Shop Talk – In The Works At 7 Ton Co.

7 Ton Co. : Bojack Coffee Co.

Barry Walton of Bojack Coffee Co., a coffee roaster based in South Carolina, is the best conversationalist (and coffee roaster). We never tire of seeing and talking to him and his crew. When he asked us to design packaging for Bojack, inspired by his grandfather, we jumped at the chance with a modern meets vintage design. The bags were letterpress printed with metallic gold and a matte metallic silver ink. 

7 Ton Co. : Bike Love

Asheville on Bikes hosted their annual Bike Love event last month, and boy was it a blast. Great food, great beer, great music. The design inspiration was Grandma's ski suit. Pictured here are the stickers and posters we designed. The entire package included stickers, spoke cards, posters, membership letters, social media icons, and sponsorship info. 

7 Ton Co. : Blackmor CPA

Blackmor, CPA provides professional accounting services to hospice and home health companies, a job that requires experience, knowledge, and a high level of trust. Our challenge was to create an identity that reflected the gravity of the job at hand, while also being approachable and memorable. In addition to the logo, the new branding was carried into their business cards, stationery, and web icons. Seen here are two sided white on black business cards (left) and letterpress printed stationery (right).

7 Ton Co. : Lake Print

We cannot see our reflection in running water. It is only in still water that we can see.
~ Taoist Proverb ~
The mountain lake print is our newest shop edition. These 8"x10" prints are letterpress printed in five runs of greens, blues, and grey an available HERE.

7 Ton Co. : Marketplace Restaurant

Chef William Dissen of The Market Place Restaurant needed some branded stationery, so we set to work designing an A2 card with their logo and vintage radish drawing. Perfect for a quick hello or thank you in the mail. 

7 Ton Co. : Penland Catalog

How great is this cover of Penland School of Crafts Summer catalog?! We love seeing the many faces of past students, all shot by Penland Resident Artist Mercedes Jelinek. It reminds us just how many people Penland impacts. Summer session at Penland School of Crafts begins May 28th. Grab a catalog, or go online to see what's in store.

7 Ton Co. : Around the Shop

The production side of the studio has been busy this season, mixing ink, cranking the press, choosing perfectly matched envelopes. 

7 Ton Co. : Michael England

One of the more unique wedding invitations so far this season has been this two color letterpress printed, scored, and die cut invitation suite designed by Michael England. We printed this two color design on bright cotton paper with contrasting maroon envelopes.

7 Ton Co. : Maslow

You might notice this little cutie around the shop. Maslow became our newest addition (via Jenn and Ritchie) in December!

Shop Talk - In the works at 7 Ton Co.

7 ton co. - Haand catalog

These tableware catalogs were designed and printed for the new Hospitality line for Haand. Haand designs and makes serving and tableware out of Eli Whitney, North Carolina. 

7 ton co. - ketubah letterpress print

This week we letterpress printed a wedding Ketubah on soft cotton paper. Design by Ellie Snow.

7 ton co. - morris quotation print

We're big fans of William Morris here at 7 Ton. We've got new 11x14 letterpress prints in the shop of one of our favorite Morris sentiments.

7 ton co. - made south

Memorial day weekend we took to Taylors, South Carolina to sell prints and books at Made South. Thanks to everyone who stopped by to say hello at beautiful Taylor's Mill.

7 ton co. - Olivera

Logo design for Olivera Soap Co., a small company making handmade soap out of Brooklyn, NY.

7 ton co. - calligraphy table numbers

We've got lots of day-of wedding items floating in and out of the shop this wedding season. Above are letterpress printed + calligraphy table numbers for a June wedding.

7 ton co. - wilderness letterpress print

Our newest addition to our print collection is this Wilderness Adventure print. Two color letterpress printed on pale grey cover stock. Available in the shop.


Empty Bowls
Founders: Lisa Blackburn and John Hartom

Photo on Left by George Etheredge / Photo on Right: An Empty Bowls event in Finland

Photo on Left by George Etheredge / Photo on Right: An Empty Bowls event in Finland

Something worth fighting for: An end to world hunger. 

Progress is made every year, but there are still large strides to take to bring food to those most in need. It was estimated by The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that between 2014 and 2016, 795 million people of the world's total population (one in nine) are suffering from chronic malnourishment. There are numerous organizations focused on providing food to those in need. We’d like to tell you about one of those organizations - Empty Bowls.

Empty Bowls was founded by John Hartom and Lisa Blackburn over 25 years ago. What started as a classroom project, turned into a burgeoning event. This grassroots effort, which focuses on raising awareness and funds to combat hunger, has been hard at work for over a quarter century. The organization began in Michigan in 1990 by Lisa Blackburn and John Hartom, both teachers at the time. The concept developed out of a fundraising drive held in John’s school district. His ceramics students made bowls and served soup to faculty and staff in exchange for a donation to a local food bank. As a reminder of hunger, participants were encouraged to keep their ceramic bowl, now empty, to symbolize both those locally and globally who don’t have enough to eat. The event was a success and became the blueprint for Empty Bowls.

The framework John and Lisa created with Empty Bowls made for a creative and powerful community-run and community-centric event. It didn’t take long for the concept to catch and spread like wildfire. Pretty soon, people were holding Empty Bowls events across the United States and other countries. People all over the world have come together with their communities to make bowls, share a meal, and raise money for the cause. These gatherings, small or large, show people that they have the power to affect change on a local and global scale.

This year, let’s all strive to give back in someway, whether it is donating your time or money. Small ripples make big waves.

Want to host an Empty Bowls Event? Go to for more information. Want to participate in an Empty Bowls Event? MANNA Food Bank in Asheville hosts an Empty Bowls luncheon and dinner.

Read more about Empty Bowls below.


Photos by Dick Kennedy

Photos by Dick Kennedy

Tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, what you did prior to Empty Bowls.
We are both artists, educators and food justice activists. When Empty Bowls started John was a high school ceramics teacher and Lisa was teaching in private school and community settings. 

How did you come up with the concept of Empty Bowls and what was the push you needed to start it? 
Empty Bowls grew out of a need to raise money for a food drive in the school district (Bloomfield Hills, MI) where John was teaching. His students made ceramic bowls and served a soup luncheon for their faculty and staff. In exchange for a monetary donation for the food drive, participants were invited to keep their bowl as a reminder of hunger. The event proved to be an engaging service-learning project for the students and the pilot for Empty Bowls.

Explain the premise of Empty Bowls and how an event works.
Empty Bowls is an international grass roots, crafts-based effort to fight hunger. The project is decentralized and each group that participates is responsible for their own event. The basic premise remains the same as the first event. Potters, teachers, students, chefs, come together to create bowls and serve a simple meal of soup. In exchange for a monetary donation guests keep their bowl as a reminder of hunger. Money raised through Empty Bowls events is donated to organizations working to alleviate hunger and food insecurity.

What have been the biggest obstacles, or most difficult aspects of launching and running a non-profit?
Time and money.

What have been your biggest successes?
After 25 years the project continues to grow and to engage communities in an effort to end food insecurity. It has spread to over 20 countries and raised millions of dollars. The project stands as an opportunity for people to come together who otherwise may not. Everyone can participate. In the process we all learn about the complex issues of food insecurity and how we can work together to create food secure communities.

What is the most valuable lesson(s) you've learned  or the best advice you’ve received?
That everyone can make a difference and that when we combine our efforts we can have an impact on the issues that affect our communities.

Empty Bowls just celebrated their 25th Anniversary (congratulations). How has Empty Bowls evolved from how it started to what it is now and how do you envision it evolving in the next 25 years?
Everyone who participates adds something to the mix and the project is so much richer for it. It would be nice to see a time when everyone has access to healthy food and adequate nutrition and Empty Bowls would cease to exist.

Photo by Dana Moore. Empty Bowls 25th Anniversary Exhibit.

Photo by Dana Moore. Empty Bowls 25th Anniversary Exhibit.

To-date, how much has Empty Bowls been able to raise to fight hunger? Is there another way to quantify your impact other than monetarily?
Because the project is decentralized, we really don’t know how much has been raised. We have heard countless stories over the years from people who have participated telling us of how the project provided a reason for their neighborhood, potters coop, school, or community to work together and all of the positive outgrowths that resulted.

How can people get involved?
Go to  For people in the area, MANNA Foodbank in Asheville hosts an Empty Bowls luncheon and dinner each fall.

If people want to learn more about the hunger epidemic happening locally, nationally and internationally, what are the best resources available to them? 
Feeding America, based in Chicago, has over 200 regional food banks throughout the US. Their website is an excellent resource for information.