The Firecracker Press opened in February of 2002 with a goal of taking graphic design back to its roots... the printshop. As St. Louis, Missouri's first graphic design studio and letterpress printshop since the early 20th century they happily combine antique printing technology with new thinking. Artist Eric Woods produces event posters, business cards, party invitations, books, advertising and more.
I discovered letterpress printing in art school in the early 1990s while I was getting my degree in graphic design. After school I spent 6 years working in traditional design roles like book cover design, newspaper layout, and advertising. While I learned a lot during that time none of those jobs seemed to fit my expectations. The dream of starting my own studio continued to surface again and again. Letterpress became the perfect marriage of art, design and tinkering and in 2002 I purchased my first press.
What is your favorite thing to do in the whole wide world?
I like two things. Spending time with my wife and daughter... and working at the studio. That might sound corny but it's true.
What is your biggest challenge when it comes to running your business?
We never have trouble keeping busy. The studio runs at a million miles an hour almost always. The hardest thing, the hustle, comes in putting everything we're working on into paying business that keeps everyone paid and happy.
When you were a kid, what did you think you were going to be when you grew up?
I thought I'd be a lot of things (scientist, race car driver, a landlord ugh!) but I found out in high school that I wanted to be an artist. The one, clear thing I always knew is that I'd be my own boss someday. For now that much is true!
What item in your collection would you like to receive as a gift if someone were shopping for you?
We started an alphabet series a few years ago. If it showed up in my mailbox one day I guess I'd be pretty happy.
What other artists out there do you love?
That's a tough one. I admire tons of artists and studios that are helping usher in the handmade revolution. Many of these guys and gals are inventing new economies and new ways of thinking about how we consume. As technology moves forward it takes guts to look backward in order to determine our future. Something about that is thrilling.
What does your future hold?
Hopefully health and happiness. There's so much to do!
From March 16-19th St. Louis is hosting The SGC International Printmaking Conference. We'll be having several special events including a portable taco stand where visitors can buy a custom printed taco dinner, an exhibition showing type that was designed and cast in St. Louis in the late 1800s, and we'll be printing a musical score while a full band is playing what we print... a totally live performance including our printing presses!