While attending the National Stationery Show last May, I had the opportunity to meet Rosanna from the Iron Curtain Press and felt an instant connection. She holds an authentic, creative energy which can be found both in her face and work. And the story continues…
Born and raised in Seattle, Joel and Rosanna Kvernmo are the young and talented team behind Iron Curtain Press. Rosanna had been working as a barista in Seattle (the “it” job at the time) but felt an itch to learn the trade of printing on a letterpress. After a class which turned into an apprenticeship, she picked herself up a press and started her own business. Although quite different fields, her degree in English Literature from the University of Washington has supported her business career more than she imagined. With a degree in Photography and Video from Cornish College, Joel began as a Product Photographer at Iron Curtain Press, however, as the business grew he became a more vital participant in the day-to-day business.
In early 2012 Rosanna and Joel followed their hearts to the surf, sun and friends by relocating Iron Curtain Press to Los Angeles. And it’s been full steam ahead ever since. Over the past few months, Iron Curtain had the opportunity to open a temporary Bricks and Mortar thanks to a grant from the Hammer Museum, associated with UCLA. While the front half of the space is the retail shop and the back half is their print shop, they’ve enjoyed the foot traffic and customers who are fascinated to see the press in action. This new space also allows Rosanna and Joel to lead letterpress workshops for the public to learn the craft and process of hand-set type printing.
With the help of a few staff members from time to time, both Joel and Rosanna design, print, photograph and package their goods. These two are all about the hand-touched product and enjoy making things for a living. They’ve embraced the charm and beauty of this deliberate process involving hand-type setting, hand-mixing ink, and carefully selected materials, such as 100% cotton paper and non-toxic cleaning supplies. In addition to designing for their own line, Joel and Rosanna enjoy creating custom work for companies as well as for individuals.
Out of an initial desire to simply print, this way of life has become a dream for these two creative entrepreneurs. Take a look at their product line on Brown Ink Paper Goods which features hand-drawn illustrations, hand-set type, and vintage block letterpress printed on their one hundred twenty-five year old press. Can’t wait to see Iron Curtain Press back in New York City in May for the National Stationery Show displaying their beautiful visions on paper.