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Smudge Ink | Artisan Profile

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Deb Bastien and Kate Saliba

Deb Bastien and Kate Saliba

Michael Piazza

Deb Bastien and Kate Saliba have been teammates for decades, first as varsity field-hockey players at Bates College, and now in their Boston-based stationery company, where they produce offset-printed and lette­rpress notes, invitations, calendars, gift wrap, and holiday cards. The business originally started on Cape Cod, where Deb had relocated to be closer to family. (“Translation,” she jokes: “We needed free rent while we got this thing going.”) But they found the perfect headquarters in a renovated textile factory in Charlestown.

The pair have a particular fondness for letterpress. “It creates a three-dimensional impression, which we think is beautiful,” Deb says. So they print about 60 percent of their products in house on antique cast-iron letter­press machines. The remainder are produced by a press in Maine, which also handles offset printing.

Bastien and Saliba continue to be team players: They proudly note that their staff includes a talented violinist, a portrait artist, and a mathematician. And in recent years, Smudge Ink has also created two lines of vibrantly designed cards whose proceeds benefit local charities: WE CAN, a Cape Cod group offering mentoring, legal counsel, and education to women in transition; and Circle of Women, a Cambridge-based organization that funds schools for girls in developing countries. $8–$13. Smudge Ink, Charlestown, MA. 617-242-8228; smudgeink.com

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