Visual Arts


GINGERLY PRESS: The Printed Walk

On Display April 13th thru May 18th

The Printed Walk is a series of letterpress-printed visual interpretations of my experience thru-hiking the Appalachian Trail in 2017. Individual prints represent a special moment experienced during each 100-mile stretch of the 2,190-mile trail. Letterpress printing is a relief printing process where antique metal or wood type is inked and pressed into paper, creating an impression of the type form. In this series I used mostly metal type & ornament paired with large carved blocks of linoleum, various plywoods and MDF. Anything elevated to printing height, or type high (.918"), can be printed with a press designed for letterpress printing. Knowing this, I collected fallen birch bark in the northeast to print for those correlating designs. I also collected pigments from the trail, such as charcoal from wildfires, mica and clay, to crush and mix with transparent white ink for a natural ink pigment in various prints. This experimental printing pursuit allowed the hike to feel like a playful scavenger hunt, studying my surroundings.

In this way, the hike proved to be a practice of mindfulness— a long walking meditation focused on being present and simply observing the world around me. This series of prints highlights the minute details, often left unnoticed by the speedy or distracted hiker. The Printed Walk is a celebration of the beauty of nature discovered through mindful observation. The designs nod to the concept of magical realism to represent the seemingly miraculous yet completely natural happenings along the trail, expressing the child-like wonder I often experienced. Magical realism is the narrative technique characterized by the matter-of-fact incorporation of fantastical elements in a seemingly realistic setting. These enchanted elements appear in the prints through abstracted landscapes, the use of unexpected color derived from often-overlooked details along the trail, and mythical visuals derived from extravagant storytelling.The small red half circle and capital "I" represent my tent and me in various compositions. Exaggerated proportions of forms incomparison to these small red elements emphasize the humility in experiencing the large scale and power of the wilderness surrounding us, relatively tiny humans hiking the trail. This humbling scale represented in the series is intended to develop respect and reverence for our natural world.
I use minimalism in the compositions to reflect the simplified life of thru-hiking, mentally and physically. Trail life was straightforward—eat, sleep and hike. I was constantly downsizing anything that I carried in my pack, cutting off extra straps and repacking gear, to reduce the wear and tear on my body. This minimalistic mindset has translated to the print designs, cutting out decorative elements to simply keep the focus on the main forms relating to the story concepts.

While hiking, I learned that the trail is what I make of it. The difference between happiness, sadness, boredom, frustration or fear was personal choice. Therefore, to survive the journey mentally, I had to choose to be happy and find the good in some crumby situations, including a near-death experience with a tree falling on my tent while sleeping. I find this mentality to not only be a philosophy for the trail, but also for everyday life. The stories told through the print series represent the events that I experienced on the trail through a positive lens, celebrating the beauty at all times, even in the most unfortunate and challenging situations.

Gingerly Press design & letterpress printing studio was established in 2013 by Pennsylvania-based designer and
printer, Lindsay Schmittle. As an undergraduate student in the Visual Communications program at the University of Delaware, Lindsay fell in love with the art of letterpress printing. In a class full of digital designers, Lindsay was one of the few students interested in  experimenting with analog methods for her design process. She discovered the Art Department's hidden gem, Raven Press, a handset
letterpress studio, nearly deserted by the masses of digitally driven students. Lindsay began dedicating her spare time to learning how to set type and print with the antique equipment.

Upon her graduation in 2013, she met fine press book printer, Henry Morris, who sold her his original Chandler & Price printing press and all the metal type from his 50-year old letterpress studio, Bird and Bull Press, located in Philadelphia, PA. Lindsay set out to further explore her passion for letterpress printing in the “old school” manner with antique type and started Gingerly Press by establishing her studio in Landenberg, Pennsylvania.As Lindsay evolved in her art form, she transitioned her print product line to celebrate the outdoors, for which she’s had a love since childhood. A self-proclaimed tree-hugger, she realized her long term dream of hiking the entire Appalachian Trail in 2017, combining the hiking adventure with a creative project, funded by Kickstarter backers, to illustrate every 100-mile section of the trail with a print that depicts her visual and personal experiences. Six months and 2,200 miles later, Lindsay began to mold the experience into a series of 22 prints,called the Printed Walk, depicting her thru-hike of the famous trail in a novel form. Since 2013, Gingerly Press prints have been featured in the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum's annual juried letterpress show as well as in multiple publications, including two separate features in internationally renown Uppercase Magazine.

Outside of her Gingerly Press work, Lindsay is currently studying to become a yoga teacher, works part-time as a chef at a local organic foods market and teaches the letterpress class & club at the University of Delaware, inspiring students in Raven Press, where she first fell in love with the craft. Lindsay plans to expand her exploration of her passions in letterpress printing, the outdoors, and yoga as she moves Gingerly Press to Asheville, North Carolina in late 2018.