Tell us about yourself.
My name is Ashley Town and I’m the owner of Bay View Printing Co. Bay View Printing Co will be 100 years old in 2018 and I’m only the 4th owner (first female!). The shop has been run as a commercial print shop in the past, but since I became the owner in October of 2014 I’ve been working to transition it into a community print shop. In addition to making our own art prints to sell and printing custom posters, wedding invitations, business cards and various other jobs for folks, we also offer letterpress workshops, drink&ink nights, open studio time and memberships to the shop.
What are you presenting at Maker Faire Milwaukee?
At Maker Faire Milwaukee we’re presenting a variety of letterpress printed artistic prints that we’ve made at the shop exclusively using our antique wood and metal type. We’ll also have a small handpress and some wood type on hand for folks to set up and print their own 8×10 creations right at our booth! A little taste of what we do every day and what people could expect if they visit the shop for a class or become members.
Why is making important to you?
I think it’s important to make something every day. It feeds my soul. Some days that is a beautiful print, other days an omelette – but regardless of what I’m making, the process of doing so is what’s important. The creative problem solving, the using of my hands, the collaboration with others – this is what makes me feel human.
What have you made that you are most proud of?
The work I’ve made that I’m most proud of is actually not work that I make myself, but the work that I watch others make in my classrooms and at the print shop. Teaching someone how to make something that uses materials and a process that most folks have never done before and then watching their faces light up when they see what they’ve made are the most rewarding and proud moments of my making career thus far.
Given an unlimited budget, what would you make?
Ah! That’s tough. Given an unlimited budget – I’d make a Bay View Printing Co that is a giant, beautiful, sunlit space full of people making their own creations day in and day out. Maybe there would be studio spaces and artists in residence and walls covered in work from folks throughout the community…I guess what I’m trying to make right now at the shop, but bigger!