Bursting at the seams with intricate old printing presses, at first glance our studio might look more like a museum than a working studio. But it doesn’t feel like a museum – it’s a get-your-hands dirty, have-a-good-laugh kind of place, thanks to our passionate team of makers and a very charming toddler (the real boss around here). Meet them all below.
Heather Braun - Founder and Creative Director
As a kid, Heather loved to wrap gifts. Not content to just wrap the gifts she was giving, she would beg everyone in her family to let her wrap their gifts too. For her it was about playing with paper and ribbons – layering, combining, folding. Unfortunately, gift-wrapping is neither a major nor a profession, so she was forced to pursue other fields of study – First a degree in Landscape Architecture, then Communication Design. After being given a small letterpress machine by a friend, Heather realized that many of her obsessions (origami, the texture of things like chestnuts, tide pools, the intricacies of flower petals...) suggested that letterpress might just be her calling. And so Porchlight Press was born.
What else can we tell you about Heather? She’s an avid kayaker and dabbles in playing the banjo. She’s a Star Wars nerd. She was born and raised in Vancouver, but lived in Paris for a spell. She’s a prankster. Nicknamed Chesh for her wide, mischievous Cheshire Cat grin, Heather is responsible for some of Porchlight’s more offbeat greeting card ideas (many of which never make it past Belinda’s vetting process).
Belinda Chan - Art Director and Studio Manager
If Porchlight had a Best Dressed award, Belinda would win it, hands down. Everything about Belinda screams design and attention to detail – from her impeccable clothing (even her umbrella is beautiful!) to her obsession with paper to her love for design capitals like Amsterdam and Tokyo. Originally from Winnipeg, Belinda worked in graphic design, fashion design, and landscape architecture before joining Porchlight Press. Belinda is a maker 24/7; when she’s not at Porchlight, she’s working on one of her side projects, like making handmade leather mittens and bags.
Dave Dawson - Printer
Dave started printing in the UK when he was 16, for no better reason than there were jobs available for him and two of his friends. Since then, he’s witnessed the decline and near-death of letterpress, and was happy to see its resurrection. Although he became a letterpress printer by what he calls fluke, he’s come to appreciate it as a craft – and no one’s a better craftsman than he is. Dave is an avid windsurfer and a semi-retired squash player.
Felicity Elsted - Printing Supervisor / Printer
Felicity has been doing letterpress for 20 years, which isn’t particularly remarkable until you learn that she isn’t even 30. Felicity grew up around the craft; her parents have run a local letterpress book printing company for over 40 years. She made her first book when she was 14 (it was about horses). Later, at age 17, she hand-set a book of Emily Dickinson poetry, which won a national design contest. No big deal. Since then, books have continued to be close to her heart; she has a master’s degree in English literature. When she’s not at Porchlight, Felicity is typically hanging out with her two adoring cats, Tully and Samson.
Lauren Braun - Studio Supervisor
Lauren isn’t in the studio all that often, but when she is, everyone falls in line. Like a drill sergeant, she makes her rounds, ensuring everything is in order. She rolls around on a dolly, indicating approval of what she sees with a once-over tap (assuming she can reach). In her almost 3 years of experience as a human, she’s learned a thing or two about our machines; she’s been hearing their unmistakable rhythms since she was in utero. Which explains why she seems to feel right at home in our studio.