Gwen Frostic’s Block Prints

Photo from the Gwen Frostic web site

Savor each moment of beauty –

the majestic – – and the simple…

Listen to silence – – –

that in itself

renders all words meaningless…

Feel the wind in the trees – – –

The ebb and flow of the tides – – –

wild wings soaring high – – –

– – – the timeless rhythms of life …

Dream of stars shining over head – – –

– – of the mystic kinship

that underlies all life….

Keep a sense of wonder – – –

and of awe – – – –

– – – – forever ….

(Gwen Frostic – printed in the small book that will be my new current journal)

Yesterday was a very rainy, windy day and we are camping with friends on Lake Michigan. There is only one thing to do when this happens – get in the car and go someplace. JB and I already knew what we would do because we are familiar with this northwest corner of the lower peninsula of Michigan. We headed for Benzonia and Frankfort.

On the River Road between Benzonia and Frankfort is the Gwen Frostic studio. Ms. Frostic lived from 1906 to 2001 and was an artist and writer. She loved nature and is known for her block prints of trees, birds, flowers and other critters of nature. Production of stationary, journal type books, place mats and napkins, calendars, and many other household items continues, with items sold in the workshop she designed. This building is nice to visit if you enjoy seeing how a human dwelling can be built to feel like a part of the natural world around it. In fact JB commented as we walked up to the entrance that they needed to mow the grass on the low-hanging roof.

What was most fun on this trip was watching and photographing some of the 12 Heidelberg presses that create the products from her original wood block carvings.

While we were watching, a machine close to us had finished printing a second or third color so the person who appeared to be an accomplished printer removed the frame that held the blocks adding the new color and began replacing them with two new blocks.

This appeared to be highly skilled work – requiring careful measuring and adjusting so the next color on the design fit perfectly. In this case, after he printing a test, he removed the frame with the blocks and changed the spacers to better align the new color on the previous colors. The young boy appeared to be an apprentice.

When we left it was still a little early for supper so we took a quick trip around Chrystal Lake to Frankfort, stopping at the Point Betsy Lighthouse. We didn’t stop there because it was raining harder, even though the big waves breaking on the shore were a temptation.

After a quick tour of Frankfort, we went to Beulah to have supper at the Cherry Hut. This is a local favorite with foods featuring the tart cherries that are famously produced in this part of Michigan.

You can find out more about Gwen Frostic’s products and order items online at their website.

If you are in the area and want to visit The Cherry Hut, you can find out about them here.

4 thoughts on “Gwen Frostic’s Block Prints

    • If you like watching very complicated machines work, you would have been in heaven. The print shop is below the showroom so we looked down on it – with no glass. There were no guides so we stood, watched, and speculated on how they worked. Great fun.


  1. We were at Gwen Frostic’s that same day, just before noon, and then to Cherry Hut for pie! Where are you staying? We are in downtown Frankfort.


    • What a coincidence! Your name came up in conversation – we are with the Kenworthys. We are staying at Orchard Beach State Park outside Manistee. We go home tomorrow.


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