Ian Belknap, the genius behind the exciting and fast-paced reading series WRITE CLUB, Pixiehammer Press, and many more incredible ventures, needs your help! Presently Belknap is in the throes of a GoFundMe campaign to get a special office so he can work on all his myriad projects in peace. In this interview, Belknap discusses Pixiehammer Press in more detail and explains his GoFundMe campaign more precisely. I hope you enjoy reading it and donate generously to his campaign.
Interview after the jump.
Tell our readers a little bit more about the GoFundMe campaign.
Essentially, I have grown exceptionally good at working for free on projects that are labor intensive and one of a kind – live shows, typewritten letters, etc. So I need to consolidate/streamline/prioritize where I can, and acquire the brain-space/time to make headway on some larger scale projects. In order to do so, I need a co-working space with a dedicated desk and conference room. And coffee. Good coffee, and lots of it. I’m looking to turn a corner from essentially well-regarded volunteer to professional writer/performer – I’m sure as shit not getting any younger, so I need to stomp on the gas a little bit.
How did the idea of Pixiehammer Press come to you?
It actually came mostly to my partner/co-founder Lindsay Muscato. We got hired by the Hideout to be a part of their February 2014 takeover of the MCA, and we know it’d be too hectic to do the regular WRITE CLUB show, so we decided to do something more intimate in scale. Lindsay’s been a collector of vintage typewriters forever, so she hit upon the idea of writing love letters, in keeping with the overall theme. Me being a contrarian, and wishing to retain some of WRITE CLUB’s combative spirit, I offered to write hate letters. Ever since, we’ve been offering custom letters that are one of a kind and composed on a vintage typewriter at a variety of live events and on our Etsy page.
What kind of events does Pixiehammer Press like to set up shop at?
We’ve done pre-show experience enhancements at performances, we’ve done private parties, we’ve done literary festivals (Printers Ball), and outdoor music festivals (Pitchfork). We could do gallery openings, weddings, conferences, galas – you name it.
In your mind, what sets this business apart from most typewriter pop-up shops?
The value of Pixiehammer is that it’s the ultimate in a tailored, individualized communiqué like none other in the world – we don’t have templates, we don’t have a style guide, we don’t decide in advance what a letter will contain or feel like till we speak with you. All letters are composed in direct response to an interview we conduct with the person ordering it. We press them for particulars, we don’t stop at generalities, and we endeavor to match the document we create as closely as we can with what we understand to be the intentions of the person requesting the letter, and finally apply a dusting of good writing to it. This renders it a unique and affecting artifact.
What do you hope to see happen with Pixiehammer Press?
Eventually, I see it becoming a boutique service people will pay handsomely for – book release parties, weddings, occasions of moment where those attending might like a singular memento. It’s a slow build, though, as it is passed along entirely hand to hand.
Ian Belknap is a writer/performer in Chicago. He is the founder and overlord of WRITE CLUB, the world’s greatest competitive reading series.