The creative process can be grueling and tiresome. Often times, your product will be nothing like it was once imagined. Arley-Rose Torsone and Morgan Calderini, the artists behind Ladyfingers Letterpress know and appreciate this. After lugging thousands of pounds of equipment from Rhode Island to set up shop in Colorado Springs to be closer to family, the proud Mom and Mom shop owners added to their custom, handmade invitation operation to become a multi-faceted business — including a retail storefront and various workshop classes.
Ladyfingers has actually scaled down since coming to the Springs in 2014, having seven full-time employees when in Rhode Island and producing upwards of twenty custom lines made per month, to Torsion and Calderini now working by themselves (with some help from Calderini’s mother) and completing up to twelve custom invitation lines per year. They’ve adjusted the rest of their lives along the way, too, finding a balance between the business, creating art, and a growing family. They’ve made sacrifices in order to achieve their biggest masterpiece to date: a creative, self-sustaining, and successful letterpress company.
The inside of Ladyfingers and its presses are mesmerizing, commanding your attention when you first walk in. Seeing the workings of the operation is exciting, and Torsone and Calderini are welcoming. When I met them I had a list of questions I wanted to ask, but, consequently, I forgot to bring them. So I improvised, asking first about their artistic backgrounds and how they found their craft, which quickly lead to how art can serve a purpose, and that printmaking and design have a very tangible role in society.
Ladyfingers isn’t about getting rich, it’s about quality, happiness, and fun first and foremost. I asked them why they put so much into each project — when they could just as easily take an cookie-cutter design approach . Torsone and Calderini believe beauty is in everything, you just have to work to find it and make it show.
“We don’t mean for it to look like this was easy. This is a culmination of a lot of trials and tribulations and bad choices,” Torsone says. “But if you want something, you just got to set your heart to it and never give up.”