On my last visit to Peoria Hofbrau for my World Beer Tour, I ran into Hofbrau regular/local artist, Bob Whitaker. We were talking about him being the artist of the month at One World Cafe and I asked him who printed his artwork up, since I have a background in the printing industry. That’s the industry I worked at when I lived in New York, you can read more about that here.
Anyway, Bob told me that all his arwork is printed at Technicraft and that name rang a bell because my brother Jim used to have his artwork printed there. I asked Bob if they were still located in Pioneer Park and he told me that they’re now located in downtown Peoria. I told him to mention me the next time he was there and see if they’d be interested in giving me a tour of their business and a few days later I got this message from Colleen Kimball via Twitter:
After I saw that I called Colleen and we set up a time for the official MBIP Takin’ Care of Business Tour. And that time is now, so let’s go take that tour and have a little MBIP fun at Technicraft. To the MBIP Mobile!
We’re heading towards downtown Peoria via I-74 on a day where there’s not enough cloud coverage to block that god-awful sunshine. I really need to check into getting those prescription sunglasses I’ve been yammering about for the last two and a half years. One of these days, Alice...
Drive-by shot of Technicraft!
Technicraft is located on Elm Street in downtown Peoria. I love the blue awning on the building!
This time this was definitely a planned obligatory front door mirror shot. It’s okay when this happens, but I love it more when it’s unplanned, like an unwanted pregnancy. Or something like that. Okay, let’s go in and get this tour underway!
It’s very nice inside and I spy a piece of art that’s very familiar looking over there to the left. We’ll check that out later...
But first, where is everybody? Did they see me coming and are they all hiding underneath this desk?
Hmmm...“For service, please ring bell.” Okay, the bell has been duly rung and...
Baboom, there’s Colleen Kimball, Director of Business at Technicraft, waiting in the wings to start today’s Takin’ Care of Business tour! That bell certainly works and it’s almost kind of magical!
First stop on the tour is meeting the owner and president of Technicraft, Tom Whalen! Actually, I’ve known Tom and his family for years and he’s a great guy. We hadn’t seen each other in decades and it was fun to catch up and hear how his family is doing. Tom lives in the same neighborhood as my parents, so we should invite him over the next time we stop in at Jerry’s Bar. Tom’s starting a new “micro-desk movement” in the printing industry and we applaud him for being a pioneer in this tiny desk movement!
Here’s an article about Technicraft in the PJ Star written by MBIP pal, Steve Tarter.
Colleen’s sister Lindsey stopped by Technicraft and the MBIP camera caught the two of them looking very pretty standing side by side next to Tom’s revolutionary micro-desk!
In addition to printing and design work, Technicraft does custom framing.
Okay, time for our behind the scenes tour of Technicraft!
This is the copy area and as you can see, Abraham Lincoln is the quality control man back here! Honest Abe will serve no copy before its time! I don’t know what that means, but it sounds good, right? Never mind.
This is a working slot machine in the copy area and I asked Colleen what his name is and she said he didn’t have one. That made me very sad and I asked if I could give him a name and she said I could. So I hearby christen the slot machine Indian, "Chief Nick." I picked the name because he’s...
Standing on a giganzo buffalo nickel. Pretty clever, huh? Don’t answer that, let’s just keep moving along on our tour.
Here’s some shots from the production area with state of the art printers and mounting machines. Very impressive!
This is Paul, who’s the production manager back here and he’s holding a canvas print of a photo he took. Nice work!
Technicraft is working with the Erin Feis which is happening on the riverfront this weekend. You can find out more information on the Erin Feis by clicking right here. I’m going there this Saturday night...maybe I’ll get a free shot of whiskey or something for this plug I just gave them. Stay tuned and find out next Monday! Oh and don't forget to use the hashtag: #PeoriaIrishFest on Twitter, facecrack, etc.
There’s Colleen in the custom framing area.
Here’s some framed prints and some loose prints for that aforementioned Erin Feis...whoops, that was another free plug, I can’t wait to see what kind of free crap I get there Saturday night!
This is the design area of Technicraft, sadly designer Annah had the day off, but let’s take a look around over here anyway.
There’s more fancy-schmancy, big-ass printers in this area and in the lower right you can see some of the design work that’s been produced back here.
Here’s the Technicraft crew in the woods being just a little wacky! Wack-a-doodle-doo!
As the behind the scenes tour comes to an end, Colleen showed me an impressive, oversize print of the Chrysler Building in New York. Very cool!
In addition to printing, design and custom-framing, Technicraft also sells original art and photography by local Peoria artists. They have the art hung on the office walls and it’s fun to walk around the office and look at the art work and photography. The photo on the lower right is by Keith Cotton, who was featured on MBIP a while back.
And here’s two pieces from Technicraft employees, Paul (top) and Annah (bottom). Wonderful pieces of art! If you’re a local artist and would like to have your work on display here at Technicraft, just call Colleen at the number listed below and she’ll tell you what you need to do to make this happen.
And now we’ve come full circle as this is a beautiful Grateful Dead influenced piece of art from Bob Whitaker who inspired the idea for this tour! Thanks to Colleen and everyone at Technicraft for a fun afternoon and a cool tour of their business! We’ll see you all tomorrow!