As a young girl, Allison Chapman learned the old-fashioned way of letterpress printing by helping her grandfather with his hobby at living-history festivals and events. She inherited his 1892 press and other equipment when she was 14, and today she uses that press and several other hand-operated machines to make a variety of printed objects at Igloo Letterpress in Worthington, a Columbus suburb.
Chapman uses wooden letters and symbols to turn out post cards, invitations, posters, books and all sorts of other printed material with the handmade quality her grandfather taught her.
And Chapman shares her knowledge in a variety of workshops and classes for groups. Igloo Letterpress was our first stop in a series of businesses in the historic Olde Worthington area that work together to give groups entertaining, educational, relaxing and delicious hands-on experiences.
I pulled a slot machine-like handle to raise an impression on a business card and cranked the handle on a press that rolled red ink on a card to spell “Thank you!” — the sentiments I felt for Chapman for taking me back in time.
Our next stop was the Candle Lab, where we made our own natural soy candle. After sampling more than 120 fragrances, from almond to yuzu, we each picked out three we wanted to combine to make a candle. Choices included everything from bubble bath and campfire to morning dew and summer lawn. I chose dark chocolate, whipped cream and burnt sugar for a dessert-style candle.
Owner Steve Weaver helped us mix the fragrance oils in varying doses in a 170-degree base oil until we got an aroma that satisfied us. “Everybody’s nose is different,” said Weaver.
It takes about an hour for the wax to set up, so we moved next door to House Wine, a “place to enjoy wine,” according to owner Donnie Austin, who tries to make the selection of wine educational and uncomplicated.
An unusual dispensing machine lets customers sample two-dozen different wines by the ounce or glass.
The Candle Lab and House Wine work together on a group experience called Wax, Wicks and Wine.
After strolling along the streets of Olde Worthington, which are lined with specialty shops featuring home decor, clothing and jewelry, we concluded our visit with dinner at the historic Worthington Inn, where groups can arrange to work alongside an award-winning chef to prepare a three-course meal.