Meet justAjar Design + Press and the mighty tandem-team of Sara Alway-Rosenstock & Bobby Rosenstock. After criss-crossing the country from New York to Portland to Philadelphia, their love for vintage type and beautiful landscapes have now landed them in Southeastern Ohio, where they are busy designing, printing, working on their home, raising a daughter/apprentice and collecting old type from local antique shops. justAjar is all about preserving and sharing the age-old crafts of typesetting and woodblock printing. Their clients range from internationally touring bands to local chocolate shops, and everything in between. They recently moved their shop from a one-car garage in the basement of their house into a loft space at an old embalming parlor from the late 1800s in downtown Marietta.
Me: “What brought you to Marietta?”
Sara: “In 2009, I was offered a teaching position at Marietta College. We had never really considered living in Ohio, nor did we know much about it, but were pleasantly surprised by the beautiful landscapes of the area. I didn’t think I could live anywhere that was flat after growing up in the Pacific Northwest, but Bobby was game to go anywhere as long as he had a press to work on. So, we bought a house and a press and got to work.”
Me: “Have you found that there is an artistic community here in Marietta? If so, was this something you had expected to find?”
Sara: “We didn’t really know what to expect when we moved here from Philadelphia, we were pleased to meet creative people in the area. After nearly five years here, we are still meeting more.”
Me: “Has your perception of the area changed over your tenure here?”
Sara: “Moving to Marietta from Philadelphia, and Portland, Oregon before that, took adjustment. We no longer had easy access to take-out, loads of art galleries or Target! We loved being in a town that you could walk downtown and to the grocery store, but we sometimes craved more interaction. After the first year here, we made more friends that we ever had in Philly or Portland and we have come to love the community. I sometimes still miss Target and Bobby still misses New York pizza, but we’ve realized that we save money by not shopping at Target for things we don’t need and we built a pizza oven in the back yard.
Me: “A pizza oven in the back yard, brilliant. See, these are the things that you can do when you move to Marietta! How has the city of Marietta embraced Just-A-Jar, and do you have any big plans for your future here?”
Sara: “When we first moved here we didn’t know how long we would stay in the area, but when we started meeting people and realized how excited they were that our business was here, we realized we’ve stumbled upon a great community. We love getting to work with local businesses, whether it’s printing a custom poster for an event, designing packaging for a locally produced product or hosting a Boy Scout field trip, the community has embraced our business.
We just moved our shop into a loft space downtown this summer from our home shop and that was a pretty big venture — moving a 1500 lb. press was a feat! Since we do not have a retail space for people to wander in, we plan on having our shop open for future Artists & Merchants walks so more people can come check us out.”
Me: “So, can you tell us what a few of your favorite things to do in the MOV are?”
Sara: ” Well, we love going for bike rides on the amazing mountain bike trails or just cruising around town. We also enjoy going out with the Marietta Adventure Company on kayak trips. Our Saturday morning routine involves making some coffee to go and walking with our daughter down to the farmers market to pick up some fresh and local bread, cheese, meat and produce.”
Me: ” Do you have a go-to place for a quick bite and/or pint?”
Sara: “We enjoy the Marietta Brewing Company, the House of Wines, and The Buckley House for special occasions. There are also quite a few great dive bars in the area.”
Me: “Oh my gosh, I love the brewing company, and The Buckley House has the best rice pudding. Ok, so what do you think is the ‘best kept secret’ in Marietta?”
Sara: “Hands down, The Rivers, Trails and Ales Festival that takes place in the first few weeks of August. Especially the group kayak trip on the Muskingum River from Lowell to the Ohio, with stops at the Edgewater Tavern, passing through one of the only hand-operated locks in the country at the Devola Dam, and testing out every rope swing along the way.”
Me: “Ok, final question. If you could give some advice for those relocating, or thinking of relocating to the area, what would it be?”
Sara: “Throw out all your perceptions of how you “think” it will be and embrace the possibilities the area has to offer. There are a lot of hidden gems here and an amazing variety of people. Everyone will find something they love about living here, they just need to give it a bit of time to find it.”
Sara Alway-Rosenstock is from Western Washington, the land of big mountains, evergreen trees and seafood. She holds a BFA in Graphic Design from Alfred University in New York, as well as a MFA in Graphic Design from Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Philadelphia. In addition to running justAjar, Sara also teaches graphic design full-time at Marietta College where she enjoys introducing students to the “old” way of designing work alongside digital methods. To add even more variety, Sara also wrote and designed a humorous dating manual for vegetables that features companion planting methods called “Soil Mates”, which was published by Quirk Books.
Bobby Rosenstock is from New Jersey, the land of beaches, boardwalks and Bruce Springsteen. He holds a BAFA from Alfred University in New York. After working in large commercial printshops, as well as apprenticing under a master printer in Portland, Oregon, he decide to go back to school in Philadelphia where he received a MFA in printmaking and book arts with a focus in letterpress printing. When he’s not riding his bike or kayaking, he’s setting type, carving wood, and hand cranking out posters, cards, and prints.