Thursday, October 14, 2010

Road Trip: Gwen Frostic Studio (Benzonia, MI)

Yesterday, we took a road trip. We headed out to Benzonia, MI to visit the Gwen Frostic studio and store. For those of you who aren't familiar with Gwen Frostic's work, you're really missing out. After I graduated from college they named the new "School of Art" after Gwen (previously it was a "Department of Art"). Her prints are simple, yet have so much depth to them. You can read more about Gwen HERE. You can also visit the website for the studio/shop HERE.

Our trip started with a stop at Don's Drive-In in Traverse City for some lunch. Nothing like a Coney Dog, some fries and a Coke to start off a great road trip.


Once we were successfully full, we were off to Benzonia! I am certain that anyone who lives in Michigan should visit the Gwen Frostic Studio. It's very special. The building itself is built into the landscape and sort of blends in with the landscape around it. I believe this was Gwen's intent when she built it.

View of the building and entrance to the studio/shop

When you walk through the door, you are greeted by water fountains and pools and large wooden beams . . . and then rows and rows, and shelves and shelves of notecards, books, calendars, napkin and placemat sets. It's almost breathtaking.

Just inside the entrance to the studio/shop

Jim perusing racks of notecards

Just below the shop area you can actually watch as pressmen print items from Gwen's blocks. They have an impressive set up and I was in awe. Of course, I got a couple photos . . .

Heidelberg presses hard at work (they have 12 total, I think three were working while we were there)

I also HAD to take a video so that you all could hear the sounds of these glorious presses. It was the coolest "swoosh, swoosh, swoosh" sound. This is my first time posting a video . . . enjoy!

Of course, we didn't leave without making some purchases. Here's my booty:

Small 2011 hanging calendar

Large 2011 hanging calendar. Had to get both, they have different prints :)

Michigan notecards

Small raccoon journal

This place was spectacular! So inspiring. It made me want to get my little Kelsey press up here so I can try some more printing on that tiny little thing :) We'll see if I can find a good place for it for the winter and make something happen.

Since we had the time, we did a little driving tour of the area on our way back. We stopped at the Point Betsie Lighthouse to take in some Lake Michigan views and enjoy a bit of time outside on such a gorgeous day.

Point Betsie Lighthouse

Pretty view of the beach

And, last, but not least, we made a stop at the mall in Traverse City. I know, doesn't seem like the mall can compare with the rest of the day, BUT take a look at what I picked up . . . and you might change your mind :)

Three Wolf Moon T-shirt . . . YES!

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