Creative collaboration leads to promotion, fundraiser for Whitesville community project

February 19, 2019 - Sathiyan Sivakumaran, The WV Community Development Hub

Over the past few months, Adam has worked with Emily Sokolosky of Base Camp Printing, a local letterpress print shop based in Charleston, WV, to create some exciting promotional materials for the trail with support from The Hub’s Communities of Achievement (HubCAP) program. 

According to Emily, Adam’s enthusiasm and approach to the project made it easy for her to create the posters, postcards, and coasters he requested. “He came to the shop often and was able to point to things we had done in the past that he liked and that was really helpful to give me direction,” Emily says about the beginning of her work with Adam.

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You're going where? Charleston, WVa

July 5, 2017 - Melanie D.G. Kaplan, The Washington Post

Like a dream come true, every shop I entered in the Elk City Historic District on the West Side had a shop dog. Take Calvin the hound mix at Elk City Records, whose title is director of security and morale. But I also saw a neighborhood beginning its renaissance.

Thanks to affordable commercial space and a rebranding campaign, the creative class has set up shop here. Base Camp Printing, next door to Kin Ship Goods, is a storefront letterpress print shop. Nearby: Mi Cocina de Amor and Bully Trap, a walk-in only, cash-only barber shop. At Calvin’s shop, owner and retired lawyer Phil Melick is hardly a starving artist, but he shares the passion and energy of other small business owners here.

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To Be Young in a Dying State

May 25, 2017 - Casey Leins, U.S. News & World Report

And though the state ranks second-to-last for entrepreneurship, some millennials are finding success.

Take 25-year-old Emily Sokolosky, a Charleston native who Davis and Harrison allow to use part of their space for her letterpress printing business, free of charge. The West Virginia University graduate says she and her work were immediately welcomed by the community.

"Most of the stuff that's in the shop has been donated to me by people," she adds. "They just want to see you succeed because it's so unsaturated here that when something pops up, people are going to support it...I think people here really take care of their own."

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Making impressions

April 6, 2017 - Octavia Steffich, WVU College of Creative Arts

While letterpress courses weren’t offered at WVU, Galbreath was in the process of moving the School’s letterpress collection out of storage and into the graphic design lab so faculty could incorporate printing into specific courses. Galbreath created an independent study for Sokolosky, allowing her to learn how to run the presses and set type by hand.

“Her eagerness and willingness to get her hands dirty provided me with evidence that the the School’s letterpress resourses were underutilized,” Galbreath said. “Through the generosity of Dean Kreider and the support of Director Helm, we now have a modest space exclusively for letterpress printing. Emily is very much a part of that story.”

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WATCH: The Other Charleston on the Rise

Courtney Balestier, Southern Living

Like so many other small American cities, Charleston is now experiencing a rebirth. It’s largely at the hands of some young, creative entrepreneurs who are breathing new life into old buildings and doubling down on their roots with new businesses that could only exist here—though they come in the familiar shapes of bookstores and gift shops.

Find the ideal souvenir in this shop. Owner and West Virginia native Emily Sokolosky presses designs by hand.

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Pressing Matters

Fall 2016 - Zach Harold, WV Living

The shop looks straight from the Industrial Age, except for the Mac computer Sokolosky uses to run her online shop and the iPad that serves as a cash register. 

Drawers contain rows and rows of antique wood blocks, each featuring a different character in a host of typefaces.  When she’s designing a new print, Sokolosky lays out and locks these blocks into wooden frames known as chases, with the negative space filled in by blank pieces of wood called furniture.  “It’s like a puzzle,” she says.

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First Impressions: Letterpress printing company opens on West Side

May 27, 2016 - Anna Patrick, Charleston Gazette-Mail

It’s a game of precision and patience printing on a letterpress. The nearly 100-year-old press and the worn-down, wooden type add layer after layer of complexity. When printing with wooden type nothing’s even, Sokolosky said. But that’s the fun of working in a medium that’s been around for a hundred years or more.

“That’s what draws me to it,” she said of working with a letterpress. “It’s that it is so old. There is so much history and texture to it, but at the same time it seems like something that would be so limiting. I think it’s exciting to figure out new ways to use it.”

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