Prepare yourself to be swept away in a cloud of Washi tape, gentle, dusty color palettes, Kraft paper, and minimalist silhouettes…say hello to Laura Wentzel of Bears Eat Berries – Design & Letterpress Studio. My first inclination when I came across Laura’s whimsical and simple design via Etsy was to swoon, and immediately after that I giggled. Then, I was envious of her hair…she has that perfect, tousled, highlighted-by-nature-the-sun-and-lemons sort of vibe.
A graphic designer by trade, Laura’s work is recognized by its clean typography, graphic illustrations, nature-inspired patterns, and folk motifs. She also works on an honest-to-god-half-ton printing press from 1911. In case you weren’t around for that great year, it was a big year in mechanics – in fact, Henry Ginaca invented the “Ginaca Machine” that automated the peeling and coring of pineapples. Huge.
Also, as a happy coincidence (or maybe kismet), in that same year, Arizona was admitted as the 48th State in the Union called the USA. Bears Eat Berries happens to be located in southwest Arizona, therefore this was all meant to be! Circuitous logic? Maybe.
Name: Laura Wentzel
Location: Phoenix Valley of Arizona
Job: Owner & Designer of Bears Eat Berries
EAT: Gallo Blanco in downtown Phoenix. It’s set in the ground floor of a funky midcentury era hotel and is furnished with eclectic furniture and decor. Overall it has a very funky vibe. It’s also the first restaurant my husband and I tried when moving to the southwest! Gallo Blanco tries to source locally and places a lot of emphasis on simple Mexican-inspired dishes. Before dinner you can bring your drinks to the poolside or climb to the rooftop for an amazing Phoenix skyline view.
SEE: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West School. It was his architectural school (still in operation) and winter home which sits at the brow of a mountain in North Scottsdale. Wright designed the nature-inspired complex in tune with its desert surroundings. It’s one of the most beautiful and peaceful places in the valley, especially at sunset.
SHOP: I love perusing Ultimate Consignment in Phoenix. It’s a huge warehouse filled with consigned and vintage items where you can find absolutely anything from a hammer to a handbag. I just recently scored two vintage tweed green office chairs there!
DO: Hiking and exploring the southwest. My husband and I just moved here about a year ago and we love driving out in the desert to discover new towns, mountains and the ever-changing landscape. I love spotting a line of quails cross the street and the occasional roadrunner.
INSPIRE: I’m inspired by children’s picture books, Japanese design, traditional folk motifs from around the world, and any great use of white/negative space. Throughout my life I have been drawn outdoors, so nature-themes play a role in many of my design.
From a business perspective, Laura set up Bears Eat Berries studio to offer various price points so that a wide range of customers can enjoy them. Isn’t that nice of her? She offers single cards which are priced to compete with normal retail stores (why go to CVS, Walgreens, or Duane Reade, when you can support a local artist?) and she offers custom and personalized products for those who want something extra special – like for a wedding, or business card, ahem?
I came across Bears Eat Berries while looking for letterpress (I’m a sucker for texture and hand-mixed inks) Thank You cards for my bridal shower. Immediately her craftsmanship was obvious – the cotton paper, the simple yet, bold design, the odes to nature – oh to be a symbol pressed into one of Laura’s clever cards! Think of all the joy you’d bring to your [ ].
Want to send someone you love (father, mother, sister, cousin, BFF, long lost twin, pen-pal, mistress, step-son, pirate, actor) a clever, old-fashioned note? Now you CAN. Enter to win these woodland animals saying hello! Perfect to send a friendly hello.
Each set of twelve letterpress woodland animal hello cards includes coordinating kraft brown envelopes with two of each animal (fox, bear, hedgehog, rabbit, deer, squirrel). Original illustration and printed by hand on an antique printing press on thick, luxurious 100% cotton paper.
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