Alive & Unedited: Allison Chapman

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive


My family and I moved here from Minnesota a year ago. My husband was headhunted for a job. We were here six weeks after he interviewed, because we knew our baby was coming. The timeline was nuts, but it's been really good for our family.

I've always had this dream of being the printer in the neighborhood, in that kind of Mr. Rogers feel. I never really knew it would happen. I just lucked into this amazing spot. I think it was a carriage house for the brick house right next door.

Both my kids have A.B.C. initials. My husband's a librarian. I do typesetting. We couldn't resist.

Here at Igloo, I have my own line of cards and books. I also teach classes out of my studio. The other piece of the pie is that I do printing and binding for hire. The class component is a really important part for me. I like having that mix of things.

I grew up printing with my granddad. In the basement, my granddad had his workshop. He would do woodworking, blacksmithing and letterpress. He would go around the state doing demonstrations at historical fairs. I would jump in the '51 Chevy with him, and we'd have a trailer full of cast-iron equipment, bonnets and hoop skirts.

My oldest press is my granddad's Platen press. Sometimes people call them clamshell presses or jobbing presses. 1892 is when it was built. He had a windmill that he wasn't using, so he traded it for this printing press that he found in someone's barn.

I like the process of printing. I like the history. I liked that sense of accomplishment that I got in making something with my granddad - our four hands working on something together. I started wondering in college why I wasn't still making stuff.

Three things I can't live without are paper, glue and my bike.

The thing people like about letterpress is that impression that you can feel on the paper. They like that bite, that indentation in the paper. I want people to have that tactile experience while they're working on a project.

Something else I'm really good at is karaoke. I think it's from singing in the car with my mom. I can tear up some Patsy Cline and Linda Ronstadt.

The best advice I've ever received is that it can't hurt to ask.

Know someone doing cool things around Columbus? E-mail John Ross at

Allison Chapman

Age: 36

Day job: Owner, Igloo Letterpress

Neighborhood: Worthington

Birthplace: Rhinelander, Wisconsin

Igloo Letterpress

39 W. New England Ave., Worthington



Playing Favorites

Favorite movie: Bedazzled (with Dudley Moore)

Favorite TV show: Top Chef

Favorite author: Tracy Chevalier

Favorite book: Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Favorite band: Wilco

Favorite song: Any lullaby. I love singing at night to my kids.

Favorite food: Green olive pizza

Favorite drink: Hot cider

Favorite color: Midnight blue