We're tickled about our upcoming barn workshops with Hedgehog Press. Julie Toles is a talented, driven, generous and kind artisan, who creates lovely goodies on her antique presses like greeting cards, cork coasters and leather tags for liquor decanters (all of which are available for purchase at The Trove). We asked Julie to share a little bit about her business, in advance of the workshops, so we could all get to know her a little better.
How did you come up with the name Hedgehog Press?
Hedgehogs represent optimism, feminine empowerment, and creative expression! It just fit! Also, I love that hedgehog's are generally considered a pest in places they are native to. They are very difficult to remove from a garden or backyard. I think I liked the idea that I would be difficult to remove...I'm here to stay!
What was your motivation for starting a boutique printing company?
My main motivation was to have a place to create my work. I am a printmaker which requires a lot of specialized equipment and space. Starting my own business came very naturally to me. My whole family is centered around entrepreneurship! We all have our own businesses and I have always grown up around family-run enterprises. I knew I had to figure out a way to sustain a space and not just rely on my artwork sales, then the printshop as it is now was born! And I absolutely love it!
What's your most favorite project to date?
It is so hard to have a favorite project! Everything is so different and specialized. I recently painted on a bass drum for a local jazz band, sculpted 11 elephants out of floral foam for a wedding, and was included in a styled wedding photoshoot that was picked up by The Knot! So many fun aspects about what I get to do everyday!
How do you stay creative?
I try to live a completely creative lifestyle meaning everything I do revolves around my creation process. I love being out in nature and try to go hiking at least one a week! That always gets me energized and helps me feel inspired! I also have a wonderful group of creative friends that keep me on my toes. Sketching and making things for no particular reason also helps me relax and hone in on what I'm doing.
Whose art do you most admire?
I have always loved Robert Rauschenberg's work. His style and compositional skills are just amazing to me. I love his use of color and the voice he chooses to represent in his work is very compelling. I also love Francisco Goya. I felt as though I had a religious experience while viewing his work in Spain in 2009 and since then have been an admirer. He created prints for a reason, for communication, a way to showcase injustices...I have always felt a strong responsibility to printmaking as an art form for these reasons.
What's next for Hedgehog Press?
With recent sales to larger retailers, I am looking to expand soon. I have some exciting ideas in the works and hope to see them come alive in 2016! I am sort of keeping the plans low key for now until I know they are able to happen.
We know you collect hedgehog figurines, etc and that people often give hedgehog paraphernalia to you. How many hedgehog tchotchkes do you own by now?
Oh my goodness! People are so sweet and find me the cutest hedgehog themed items. I recently had an elementary school group visiting and had them count the hedgehogs around the room while they each waited their turn on the printing press. I think we lost track somewhere after 62!