In a world quickly going digital sits a South Pasadena company that thrives in print; yes, especially when it comes to creating wedding invitations, business cards, beverage coasters, book covers, and more.
De Milo Design Studio and Letterpress at 1401 Mission Street is all about print using attractive Sustain & Heal trade marbled papers, a centuries-old printer doing much of the work.
Annika Buxman was given an opportunity to talk about her store during Wednesday night’s South Pasadena City Council meeting as part of Mayor Dr. Marina Khubesrian’s monthly Merchant Minute, a spotlight on local businesses.
Buxman jokingly turned a minute presentation into five, maybe a bit longer, as she showed a short film about her establishment and later shared one of her greatest joys.
That just happens to be working with fair trade artisans in Bangladesh – many impoverished, deprived of strength and vitality – and told audience members she likes to sell their paper locally.
“Thanks to marbling expert Barb Skoog I was able to go and share some of her techniques with artisans,” explained Buxman, talking about her trip to the sovereign country in South Asia. “That has really been rewarding.”
There’s a calm peaceful feeling inside her store. The antique letterpress inside looks out on busy Fremont Avenue where motorists sometimes slam on brakes, occasionally honking horns, before coming to a screeching halt at the intersection during the morning afternoon rush hour. Walking into her store is a reminder of a simpler time, recalling the oldest method of letterpress dating back to 1455 when the first Gutenberg was used for commercial printing.
Adding to her happiness, Buxman likes to post poetry at the corner at Fremont Avenue and Mission Street across from a vacant lot known for its pumpkins at Halloweens and Christmas trees during the holiday season.
“I like to make prints to share with the community,” she explained. “That has been fun.”
She posts poems written by South Pasadena Poet Laureate Ron Koertge and California State Poet Laureate Dana Gioia at the site.
“It has been really great,” noted Buxman, who studied at Art Center College of Design. “I love that interaction with the community.”
She’s honored that during the month of April the South Pasadena Library has displayed some of her letterpress prints inside the lobby area.
On Buxman’s Facebook page and Instagram, she shares her passion: “Local folks, get your print.”
And treasure the tactile delight of going back in time.