a chat with Lysa Hoffman of MakeRuckus Press

Lysa is one of those special friends who I met long ago at a Stephanie Pearl-McPhee book signing. We’ve kept in touch on and off over the years. Last October at Rhinebeck after commenting to each other’s Instagram posts, we properly reconnected (ok, Lysa recognized me and it took me a few days to realize who I had a conversation with). Since, we’ve emailed regularly and hopefully soon we can grab a coffee together! She created MakeRuckus Press and I thought it would be fun to interview her. Without further ado, let’s jump into our conversation about creating, letters in pasta and print, and kittens of all ages.

little acorn:
I confess I haven’t worked with clay since elementary school and I remember painfully etching words in my poor handwriting into the surface. Where did you come up with the PastaPottery idea?
lysa:
I’ve been a typophile forever, always obsessed with letterforms, handwriting, cyphers, hieroglyphics, codes — and I also love texture and the tactile sense. Early on in my ceramics work I used my most local tools: fingers, knuckles, the backs of my nails, to make impressions in the clay. I love that my work has a unique signature — my fingerprints! — without anything written. I’ve always used what’s near me for my work, and having owned a rubber stamp shop, I have thousands of stamps with which to impress into clay. Alphabet sets are easy to use but are time consuming and require lots of cleanup. The pasta aisle in the supermarket is filled with interesting, perishable shapes that are firm enough to work with easily, yet fragile enough to turn to ash when fired at even the lowest (1940°F) temperature.
why-wait
My first attempt was gluing pasta alphabet letters to a clothespin, but the letters stuck in the clay. The resulting bisque-fired piece turned out so well, I quickly found my favorite pasta “font” (Ronzoni), and spend downtime sorting letters into a divided bead box.
MakeRuckus Press all-the-pasta
little acorn:
It’s really cool! I hope you get support and can join the local high-fire ceramics studio to make more PastaPottery!
What do you wish people would do when they first see one of your letterpress prints? And… What do you wish they wouldn’t do?
lysa:
I wish people would simply ask about what they’re experiencing and not assume it’s rubber stamped or (gah!) digitally printed. The texture of letterpress can be as faint as a “kiss impression” or deep, biting into soft cotton paper, and everywhere in between. My goal is to excite people about the print process itself, the vast history behind it, and the enormous range of possibilities available. What I wish people not to do is be bored with my explanation, to not catch my fervor, to think it isn’t anything special. Give a shit, people, I worked really hard on this, and it’s clever.
MakeRuckus Press Love Is
little acorn:
I will not get started about apathy. I will not get started about apathy. I will not get started about apathy.
When not making, you can be found…
lysa:
Knitting, spinning fiber, wait, those are Making things. Hmm. Snuggling kitties, watching curated TV and movies. Hunting down new things to print, adding supplies to the neverending wish list.
little acorn:
You’ve collected words and quotes your entire career. How do you choose?
lysa:
I’m clinically bipolar, type 1, and very reactive. When something moves me to write it down, not just cyberhoard it on Pinterest but actually moves me to put pen to paper, then I know it’s got a good chance to get printed. If I’m in my studio or the classroom or having a “driveway moment” when that happens, even more favorable. What isn’t fun is when I can’t get the spacing right, or the material is frustrating me/behaving at odds. When I just can’t get it to look right. It’s hard to give up and go to sleep. But sleep always helps.
start-where-you-are
little acorn:
I’m a fan of sleep. And naps.
Ok, I ask everyone, even when I know the answer: Kitten or puppy snuggles?
lysa:
Ye gods, kitty snuggles of course! Teaz’ka (Ivan Rumpelteazer) with the yellow eyes wide open, and Mojo and Momma (Yevgeny Mungojerrie) in front of Amelia the Pilot Press.
Teazka
MakeRuckus Press Mojo-with-Amelia
little acorn:
With a heavy heart I had to edit our last exchange; between our chat and my posting this interview Lysa said goodbye to Pyewacket, the sleeping tortie with her eyes shut.
♥ Miss you, Pyewacket. {purrs}

♥ Miss you, Pyewacket. {purrs}


She was well loved and is missed. I’m sorry for your loss Lysa. {hugs}!

makeruckus-pressLysa can be found at MakeRuckus Press.

You can follow along on instagram and support her on Patreon. Shop the Etsy shop, and on most nearly every fair-weather Sunday through mid-November you can find Lysa and MakeRuckus Press at the Beacon Flea.

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