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.
Abigail Ham is a Visual Critical Studies and Printmedia undergrad at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago specializing in etching, letterpress, bookmaking, and creative writing. Originally from Texas, Abby moved to Chicago in 2011 and hopes to become more involved in the printmedia community
Studio & Administration
Maranda received a BA in art with an illustration emphasis from Grand Valley State University. A Michigan native, she had always planned on moving to Chicago, and finally pulled the trigger 4 years ago when her husband got into grad school. She loves reading, any sort of crafting and working with her hands. When she is not at Steel Petal press she is a metalsmith, seamstress, and runs an online vintage clothing boutique.
Hillary graduated from Columbia College Chicago with a BFA in Graphic Design. She fell in love with the printing process during her last year of college and has been committed to learning new methods and skills. She loves that printing is a meticulous and hand-work driven process. While not working at Steel Petal Press, she is a graphic designer for a visual branding studio. In her free time she constantly contemplates getting a dog and spends too much money on plants.