For many artists, inspiration and adventure go hand in hand. And for few is this truer than for Kyle Durrie. The Portland-based owner and operator of Power and Light Press has been working with letterpress since 2005 but, in recent years, has taken her show (and business) on the road for a project she calls Moveable Type, a traveling workstation of sorts that she uses to teach the art (and humor) of letterpress to folks across the country.
“I had tagged along on tour with my boyfriend’s band and found it incredibly inspiring,” Durrie explained recently via email. “I loved the whole experience of being on tour, the traveling and meeting people and sharing your art/music/creativity. I got to thinking how much I might want to take my own work on the road … see where it might take me.”
Since first hitting the road in 2010, Durrie has enlisted the help of a 1982 Chevy Step Van to help her get her travel on. This Saturday, Durrie rolls into Santa Barbara, where she’ll set up an open-to-the-public demo to discuss and teach letterpress techniques at Warbler Records & Goods.
“The demos are super informal,” she said. “I’ll usually set type ahead of time since it can be a time-consuming process. I always try to design something relevant to wherever I am, and I love dorky puns, so there’s often some wordplay involved. So then people start showing up …. If it’s a small group, we can hang out in the truck for a while, swap stories, and then I’ll guide everyone through how to use the press to make their own print. If it’s a bigger crowd, people usually cycle through revolving-door-style to make their prints.”
As for the printing process, Durrie has got plenty of expertise to share. She worked at both Blue Barnhouse and Wolfe Editions before starting Power and Light, and she has a firm grasp on what makes a good greeting card. “There has to be a visual bait — good design or artwork or something to make you want to take a closer look. And then the joke has to be succinct and sharp.”
Durrie’s Moveable Type project makes a stop at Warbler Records & Goods (131 E. De la Guerra St.) on Saturday, October 27, from 4-7 p.m. Call 845-5862 or visit warblerrecords.com for info.