Presshaus LA
A design + analog printing studio in Los Angeles

journal

design + letterpress printing in Los Angeles, California

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Ode to Stillness

Stillness is the ground of being from which all else emerges.
It is within and behind every breath, every thought, every action.
It is my starting point, my resting place, the home base to which I can return again and again.

In stillness I notice how time and space disappear.
All there is is the present moment and my willingness to listen...to allow the stillness to speak

The stillness takes me into the realm of conscious awareness that transcends my identity as body or mind. Stillness offers an experience of being and a recognition that my being...my essence...is a part of all Being, all Essence.
 

From an interview with Eileen Fisher
This excerpt is from Meditation and Rituals for Conscious Living by Nancy J. Napier & Carolyn Triconi

personalkristineComment
This is us on Loeffler Randall
 

 

It's rare we get photographed together.

I'm a letterpress printer.
He's a car designer.
I suppose you can call us a creative couple.

This past Valentine's Day Loeffler Randall featured us on their blog as a Creative Couple. I never really thought that we could be packaged together since our disciplines are like a Venn Diagram. Letterpress over here on the left. Industrial Design on the right and our personal lives are the blend of both circles in between.  

I work solo while his work requires an army of creative forces. I work in print and paper while he can observe designs created in VR environments. We're on complete opposites of the design spectrum. Analog here and digital over there. But at the end of the day, I show him prints I'm currently working and he shows me phone pics of automotive related designs his team are working on. We get excited about each other's work.

presshaus-la_kristine-arellano_loeffler-randall_nicki-sebastian-photography-6.jpg

I was going down memory lane while answering their questionnaire - we built a home together, a process that lasted five years; spent our engagement year living abroad in Germany; I started a small business (woohoo Presshaus LA!) and he's now heading up design at an automotive startup. Although we've been married for 5 years, a period of time that seemingly feels short and long at the same time, we've got a lot under our belts. 

The photos feature not just our story also LR's HEARTLA heart sandals. Although the pictures were taken on a rainy LA day, Nicki Sebastian the photographer behind these images,  did her magic to make these images bright and sunny No rain + puddles shown!

There are more pictures and more questions answered on the LR page. Take a look.

~K

 And here are the HEARTLA Loeffler Randall shoes

And here are the HEARTLA Loeffler Randall shoes

 Bagel, my camera-ready furry girl!

Bagel, my camera-ready furry girl!

 The spread of prints in the studio

The spread of prints in the studio

 Studio moodboard of inspiration + previous print projects

Studio moodboard of inspiration + previous print projects

Special thanks to Loeffler Randall + Alex Yeske
All photos by Nicki Sebastian


Thank you, Nicki, for making that rainy day look bright and for your ease of being in front of a camera.

Dwell Magazine, the cherry on top

This truly is like the cherry on top! We had no idea we still have a chance to get into Dwell Magazine, the coveted magazine for architecture and design. It's been a few years since our home was completed in August of 2013 and as time passed, we were able to slowly acquire furniture and fixtures we wanted and were able to dial in the house to our liking. Living in the space made us aware of how we were using spaces and how the flow felt as we made it into our home. Our house is like an evolving work in progress always and we haven't even touched the landscaping our outdoor spaces yet.

 Our living room in print in Dwell Magazine, Jul/Aug issue

Our living room in print in Dwell Magazine, Jul/Aug issue

The article talks about our journey of building a custom home during a recession. We started this project while we were still in our late 20s. What were we thinking? At the start we were brimming with ambition but as construction goes we were scraping by after we saw a good chunk of savings poured into concrete and casings. We didn't even have framing to show for yet! We were dragging to the "half a decade saga" as Dwell mentioned and took a year off during that time. During that year, we lived abroad in Munich, Germany. Richard was working on designs BMWi cars, an almost top secret project at the time, and I honed my printing skills in the motherland of printing. The time away from LA helped us to recoup finances and allowed to step away from a project we were deep into. We got married 2 months after moving back to LA and even have wedding photos of us in front of our construction site.

 Editorial spread of the article 

Editorial spread of the article 

While telling our story during the interview for this article, it made me nostalgic. Like any challenge overcome, it's that much sweeter in hindsight. Goodbye to the days of panic floods whenever it rained, frantically getting dressed because of construction workers stomping the grounds at 7:30am, a makeshift kitchen, intermittent periods with no water, annoyed and angry neighbors, endless dust, stressful inspections and stacks of invoices. I can go on and on.

It felt good writing a note to mom to insert into a copy of Dwell then sending it off in the mail. We heard back from her as soon as she got it. 

In case you don't get Dwell in print, the folks over at the magazine were polite to send us a digital version of the article.
Check out the link below to see the article and for more photos.

Special Thank You to
Michael Friberg for the photos and spending the entire day with us from first to last light
Jessica Comingore for house styling the night before until 10:30p
DevCon Construction for building our home and putting up with us
 

Click here for the full PDF of the editorial spread

 

Individual Medley feature

My beloved friends at Individual Medley, a lifestyle store located just minutes from the studio, spent the afternoon with me to print a run of their hand-carved Thank You card. They watched  the process of letterpress printing from start to finish from cutting paper,  press setup,  inking and proofing.  The block was carved by Annika Bushman exclusively for IM and I was asked to see if it was at all possible to print with it on the press. Of course it will work! It's type high at .918 (nerdy printer talk).

Click below for more images + a Q&A.

Danke schön Monica + Crystal @ Individual Medley and to Stephanie for the amazing photos

The Philippines, the Motherland

I've been taking all of this for granted. All of it.
I didn't realize what a privilege it is to be born in the United States until this trip.
It was my first time going to the Philippines and for my mom, 28 years had passed since she had been back to her hometown.
Raised with a single parent, I was so curious about my roots and where my mom grew up.
I finally got my answers.

 Easy Diving resort in Sipalay, Negros Occidental

Easy Diving resort in Sipalay, Negros Occidental



For a long time the Philippines had been so far in my mind. My mom always brought up her memories of growing up on a rice farm in a household with 7 other kids, scrubbling floors with coconut husks, ironing with an iron that stored hot coals for heat, going to school because they had to and ultimately choosing to go to nursing school simply because the look of the uniform. She liked the white uniform with that signature hat. Her nursing is what lead her to this country. I'm so grateful for her tenacity and for my grandmother's sterness when my mom approched her to quit to study nutrition instead. Lola, grandmother in the Philippines, pushed her to keep going.

We were the only ones that made it to the U.S. All of her family is still in the Philippines and now they're becoming older. Her siblings are grandparents and my cousins are years older than me. I even have grandnewphews and grandnieces!

Bacolod

 

 

Our 14 hour flight from LA, a 4 hour layover in Manila and another 1 1/2 hour flight to her island Negros Occidental seemed all worth it at the first sight of her surviving siblings. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a huge clan of family and my aunts had tears of reunion and joy in their eyes. They had not seen their sister, my mom, in almost 30 years. I was meeting real blood family for the first time. Real cousins that weren't just my mom's friends' kids and aunties and uncles that could share stories with me of what my mom was like as a kid. I felt truly connected.

We stayed with family the entire duration of our stay being shuttled house to house and constant bombardment of Filipino hospitality, and with this I mean "Did you eat? There's food. Go eat!"

We stayed in Bacolod and even had the chance to see some main areas like The Ruins which is an architectural shell of a home from a sugar plantation owner. Notice the Spanish influence even on the buildings?

Here are more pictures of Bacolod in the gallery below


Hinoba-ban


 

 

As we traveled the 4 hours by car from Bacolod to her hometown of Hinoba-an, I kept asking my mom, "How'd you make it out of here?"
This place is off the grid. The pace of life is slower out here. There are kids playing outside, there's vast farmland spread throughout with stretches of little convenience store stands, the roosters are crowing and the elderly are playing majong on their porches.

 Mona, mom and me in Hinoba-an

Mona, mom and me in Hinoba-an

Staying here was my favorite part of the trip. We walked house to house visiting all the places my mom knew and we ate at home all the time eating meals made with love using local ingredients like seafood, pork, eggplant, banana, coconut, moringa greens, squash, okra, rice and mangos.

 Local bananas

Local bananas

 Fresh jackfruit

Fresh jackfruit

 I loved hearing the stories although I needed some help translating since I don't understand Illonggo, the local dialect. I loved hearing it even though they poked fun at me for a lot of jokes I didn't get. I tried to look for physical similarities between me my aunts and cousins and then I would see connections with my mom and her sisters. They had the same legs and ankles.  

Because we were so far from the main city, this area is rich in beaches. I kept wanting to see the coastline and longed to see the sunset so I can see the continuous scenery with that was so different from California's. Sure, the sun sets beneath our ocean too, but the water here was warm and clear with coconut trees everywhere. 

 Happy Valley Beach - Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental

Happy Valley Beach - Hinoba-an, Negros Occidental

The time went by so fast.

The bugs still freaked me out and I was still not enjoying the rooster's morning call every morning but my body was becoming used to the heat and the way of life here. I was just starting to feel comfortable - no fancy coffees, no overloading on media / tv, nothing was styled or trendy, no fancy shops or cafés. It's simple here. The people are what make it. My family made me feel so warm and welcome here. I'll never forget my time there.

 I come away with new perspective admiring my mom much more than I ever did before. I knew she was strong having withstood some family tides of the family with me and my sister, but I had no idea my mom was a determined and driven young woman.  Now I know why she is the way she is, why she thinks the way she does. I love it when she speaks her dialect that much more.

Los Angeles and Hinoba-an are worlds apart but I feel like I straddle both like my mom does in some way.

Here are more OF My photos from Hinoba-an and surrounding areas