We like to meet people in the middle, and it would seem that great minds think alike. Some of our favorite makers have intersected in the center of the state — and have formed some of the best relationships across regions. Smock, a letterpress and paper company in Syracuse, was one of the very first businesses to debut on the NYSOM Marketplace. When Wishbone Letterpress (from the Catskills/Hudson River Valley border) joined the roster of our beautiful Marketplace products, we learned that Smock’s plate-making arm, Boxcar Press, builds the the printing plates Wishbone uses to make their fabulous hand-letterpressed metallic ink paper party crowns and fluorescent coasters.
Here’s to more interstate friendships and the merging of two different states of mind. Read on for a brief history of Smock, an incredible Central New York company. And get pumped up for the 75 (woot!) new Smock products we’ll be adding to the Marketplace throughout late-summer and autumn.
A printer, Harold, and a poet, Debbie, fell in love. After a stint in Minnesota where Harold studied book-binding, the couple relocated to Syracuse where Debbie studied for her MFA. Their collective talents culminated in Smock
. Originally headquartered in their basement, the company--with its 50 tons of equipment--is now housed in a former John Deere factory, a beautifully repurposed space they share with incubator businesses and art galleries.
An employer of 90 Syracusans, the company consists of three divisions: Boxcar Press, a commercial letterpress and industry plate maker; Bella Figura, designer and printer for custom wedding invitations; and Smock, whose stationery, wrap, and paper product line we at NYSOM have (quite obviously) fallen for madly.
Every decision at Smock is made with deliberate care. In addition to preserving a beautiful art form, the company runs solely on wind power, uses low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) inks and citrus-based solvents, prints on either 100% recycled, post-consumer waste or bamboo papers (bamboo is the fastest growing plant on the planet -- a truly sustainable and renewable resource). Without Boxcar/Bella Figura/Smock, the letterpress industry would lack an influential supplier of plates, ink, platemaking supplies, and craftsman training. The company values the small, and serves the big, including The Whitney, Sony BMG, AOL Time Warner, Domino's Pizza, Barnes & Noble, and The Republic of Tea; a grassroots success story in our own backyard.