I had the joy of meeting Margot Ecke last year when my curiosity for letterpress got the best of me and I had to pay Smokey Road Press a visit. I did not know this then, but a month later I would begin my month long internship, and so started my great respect for Margot as an artist, a teacher and as the woman running Smokey Road Press.
It is a valuable thing to learn under an expert- to see what it looks like to not only do what you love, but run your own business. I had the honor of watching and learning under one of the best for a very steady month. A piece at a time, I learned more about Margot's phenomenal background in education for printing and bookbinding, and her kind and steady character that is a pleasure to work for and with. Modest in nature, she wouldn't be outward about her successes and accomplishments, but it shows entirely. Her precision and attention to detail at the press and in book binding is beyond impressive, and her high expectations rightly produce well made products.
She is also very good about combining and balancing family and work, and creating an environment where whoever is in the shop feels like they are at home. Verbena, her loyal dog, is always right by Margot's side, and it is a sweet thing to see her daughter, Hazel, come in for a visit- asking printing questions and wanting to create like Margot.
So when I write about Smokey Road, it is a much closer look than what you see through my camera. That internship last June was saturated in practical knowledge of letterpress printing, paper, and process, but I was also exposed to artistic culture in a greater degree. I saw the day-to-days of what it looks like to do what you're passionate about- and doing it well. These facts, paired with the beautiful old machines lined around the shop and the light atmosphere, makes Smokey Road Press a studio set apart.
If you're interested in letterpress or bookbinding at all, I would suggest stopping by. You'll be able to see more closely Margot's keen artistic eye in her work, the prints, the hand-bound books, supplies and beauty of the faithful presses.
Visit the Smokey Road Press website here