Steel Petal Press is a Chicago-based printing and letterpress operation run by me, Shayna Norwood. I’m a professionally trained visual artist with a Bachelor in Fine Arts from San Francisco Art Institute. I’ve been letterpress printing since 2004, when I was first introduced to it while earning my degree. As an artist (with a background in Book and Paper Art), I’m drawn to the way text interacts with images to tell a story. With custom letterpress work, we help you tell your story on every wedding invitation, piece of personal stationery, business card and more.
I love the mechanics, machinery, and process of letterpress printing as well as the gorgeous impression each print leaves on a page. Over the years, I’ve developed my craft through working in various letterpress studios and book arts centers across the country, from the San Francisco Center for Book Arts to Women’s Studio Workshop in New York.
In December 2008, I started Steel Petal Press when I decided to design and print my own holiday cards to send to friends and family. Since then, the business has expanded to include custom wedding invitations, business cards, holiday photo cards, and personal stationery.
“Penelope”, a 1960s Chandler & Price Model-N, joined the Steel Petal Press family in the spring of 2011. In the winter of 2012 we welcomed a 1950s Challenge level paper cutter, affectionately known as “Jaws,” into our studio. And most recently we acquired “Sweetie” our Vandercook SP-15. In September of 2012 we moved into our current space in the Lacuna Art Lofts in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago.
My aesthetic as an artist is vivid and expressive, grounded in confident and moving design. But I thrive on working hand-in-hand with clients to craft a look that’s distinctively theirs as well as meaningful to the occasion. Building a narrative with word and image, I hand feed each piece individually through the press making each one ever so slightly different and unique in its own way. I feel so lucky to be able to use my art degree to make a living doing something I love every day—I put that spirit into every design.
Studio & Wholesale Manager
Kat Wisniewski is happy to help ship orders, maintain the inventory management system and more to keep Steel Petal Press running smoothly. She completed her undergrad degree in Philosophy, but quickly realized that she should’ve gone to school for fine art instead. In 2005 she established her hand-made jewelry company, Elemental Art Jewelry where she specializes in glass and rubber chainmaille designs. She is also known internationally for her many published projects. Kat makes a living from various artistic endeavors including, product photography, jewelry design, tutorial writing, and of course, working for Steel Petal Press. Crafty businesses simply rock!
Tori is currently studying graphic design and art history at Columbia College Chicago. She found her love and appreciation for letterpress printing during her coursework and is dedicated to expanding her knowledge of the printing process. She is drawn to this process as it forces the printer to directly engage with the media (a nice break in a technology-driven world). In her free time, she sifts through rusty things at antique stores and does whatever crafty things she can get her hands on.