In a world where digital reigns supreme, Allison Chapman works to preserve the past at her Worthington studio, Igloo Letterpress.
In a world where digital reigns supreme, Allison Chapman works to preserve the past. Most days, the woman who rides her bike to work can be found carefully creating custom stationery, cards and invitations in her Worthington studio, Igloo Letterpress.
"It's my passion-something I want to see succeed," she said.
She has built her business on a love of art and history, and the two meld beautifully in a historic carriage house where a printing press built in 1892 stands as a reminder of her inspiration. It belonged to her grandfather. "He kind of took me under his wing," Chapman said, as she recounted growing up learning to love his hobby. "It wasn't until I went to college that I realized how much he taught me."
And his lessons, she added, were not only about the art of letterpress, but also about life: "He gave me the confidence to try to figure things out."
With that confidence, Chapman, 37, opened her studio and store, where people can shop for handmade cards, calendars and notebooks or try their hand at the letterpress. In the shop, touching the merchandise is encouraged. "The relief printing process is a tactile quality that people really love," Chapman said.
In fact, the majority of her customers are graphic artists and architects who spend most of their time creating things on computers. "They need a tactile experience," she said. "They long to work with their hands."
In addition to being a source for one-of-a-kind paper products, Igloo also is an active art studio. Chapman hosts project-based classes at which customers can have a hand in creating special pieces to document life's memorable moments.
She encourages families to stop in on Saturdays to make kid-friendly projects that involve either printing or bookbinding (they're typically $5 to $10). And she also hosts group parties for events like baby showers or book clubs.
Chapman and her husband, John, moved from Minnesota to Columbus in 2009 for his job. They have two children-6-year-old Ava and 2-year-old Adam. The family feels at home in Worthington, she said, and the community has embraced her unique business.
Igloo delights folks with its custom items and gifts. One bride-to-be, for example, worked with her sister and mother to design wedding invites, and they even rolled a couple themselves. One young man collected special recipes from relatives and friends and then worked with Chapman to create a custom cookbook for his girlfriend.
Eileen Meers was especially pleased with what Chapman helped her do. She has been married to her husband, Patrick, for 50 years. He was known as a fabulous writer of poetry, humorous stories, spiritual pieces. Dementia has left him unable to communicate through the spoken or written world. Meers turned to Igloo to help her preserve his words in a special way. "I wanted to create a beautiful book, a piece of art-something my granddaughter could consider a part of her heritage," she said. "I wanted the quality of his writing to be matched by the quality of the encasement." Meers will give the special gift to family and close friends for Christmas.
It's what Chapman likes best about her family-inspired business. "If I can help people feel the same sense of pride and accomplishment as my grandfather instilled in me, it's a good day," she said.
This holiday season, Igloo will offer special invitations and cards. As always, Chapman encourages people to create their own-one press of a carved wooden letter at a time.
For more on Igloo Letterpress, visit IglooLetterpress.com. Watch Andrea Cambern's "Female Focus" at 5 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays on 10TV News HD.