Silver City, NM:
Power and Light Press
Highway 152 is a windy mountain road that led us through the Gila National Forest to the quaint and charming town of Silver City, NM. While neither Rosemary nor I had been to the area before, or New Mexico for that matter, we felt right at home meandering our way along the roadway that resembles many mountain passages in Montana. It was a refreshing break from the straight concrete channels that led us here. We knew Silver City was a bit off the beaten path, but we were pleasantly surprised when we found ourselves enjoying the tree lined corridor, leading us to Power and Light Press. (www.powerandlightpress.com).
When first planning our route the Itinerant Printer, Chris Fritton (www.itinerant printer.com), graciously reached out to help us connect with various print shops around the country. Kyle with Power and Light Press in Silver City was one of those shops. I remember him asking, “...and of course you must visit Kyle in New Mexico with the Moveable Type truck, you know of her work right?” A moveable type truck?! We both responded that we had not, but were excited to hear from a fellow mobile printer. From that conversation on, Kyle's shop was high on our list.
Before navigating to Kyle's shop in downtown Silver City we settled into our Airbnb meeting our kind host Lora and her cute little dog, Russell. Lora was the kind of person that you felt like you knew, while having just met her. The pandemic took a lot from communities but one of things I am most grateful to have back is the opportunity to meet new people - printers and non-printers alike. And the people we met in Silver City were as kind and inspiring as the charming town that they call home.
We found Kyle and her summer assistant Kim greeting customers in the storefront of the studio. Kyle's shop is expansive - the biggest shop I have ever seen. Kyle gave us a shop tour, which, of course, included all of the presses, type and work spaces, but my favorite part was the lounge area. She explained local bands would play there in pre-covid times. It houses a backdrop wall plastered with show posters and a variety of printed ephemera. Collaged print walls have a special way of bringing a space to life. When I was younger I would collage on my walls small posters and pictures I valued at the time I pasted it up. The arrangement of various pieces calls to life different elements within each building a singular piece from many. It's funny how even a simple print wall can teach you a thing or two about life if you choose to see it.
Rosemary and I grabbed a slice at the pizza joint next door and started to plan our third print. Rosemary, being a language connoisseur, wanted to use the Spanish influences of the area with the word, ‘bienvenidos’. I was still hung up on the funny, existential signs we saw throughout New Mexico that threaten the chance of weather at any moment - we both laughed every time we passed one. They read: dust storms possible ahead or gusty winds may exist. There is no lack of inspiration on the road, so we were done ideating before we even finished our dinner.
Kyle invited us over for a drink at her place, to decompress from the long day and, of course, to check out the infamous moveable type truck. Rosemary and I explained to Kyle that we were very happy to be able to fit all our… shit, for lack of a better word, into her little Scion XD for our three month trek, so touring Kyle's panel truck felt very spacious. With deep drawers, big counters and a bed in the back, Kyle curated an amazing touring print space back in 2011. She explained that moving across the country in the beast was a hare and turtle kind of adventure. She, being the turtle, among the fast traffic of the concrete jungle. Kyle kept a map in the truck pinned with all the places she visited along her path. We were inspired and awe-struck looking at all the places she traveled. I can not imagine the impact Kyle's journey had on her, and her on the places and people she visited. We have only visited two shops and have already met so many amazing people.
The next day we set up our operation outside of Kyle's shop during a blistering hot day under the southern New Mexico sun. We pulled our little rig through her shop, which gives you some perspective of size, and parked it in the courtyard. Throughout the day folks peered at our map and all the places we are yet to go. A few little girls came and pushed down on the press handle and giggled as they pulled out the print. After the three color prints, ice cream and margaritas were in order - so we indulged in just that.
Our last night in New Mexico concluded by watching the sunset in the backyard of our Airbnb overlooking a national forest we traveled through on our way into NM. The sunset was nothing special, a normal warm colored sky, but it seemed to last forever. Montana sunsets are vibrant and fast, but in New Mexico the darkness seems to take its time stealing the light. I think our time here can be summed up similarly. We slowed down and savored our time - even the last bit of light before calling it a night ahead of our long route to Austin, TX starting early the next morning.