmade business.
My name is Kyle Durrie - I'm the proprietor of Power and Light Press, a letterpress studio based in Portland, Oregon.  I print inappropriate greeting cards, as well as custom work like invitations, posters, and music packaging.

Describe your studio for us.
Back in Portland, I work out of a cooperative studio called
Em Space Book Arts Center.  We've got about 20 members who all share equipment and space.  Printing can be a tricky thing to keep up with - the equipment is big and heavy and can be expensive - so it's awesome to be able to share with other folks.  It makes it more accessible.  It can also be really inspiring to work alongside other artists.  Sometimes I need my space and privacy, but sometimes I really thrive on the sharing of ideas and energy.

Please tell us about your print shop on wheels, Moveable Type.
I’ve converted a 1982 Chevy step van into a fully functional letterpress print shop. I’ve outfitted the back of the truck with custom-built cabinets and workspace, a sign press from the mid 20th century, and an 1873 Golding Official No. 3 tabletop platen press.  I’ll spend the next eight or so months driving all over North America, teaching workshops, doing demos, and generally spreading the good word about printing the old fashioned way.  I'm a few weeks into trip (currently writing from a coffee shop in Reno, NV) and loving it.

Photo by Derek Fagerstrom

What has the reaction been to the project?
Overwhelming support and enthusiasm!  This is something I really wanted to do for personal reasons (because I love to print and travel), but I never anticipated there would be so much public support behind it.  I'm so grateful for it, and it's allowed me to turn this into a much bigger adventure, staying out on the road longer, visiting communities I didn't even know existed, and sharing the fun of printing with so many more people.


What advice would you have to someone hoping to take their work from hobby to business?
When I was starting my business, the most important thing was to eliminate as many extraneous expenses as possible - and then just go for it and work my ass off.  Live cheaply/give up cable/stop shopping/smoking/drinking French wines/whatever else you spend too much money on.  You're going to need to put that money into the business.  But then just dive in head first and make it happen, no second guessing.  If it's something you really want to do, you'll figure it out.  I've been operating Power and Light Press for two and a half years without a credit card and I've managed to stay afloat because I love what I do, I'm naively optimistic, and I haven't allowed myself to think that it's not possible to keep going.  This might not be sound advice for everyone, but it's worked for me.  And I've worked French wine back into the mix from time to time.

What does handmade mean to you?
To me, handmade is believing that you are capable of providing for yourself.  There are so many ways for us to access cheap, easy, facsimilies of actual experiences these days.  I think people forget what we're capable of, that we have these amazing things called hands that can, you know, MAKE stuff.  Handmade is about empowerment, creativity, and self-sufficiency.

How did you first become involved with Craftland?
I heard about Craftland through a friend, and applied to the holiday show in 2010.  I'm selling my cards in the shop, and I hope to bring Moveable Type to Craftland in the fall!  I love Craftland.

Guilty pleasure.
The Eagles.  Actually, I don't feel any guilt about my love for them, but so many other people seem to hate them.  PEOPLE: WHAT'S NOT TO LOVE ABOUT THE EAGLES?! 

Editor's Note: Kyle will be coming to Providence on October 14! She'll be teaching a class, in the truck, on letterpress printing, and will have a demo/printing party in the evening. We can't wait! Details will follow as soon as they're finalized, so stay tuned for updates. Space is limited for the class, so keep your eyes peeled to find out when spots go on sale. Below is the video that Kyle had made at the beginning of the project to help raise funds, and when the truck was just a dream. To keep the truck rolling, you can pick up Kyle's cards at Craftland, or from our online shop.