Systems Collapse: What We Do When Technology Breaks

February 4, 2016 Written by Joe Menth

When Fixing a Printer Looks like a Crime Scene

When a printing studio loses a printer, it’s a significant setback. We are beholden to our technology more than we often acknowledge.

Last week after a typical “bad” print showing some banding, we ran a cleaning on our 8-year-old Epson 9800. Yeah, it’s that old. Ancient in terms of modern technology. But it’s a workhorse.

Of course we have upgraded in the last few years, having added an Epson 9900 about five years ago. Both, really, are workhorses. Considering the abuse they get with various kinds of fibrous papers, casting an array of paper dust every time it cuts another print off the roll, or even worse, the ridiculous materials we’ve thrown at them over the years – including all manner of fabrics with their abundant shedding of fibers…I’m surprised we don’t have to replace them entirely every couple of years.

But it seems that last week our trusty 9800 would not get through a cleaning and come out with a good print on the other end. In fact, there was no ink on the paper at all. None. (more…)

Limits of Visualizing Wealth Inequality

January 28, 2016 Written by Joe Menth

Screenshot 2016-01-27 16.10.19

I know, it’s a strange topic: why would a printing and design company care about visualizing wealth inequality?
Kind of a long story, but the short version: we’re all affected by it, even if we don’t think about it day to day…and yet, in conversation with our friend and client Tom Trimbath, we discovered that actually trying to get our heads around the intangible scale of the numbers that factually describe wealth inequality, there’s no easy way to visualize it with the actual numbers.

When dealing with a disparity where the numbers are literally 62 versus 3.5 Billion…there’s no way to show it. (more…)

Gratitude: A Decade of Practice

January 12, 2016 Written by Joe Menth

The 2010 Gratitude Show in the Open Door Gallery space, now occupied by Salon Bella

Thank you. All of you who have ever been with us on our journey. We’re grateful – whether we’ve printed a piece of art for you, designed something for your business, or just had a long engaging chat about possibilities that you took and made happen all on your own. Thank you.

Fine Balance Imaging old studio space at Bayview, 2006

Our old digs, when we first moved to Bayview in 2006

Early on in our printing business, we were coming into awareness of how important it was to be in more of a relationship with our myriad clients than a standard “print-for-pay” kind of copy shop might be.

From the very beginning, it was apparent to us that it was paramount to be truly thankful for every artist, photographer, designer or small business owner we had the great opportunity to work with. (more…)

Now We Can Talk About It, Part Three

November 8, 2015 Written by Joe Menth

Joe Menth, Art Wolfe and John Harrington in front of Art's metal prints we made

See Part One and Part Two for a little background…

So…we made it. It was a pretty crazy journey to get here. But we made it to the JVH Digital Festival printing conference and seminars, with a great presentation to give (more on that later, too) and some beautiful 30×40 Chromaluxe metal prints of Art Wolfe’s inspiring work.


I feel honored to have had the opportunity to create these, even if they were primarily as a promotional piece for Art, John, and us.

I’ll let the photos speak for themselves. Not much more to be said, really. John loved them. Art loved them. We’re proud of them.


Now We Get to Talk About It…Part Two

November 8, 2015 Written by Joe Menth

Art Wolfe - Mt. Rainier printing on the Epson dye sub printer


Ok, I have to admit, I was a little star-struck. (see Part One here…)

To John, Art was another customer of his. To us, he’d been a source of inspiration for decades.

After getting over myself, it finally sunk in.

Two weeks before the conference, and I had to perfect our dye sublimation printing process for making metal prints. And damn quick. Up until only a few days prior to this big request, we were still on edge a little, having had some troubles with large metal prints – those over 16×20 or so.

Of course, John wanted us to press Art Wolfe‘s images at the largest our press could go, which is 30×40.