Starting all the way around the world, Bobby Rosenstock found his life passion on a study abroad trip in Tasmania: woodcut prints. Working now full time as a professional woodcutter and printing press shop owner, Rosenstock has found a way to make a life from his passion. After graduating from Alfred University in New York state with a BAFA in painting, Rosenstock moved to Portland, Oregon and immediately began work as an apprentice to a print master at a large commercial shop. “I realized I wanted to find something in between the commercial and the fine art, gallery worlds.” In a search for his dream job, Rosenstock discovered letterpress printing. “[Now] I want to create art work that is accessible to people and that has commercial elements but still allows me to have creative freedom.”
Rosenstock’s work reflects his creative visions as well as his laid back personality. The workshop is as quiet and reserved as he is. The styles of designs reflect work from a simpler time, usually limited to three or four colors.
As Rosenstock chisels away each birch wood block the scraping of the tools against the wood creaks; the inked wheels on the printing press stick together creating a smack as fresh ink is applied. The spokes of the 200-year-old printing press clink through each rotation, paper crinkles in Rosenstock’s hands, one sheet at a time.
“I enjoy getting to work with my hands” and using old equipment that Rosenstock has found all around the country is just a bonus to the authenticity of each print. Not only are the methods Rosenstock uses age old, but so are the presses, as well as lettering type, which have all been collected from old print shops, flea markets, and garage sales, each item originating from the 1800s.
“I like feeling that I’m carrying on age old craft and sharing it with new people.” Rosenstock opens up his workshop for the community and learning events too, such as field trips for Boy Scout troops.
A move from Portland brought Rosenstock to Philadelphia where he continued his education at the University of Arts, receiving his MFA in printmaking and book arts with a focus in letterpress printing. In 2009 Rosenstock, along with his wife, Sara, settled in Marietta, Ohio ready to start his own printing press business, as well as a family.
“We moved here from Philadelphia and there were moments I had a hard time transitioning, when I’d ask Bobby how he was doing, he’d respond ‘I have a press in the basement—I’m happy!”’ his wife Sara said. Originally working out of his home, moving to a small workshop, and finally moving to a storefront location transforming his business from a workshop into a community storefront combined with an open workshop. The recently opened shop on Front Street in downtown Marietta is decorated with poster designs displayed neatly on the walls and old wood cuts cluttering the floor in the back.
“Bobby is a creative and interesting person, very genuine, and very easy going. That being said he also is serious and committed to his work. I think he wants as many people as possible to experience letterpress and to spread this art form as wide as he can” Brian Koscho, a common customer of Rosenstock’s business, said.
Just A Jar, Rosentstock’s business, is centered on the idea of originality as each print is personally inspected each time a new layer of different color ink is added. Each color is rolled on separately, and the posters slowly come together over the course of a week or a few days, layer by layer.
Rosenstock works in tandem with his wife Sara, Sara in charge of the design work and color palates, and Bobby carving the wood blocks and turning the printing press. While Sara works her days as an instructor of Graphic Design at the local Marietta College, Bobby stays in the shop all day working in solitude. Family proves to be his only visitors to break up the monotony of working the presses.
“I think Bobby is happiest when our family is all dancing to Bruce Springsteen (toddler dancing is pretty funny). I think he is second happiest when he is rocking out to good music and working on a carving or on the press, he enjoys the process a great deal and does not take it for granted that he gets to do what he loves for a living—neither of us do,” Sara said about him.
Sara and Bobby have a three-year-old daughter Elle, and their second child was just born on September 18th, 2015, a baby girl named Bayla. Since her birth, while Sara is off from work, the family stops into the shop midday, the only break Bobby has from a large print commission.
As his personal life and his work life cross paths it is clear that Bobby’s personality remains quiet and thoughtful. Bobby’s expressions are most clearly shown through his hands. From carving, to inking, to holding his newborn child, no matter how reserved he may seem his gentle constructions and motions show his true personality.
“Bobby’s personality immediately drew me in, I loved that even when exchanging one e-mail he was inviting us into his home and studio and showing us how to work equipment and make art” Koscho said.
The shop in this sense becomes an extension of home, an extension of Bobby as he rocks his crying baby in his arms in the back of the shop on a workday as he answers calls and checks on the press and most recent prints.
“I think that a print shop can be something that doesn’t just mass produce paper that contributes to more waste in the world, but creates something beautiful that may be used to promote an event or a business, but then be hung on the wall in a frame.” Each line and stroke that is printed on each poster is hand crafted, purposefully placed and intentionally created.
“Bobby is a very thoughtful person and spends a great deal of time investigating imagery and stories—he is not a self-involved person and rarely acts as the confident artist that he is” Sara said.
In an age when everything has gone digital, Bobby’s art doesn’t run through the computer, the only technologies utilized are his cutting tools and his press. Customers of Just A Jar have to be committed to the individuality of Bobby’s work as well as the increased time frame and cost for this personalized work.
“I’m not doing this work to strike it rich, just live a simple life in which I can find the balance between making a little money to support my family while trying to keep the creativity flowing.”
Bobby’s work has flourished in Ohio, at first taking any job he could get, “now I have the luxury of picking and choosing the work I take on” he said, adding “and [I] am trying to make more time for my personal artwork.”
Finally settled down in the small town of Marietta, Bobby has managed to find a perfect balance between the passion he found in Tasmania years ago in woodcuts, and the family he has built here in Ohio.
The Kathmandu Animal Treatment Centre was founded by Jan Salter who wanted to create her own animal welfare organization. The KAT Centre manages street dogs, taking care of health concerns, abuse, with a focus on Animal Birth Control. The Centre scans each dog for tics, vaccinates for rabies, performs surgeries, houses and feeds many dogs until they are stable enough to return to the streets. In 2003 the KAT Centre became a registered non-profit for animal welfare, and on May 9th 2004 the Centre was first opened.
I spent days watching some of the most caring people I'd met in Nepal work day in and day out to solve this tragic issue. Life is so rough in Nepal for so many, and yet here these people were striving to make it better even for the animals. Something that stuck with me during my time at the KAT Centre was this idea that if we help even the dogs, show even the animals respect maybe people too will see more value in life and share compassion for one another.
That being said these animals were far worse off than just the average stray. My first day visiting the KAT Centre I was introduced to a shy sweet dog who had been burned with acid by a human. Many came in hit by cars, or simply starving, tics infested nearly every single one of them.
These dedicated staff and volunteers put in unprecedented efforts everyday to put an end to animal abuse and help terminate the stray dog population in the city. Working with limited resources and money, as is most of the country of Nepal somehow they manage to get it all done.
Gloriouslu impressed by the work, I'm glad to share with you just a glimpse of their story.
Farming in the Foothills is a short piece on a small local business in Appalachian Ohio, Integration Acres. While the business started with a passion for the unique regional fruit, the pawpaw, it soon blossomed into many facets including goat cheese. Integration Acres boasts it's tag line "raising consciousness with cuisine" as it strives to benefit the local food community.
Farming in the Foothills was originally produced as part of a collaborative piece for the 2015 Soul of Athens project, the whole of which can be found here.
Paysen Davis is a 20-month-old, little girl, who struggles with many medical ailments. Paysen has to go through rigorous treatments, doctor appointments, surgeries, and occupational therapy sessions. Paysen's medical issues were not predicted and she is still yet to have a formal medical diagnosis.
Sitting up is a new development for Paysen. Her therapists' next goals for her are to utilize both hands while sitting up on her own. This photo proves her progress.
Paysen Davis sits strapped into her wheel chair with the help of nurse Allison Bryum and her mother Danika before they take a walk around the neighborhood with sons Logan and Nathan as well as the family dog Daisy.
In-home nurse Beth McClelland holds and comforts Paysen Davis after a morning of schooling in the family home.
Monica Dawicke, pediatric occupational therapist stretches out her patient Paysen Davis during her appointment.
Davis' room is painted purple, a common color that represents Paysen, such as in her own organization, Paysen's Persistent Journey, which her mother, Danika Davis started shortly after her birth to raise money for all of Paysen's medical expenses.
Paysen Davis lies after getting her diaper changed waiting for her mother to put her pajamas on her. Paysen has a scar down the center of her abdomen as a result of surgery, as well as a port for her feeding tube, which sets Davis apart from her brothers and other children her age.
Danika Davis kisses the forehead of her 20-month-old daughter Paysen on an afternoon at home after a long day of Occupational Therapy that morning.
Last Chance Corral
Last Chance Corral believes "that there is always a horse out there in need of refuge and always a need for someone to feel responsible and intervene on that animal's behalf." The Corral has been around since 1986, offering horses health care, shelter, and most importantly refuge.
The main program at Last Chance Corral is the Nurse Mare Foal Rescue Project, which takes in horses that are conceived as well as born just to be thrown out in the trash. Their mother's milk is used to feed future racehorses, leaving these babies without the protection and care of their mothers, and nothing more than an unwanted burden to the breeders. The program takes in as many foals each year as it can find and support, foals often face horrific medical obstacles and must receive supplemental nutrients and attention. Last Chance Corral has grown and saved thousands of the foals over the years, early spring is a busy time over at the barn.
When each horse is deemed stable and rehabilitated Last Chance Corrall adopts the horses out to loving homes.