Who are you and what do you do?
Krank Press is the work of Elinor Nissley, a printmaker & architectural designer in Los Angeles. Krank makes stationery products, mostly, with an emphasis on gardening & kitchen products (seasonal produce calendars, canning labels, recipe cards, native plant art prints) and color & pattern (cards, journals, wrapping paper, etc).
What’s the latest thing you’ve been working on?
I just had a small show here in Los Angeles of photographs & printed matter (inspired by the photographs). It was so liberating to have an “art” show and to fill the show with new stuff that was a bit of a detour from my normal work. The photographs were taken during a birding trip we went on in Costa Rica last year–they were all of brightly colored trail markers & signage–and it was fun to get back in the color darkroom. The letterpress printed matter was all on the theme of arrows (I do love an arrow!) & I will bring those items from the show to UCU.
How did you get started in your business?
I trained as a printmaker before I went to architecture grad school, and sometime in the mid-2000’s I was lured back in to the print world when I bought a letterpress on ebay (on San Juan Island!) and schlepped it back down to LA. I started with calendars for friends & family, but there was enough demand for them I began to sell them online & at fairs & eventually had enough business that I quit my architecture job & began printing full time. I enjoy all types of design, and hope to be able to slip back and forth between printing & architecture, but I love the immediacy of printing projects & the joy that comes with making & selling affordable (and functional!) pieces of art.
What’s your favorite item that you sell?
As anyone who has gotten gifts from me or seen my bookshelves knows, I am a blank notebook junkie. I collect them from wherever I travel (Japanese notebooks, are, of course, the best, but the ones I picked up in India & Argentina have the most character & this summer my husband brought me back some charming school workbooks from Africa…). When I realized it wasn’t too expensive to buy a wire binder for myself (one of my favorite possessions!) I went in to blank book production. They aren’t my best sellers, but I always keep them in stock because I love putting more blank notebooks out in to the world.
What’s the best experience you’ve ever had with one of your customers?
This summer I was working at a craft fair and it was SO hot & humid. Luckily there was a popsicle stand (specializing in seasonal fruit & herbs recipes) very close to my booth, and I spent the day recommending the incredibly delicious & genuinely life-saving popsicles to shoppers that came through the booth. The owner of the stand came by the booth on the second day and I effused to her my excitement about her delicious pops. She, in turn, told me that she has had my seasonal produce calendar for years & consults it when planning new popsicle recipes. Blew my mind! I was so honored to know I was in some way a collaborator in those delicious treats.