Introducing the Six Pack / Gift Pack

Tin Can News
The Tin Can Cards Six Pack / Gift Pack is available in four different colors.

We are proud to announce the newest product from the Tin Can Labs Research & Development Team. The Six Pack / Gift Pack (patent pending) fills the niche of a presentation-ready gift for even the hardest-to-shop-for.

The goal was to develop an affordable gift option that is a self-contained, sturdy, attractive, package that also contains no plastic, and is completely biodegradable. It also needed to be quick and easy to construct by hand, and use paper efficiently, with as little waste as possible. Following months of modeling and design, paper cutting and folding, and finally hands-on product testing, we have released this innovative package.

Small Business Saturday

Tin Can News
8-Pointed Star Print

Tin Can Valley will be back in St. Peter for one day only on Saturday, November 26, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the Back Room Art Gallery at Ouren Instruments, at 208 Minnesota Avenue. This will be a good chance to start stocking up on Tin Can Christmas cards.

There will also be a bunch of other businesses and artists in St. Peter participating in Small Business Saturday, so it might be worth your trip.

While you’re there, if you are looking for a musical instrument, and you are into vintage stuff, Ouren Instruments is the candy store for you. There are so many guitars, banjos, and fiddles from major brands you’ve heard of, as well as brands you didn’t know existed; and many are very affordable. The best part is that these instruments have all been gone-over and set-up by a skilled luthier, so they not only look cool, but play fantastic. Guitars, banjos, fiddles, mandolins, harmonicas, and everything in between.

Guitars at Ouren Instruments in St. Peter, Minnesota.

On the Radio

Tin Can News

Tune in to KMSU 89.7 FM Thursday, September 29 at 1:00 p.m. to hear me mumbling and stumbling on the radio. Ronda Redmond, co-host of the excellent radio show, Live From the Arts Center of St. Peter, will ask me questions about my history as a printer, why on Earth I do this, and I’ll even get to play some of my favorite songs that inspire me.

If you can’t catch it live, the show will be archived for two weeks on the KMSU website. Even if you don’t listen to my show, check out other episodes of Live From the Arts Center of St. Peter, it airs every Thursday at 1:00 p.m.

Even if you don’t catch that show, you should be listening to KMSU radio every single day, no other medium in southern Minnesota is doing as much to support local artists and musicians. I can’t ever say enough positive things about that radio station or recommend it too much.

And if you don’t listen to the radio, you should at least check out the host, Ronda Redmond. She has a website, and a recently published book, Said the Old Widow to the New. I just finished her book, and I was hoping to say something nice about it, but this is no mere book of poems. Her poetry is raw, and emotionally honest, and real. I am overcome.

Rock Bend Weekend

Tin Can News

Come catch Tin Can Valley at the Rock Bend Folk Festival this weekend in Minnesota Square Park in St. Peter, Minnesota. The festival is open from noon ’til the early evening Saturday and Sunday. Free live music on two stages. Lots of other artists and food trucks too.

I will have two small printing presses set up, and giving kids and adults the opportunity to get ink on their clothes, and try letterpress printing.

This is kind of exciting because I haven’t set up my tent at an art fair since the summer of 2019! Also, this will be my first time selling art as a vendor at Rock Bend. I’ve been to nearly every festival, and even played on the stage with a band once, but this is my first time as an artist.

More info and the full music schedule at the Rock Bend website.

Minnesota Prairie Roots

Tin Can News

There is a fantastic article about my current exhibit in Montgomery on the Minnesota Prairie Roots site. The writer, Audrey Kletscher Helbling, really did a perfect job of capturing the essence of my work.

Though we have never met, Audrey and I share a common bond of both beginning our careers at the same newspaper, twenty years apart, working under the tutelage of the same publisher, James Deis, the owner of The Gaylord Hub.

I’ve been reading Audrey’s articles for years. Her passion for journalism, and recording the culture of small-town and rural Minnesota is obvious, and comprehensive. She’s been everywhere, documenting the lives of artists, craftspeople, and workers, living in the small towns, and exposing the rich highlights of what otherwise looks to be dying communities.

No other source in any medium has the depth and breadth of coverage of life in south central Minnesota as Minnesota Prairie Roots. Though she humbly refers to it as a blog, Minnesota Prairie Roots rivals the best news publications online or in print, and will be regarded as an important cultural resource for generations.

Ps, Qs, Bs, and Ds

Tin Can News, Tin Can Tips

Here begins a regular feature of the Tin Can News. ( Or if you are reading in reverse chronological order, this will be the last post. )

When I started as a printer, more than twenty years ago, I hustled my way into my first job. I wanted to be a printer, and all I had was ambition and a few ink drawings that I wanted to sell copies of. The small-town newspaper editor that hired me needed a press operator and was willing to give me a shot at it.

Thus began my dive into learning the printing trade in a one-press-operator town. The editor, near retirement age, had grown up in the print shop, but had spent most of his time: covering the city council, taking photos of house fires and car accidents, selling ads, calming down disgruntled customers, taking change-of-addresses over the phone, editing sloppy news copy, pasting-up pages just before deadline, enlarging prints in the darkroom, all things I would get to experience, as well, in my next fifteen years at the paper.

There are now several good resources online with all sorts of good advice, perhaps passed down through the ages from master press operator to printers devil. If you are starting out in this trade, I encourage you to follow their advice. Read all you can. Talk to other printers, most of them exist entirely for the chance to expound their squirreled-away knowledge. Some are jerks, but not many.

When you have expended every sensible attempt at making legible prints, one-at-a-time, and it’s late, the rest of the world is sleeping, and the lamp still burns over your press, and you just want to go home. Maybe you’ll remember one of these methods, and you will be inspired to improvise, ‘cause so-and-so made do, and got the job done, with the wrong tool for the wrong job. Press on.