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.
Lisa Radecki began studying letterpress while attending the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she immersed herself as a designer and book artist. Lisa received her BFA from SAIC in 2009 with an emphasis in visual communications and printmaking as well as receiving the BFA Fred A. Hillbruner Artists’ Book Fellowship. After graduating Lisa taught classes to elementary through high school students while working with design firms around the city. She continues to work for design research firms and other Chicagoland companies as a freelance designer.
CJ Leonard is an illustrator and workaholic. In 2011, he helped create the Illustration and Design BFA program at the Illinois Institute of Art - Chicago and was the fledgeling program's first graduate in 2012. He also created the student Society of Illustrators chapter at ILIA and throughout the course of his academic career lead illustration based fundraisers and exhibitions to benefit the future careers of student illustrators. He currently works in many different industries and continues to make lovely doodles with emphasis on greeting card illustration.
Abigail is a student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, and will be graduating with a Bachelor's degree in Visual Critical Studies in 2015. Her artwork is focused on methods of communication through different methods of printmaking.