Issue 002 — Print Story: Stratum 001

Issue 002 — Print Story: Stratum 001

Originally published on Mar 28, 2021

Print story: Stratum 001

[drawing on block]

I don't think doodling to pass the time is exclusively a designer's habit.

In fact, I can vividly remember a spiral bound, standard ruled notebook that my mom would use to take notes while on phone calls. That notebook contained more pertinent information about our family than any public or medical record might. But it also contained margins full of aimless scribbles and stemmed flowers and concentric circles and meandering patterns...

These days, my own scrap paper doodles typically involve a repetitious stack of flowing lines. The lines always happen to vary in weight and direction, unlike a topographic or concentric pattern. I'm not even sure where it came from, but I know it's a habit that comes out when I have a pen in my hand. In fact, some of you reading this may have a page or two full of these sitting in your own house if we've had late nights together.

[carving into block]

Unlike most of the prints available at, this one was free handed directly onto the block. Most of the time, I start digitally, print that sketch, and transfer it by tracing carbon paper on a block. But for an enlarged print of a doodle that never really meant anything, it felt right to just wing it.

I was certainly still struggling with how thin I could carve a raised line at the time though, and that can be readily seen in some of the process shots.

Carving out a thin line out of a block is much harder than carving a thin line into a block. Maybe Stratums 006 or 007 will be a bit more polished.

[mixing ink]

And for those of you reading this newsletter, you'll get a fun fact about Stratum 001 that I haven't told anyone yet — the color is wrong.

This was one of my first times trying to mix a color with oil based ink. It was supposed to be a barely blue, frosty white. I vastly overestimated how much of the process blue ink I needed for that one and the end result is a darker, sky blue. But in this house, we roll with our mistakes.

[colored block]

And lastly, the name.

As I mentioned, drawing out this pattern isn't new to me. But I'm obsessed with topography and maps, and this wasn't that. As I was working through the block, it occurred to me for the first time what the finished product was beginning to resemble: a cross section of sedimentary rock.

The parts of my undergrad geology elective that I didn't sleep through finally made themselves useful to me — "stratum" is the name of a band or layer of rock found in a sedimentary formation.

And so the first in an eventual series of prints was born: Stratum 001.


Stratum 001


One of the original four Cypress prints. While it has recently received some of the same new fancy photoshop treatment of its sister prints, Stratum 001's old images can still be found in quite a few of the (very rough) beginnings of the online shop.

New packaging, same great taste, as they say.

If you're looking to get in on some of our humble beginnings, there's still a chance.

Playing in the studio


[kooze set 3]

I love a good DJ set. And while I backed off of electronic music in general over the years, I'm still always passively looking for long, continuous mixes to set and forget as a background to whatever I'm doing.

I got hooked on Kooze via his quickly growing, overly enthusiastic Instagram presence. His posts typically involve him sitting at his controller, energetically dancing along to his latest mix. His latest one, Set 3, was just fully released on Soundcloud. It's 50 minutes of perfectly unexpected mashups that are great for in the studio, on the bike, or in the car.


Leave a comment

Please note, comments need to be approved before they are published.