Since it opened in 2005, Greenwich Letterpress has been New York’s premiere shop for stationary. You’ll find plenty of things you might expect (handmade greeting cards, wedding invites) but often with a more playful spin (cheeky sayings, a drawing of Oscar Meyer Weiner truck). The shop truly comes alive during the Halloween season, where you can find vintage reproductions of Halloween ephemera made by the owners and their artistic collaborators.
The Greenwich Village shop is overflowing with handmade details imbued with immense care and a painstaking amount of time and effort—cards, pins, totes, miniatures and even scratch and sniff Beverly Hills 90210 trading cards—that Beth Salvini and her co-owner and sister, Amy, are constantly creating for the shop, particularly around the holidays.
Salvini went to art school for fine art at a time when “craft projects, were more seen as a bad word,” she shares in an interview with Time Out New York. “Craft has a weird connotation, like it was something your grandma would do. It was seen as not serious.”
But the artist proves how soulful kitschy projects can be, bringing joy with each of her one-of-a-kind sculptures, at a time when the world seems so bleak.
In recent years, Salvini has begun to sprinkle in a few of her own “readymade” food sculptures among the offerings. In the past, she's made hyperrealistic oyster-shaped Christmas ornaments and ice cream scoop snow globes. For Halloween this year, she’s currently selling fake chocolate witches that won’t melt. And you can expect other spooky, speciality items to follow and pop-up in the store as it gets closer to Halloween.
Works like these are a part of the ingenious roster of food-inspired sculptures that Salvini has been making for over a decade: hanging salami and banana cream pie sculptures (mostly made from a combination of paper pulp, polymer clay and regular clay) and risographs of vintage birthday cake garnishes. She looks to mid-century cookbooks and McCall’s recipes for inspiration, as well as "grotesque" photos and recipe cards that seem dated but also, in a weird way, absolutely contemporary. When we were last in the shop, a felt black and white cookie was hung proudly above the shop's mantle. It makes sense that West Village local and queen of kitsch, Amy Sedaris owns one of Salvini's pieces and shops at the letterpress.
“A lot of independent places and creatively-driven spaces are either being pushed out of the city or being pushed out into the corners of Brooklyn. I’d like to think we offer something out of the norm that makes people think differently,” says Salvini of the struggles of running a small business in the West Village, so focused on analog items.
“We put so much love and personality into it all.”
Head to Greenwich Letterpress at 15 Christopher St, New York, NY 10014, which is conveniently located at the heart of the Village's Halloween Parade, if you're attending this year.