Most of my work starts as a little idea in my head that turns into a sketch, then a design, and then is printed on my big old California Reliable Letterpress. I do all the folding, trimming, and binding of the cards and journals in my Issaquah studio because I love to work with my hands, and I believe that process is a big part of art-making. It also gives me the chance to make sure that the environmental impact of my work remains low, and I can reuse or rework materials– like turning paper scraps into handmade paper for more cards. I often try to repurpose vintage materials in unique ways, using those materials as inspiration for new things. No matter what medium I’m working in, the themes come through- I love typography, nostalgia, and a good dose of humor.
A little History
Alison Lang (the hands behind So, There.) has a mixed background in retail, art, and design. She graduated from the University of Texas in 2004 with a BFA in Design. The program’s multidisciplinary approach encouraged students to see different forms of design as just parts of the big picture that makes life better. She especially embraced product and packaging design, along with graphic design and art.
It was in Austin that Alison got to try her hand at letterpress printing for the first time; printing with wood type from the Rob Roy Kelly collection and polymer plates on a massive Vandercook. She was enamored with the history and tactile nature of the process– the limitations and the possibilities. After relocating to the Pacific Northwest, she began printing with a table-top Craftsman Imperial platen press before graduating to a much larger California Reliable press.
In 2010 she began developing the So,There line of letterpress greeting cards, journals, and jotters, before opening a brick+mortar shop in Issaquah’s Old Town. So There: Clever Handmade Gifts & More featured the work of more than 45 local artists and craftspeople, curated to appeal to customers with a sense of whimsy (and humor) and an appreciation of quality handmade goods. Along with useful products by other creators, Alison stretched her line to appeal to the local audience. She began to focus on typography, reused materials, and nostalgia to flush out both her own line of goods, and the selection of the shop.
After 2 years at the shop, she had a clearer vision of what she could offer her customers, and how to balance creating and shop-keeping–which resulted in the difficult decision to close her Front Street Shop. Running a retail shop was a valuable inspiration for her work, and so she holds annual pop-up shops inspired by her first brick+mortar, and looks for other ways to connect to potential customers face-to-face, and help represent other talented makers.
Alison splits her time between building the So, There line, freelance graphic design and production for other businesses, and curating gift shops. More about all that here. She loves getting her hands on unique materials and old technologies, then teaching them to do new tricks.
Alison’s primary studio is just outside of Issaquah in a weird little house, where she lives with her husband, and–three black cat–roommates. Follow along on their little adventures.