The Sokolosky Sisters
“I think what’s cool is that it’s something new and modern; it’s art that you’d be proud to put on your walls, but it’s made with hundreds of years-old type and presses.”
Emily Sokolosky, the founder of Base Camp Printing Company, measures sheets of business cards before sliding them into her clamshell printing press – a contraption that looks more like a complicated medieval device than a way to create art. Her sister and co-owner of Base Camp stands behind her, trying to get the color just right for a new poster they’ll be printing later that day.
The Sokolosky sisters grew up in Charleston, West Virginia, where their shop is located today. After graduating from West Virginia University, Betsy spent some time as an Americorps VISTA while Emily finished her degree at WVU and decided to launch Base Camp Printing Co. It wasn’t long before the company saw success and Emily called upon her sister for help. “I asked Betsy to come in the shop and help me out, and then Christmas came around and it got crazy,” said Emily, “So I just asked her if she wanted to do this full time…I don’t even know if I asked her. it just kind of happened.” Now, the sisters say they balance each other out and work together on each of the new projects that come through the door.
“We really try to be true to the process that was used back in day when printing presses were state of the art technology,” says Betsy. “You’re really holding a piece of history.” Emily adds, “I love letterpress because of the little inconsistencies, you can really tell that a lot of heart went into each and every print.”
Perhaps best known for their Mountain Stage collection throughout West Virginia, the Sokolosky sisters do their best to celebrate the Mountain State in everything they do. From their West Virginia Living Insignia series to their Wild and Wonderful post cards – West Virginia is ever present and celebrated in their work.
When asked about her West Virginia roots, Emily said, “Being from West Virginia and going to WVU games growing up is such a huge part of me…I feel so proud to be able to stay in West Virginia and to create art about West Virginia and bring a positive light to a place that doesn’t get that a lot. It means everything to me to be able to represent my state and my school.”
To take a look at the work that Base Camp Printing Company is working on or to purchase the 2019 Alumni Print made specifically for graduates of West Virginia University head to https://www.basecampprinting.co/