A blind date with Workhorse, Spindletop, and Cite

Last Tuesday I had the pleasure of popping in to the launch of Issue #91 of Cite Magazine with my good friend Sam. He’d found the magazine recently, enjoyed it, signed up to be a member of the Rice Design Alliance (who publish the magazine), learned of the launch through the member mailing list, and asked if I’d like to come along. Being design-related, I said YES. (Side note, Sam is not a designer, he’s an eye surgeon. True story.)

Neither of us knew anyone, but we went anyway. Free booze, right? Heh, well, luckily we secured the last two beers at the launch, leaving only wine to be consumed for everyone else. They also had a full spread of finger food consumable for free. Bonus!

The launch was held at the joint establishment of Workhorse Printmakers and Spindletop Design in Houston, just outside the inner loop. The place was rockin’ by the time we arrived (hence snagging the last beers) and it was easy to connect and chat with some strangers, which is not really difficult anywhere in Houston actually.

Why we were here

The latest issue of Cite had it’s cover hand-printed at Workhorse on a 1950s letterpress machine, originally used to quickly proof newspaper pages before being moved onto much larger and much quicker production printing machines, as Workhorse half-owner John told us. The cover did indeed look great; delicate gold and black line work on soft green stock, with illustrations done by John himself.

In the middle of the room was the star machine in all it’s glory, and set up with some woodblock type so the party-goers could have a go at cranking out a print themselves. Sam was the first, and after some detailed instruction followed to the letter (snap!) produced the first print of the night. I jumped on next, turned the big ol’ lever, and had my first ever letterpress artwork. Coupled with a cheap frame for the antique store down the road, it makes quite a handsome piece of art lovingly hung right above my drumkit.

Letterpress woodblock artwork at Workhorse Printmakers, Houston, Texas

Finished and framed print

Motivation

Rad people

We met quite a few people, all of which were lovely, rad, kind, interesting, friendly, or a combination of all these things (which again, seems to be par for the course in Houston). Joe and Jennifer, principals of Spindletop were particularly rad. As was Mary Beth the artist, John the printmaker, and Raj the editor of Cite.

Conclusion

Thanks to all involved for putting on a great night!
It really doesn’t take much to meet like-minded people in Houston.
Must get out and do it more often.