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Draplin Design Co., North America



Stayed in St. Joseph last night, right off the highway but a 100 yards. Grossest hotel since a bad night in Cape Girardeau, Missouri a couple years back. Pretty rough. There’s just something unsettling about deep Southwest Michigan. Man.

Shot over to Niles and quickly found the French Paper Co.

Last time I was here was in 1997, quickly passing through, hunting down some samples. I still have some of them, and cut ‘em up for projects or mockups here and there. A decade later.

Jerry French greeted me and we got down and dirty about paper and history and Field Notes. What a guy. So good. He updated me with all the new French swatchbooks and even a blow-up Jerry doll.

We took a tour of the French factory. Big vats of pulp swirling, presses squeezing water out of paper, big drum heaters and all kinds of choppers getting those big sheets down to size and ready for shipment.

The whole thing, from top to bottom, just made me feel good about paper, and design, and Niles, and Michigan, and, America, on some level.

“Family-owned and operated since 1871.” Five generations, people. Soon to be six. The best.

A complete photographic report will be on the Field Notes site in due time.

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Out of Niles, I shot past Gary up into the big city. Went to the Museum of Science and Industry, finally. Been wondering about that one for some time. They’ve got that German U-Boat, a 737 you can walk around in, a big-ass Star Wars exhibit and strand of honest Abe’s hair. Pretty good.

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Met up with Cody Hudson for some chinese food, shot the shit on all things design and art, and hit the road out of the city up towards Wisconsin.

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Niles is my hometown. It’s delightfully gloomy in a midwest sort of way.

Posted by: Phil on 10/25/07 at 11:01 AM
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