High Tide Printing Co. Joins Wiscasset Business Community

Kate Bell stands in front of her High Tide Printing Co. storefront in Wiscasset. Bell opened the screenprinting shop in mid-June. (Frida Hennig photo)

Kate Bell, in front her High Tide Printing Co. Wiscasset storefront. Bell opened her screenprinting business in mid-June. (Frida Hennig photo)

Kate Bell, a Wiscasset resident, has opened High Tide Printing Co. on Railroad Avenue, in Wiscasset. The storefront opened mid-June and offers many designs as well as custom orders.

Bell, who grew up in Caribou and is a native of the area, discovered her passion for screenprinting accidentally. In 2011, she began her career as a retailer at Cool As A Moose, a Brunswick-based company. She later moved to Art Forms, a sister company that specializes in screenprinting.

“I had no idea what screenprinting was, never knew how a shirt was made, and I just kind of got thrown into it … I fell in love with it,” Bell said of her first interaction with the process of screenprinting, which was in 2011.

Bell, who had been screenprinting in her basement for eight years, decided to start a storefront in order to pursue the art full-time. She graduated in 2016 from Central Maine Community College with a graphic design degree. Bell, who had been screenprinting for the last eight-years in her basement studio, decided to finally open a storefront, so that she can pursue screenprinting as a full-time career.

High Tide Printing Co.’s prime location on the Sheepscot River was a drawing point for Bell when searching for a location, along with the fact that her family has lived in Wiscasset for four years.

Bell had planned to move into 6 Railroad Ave. before the COVID-19 pandemic. But the lockdowns delayed everything. When the building’s owner contacted Bell to see if she was still interested, she had to jump at the chance, she said.

High Tide Printing Co. has produced many custom orders since opening its storefront. These were mostly for businesses.

“Other businesses are starting to hear about me, so I’ve been doing those shirts,” Bell said.

Bell, who is confident about her abilities, hopes to expand the range of jobs she can do.

“I would say no job is too small. I like helping out people whether it’s five shirts or 200,” she said.

Bell customers who want to order custom-made products from High Tide Printing Co. can contact them via social media, or simply stop by and place an order.

Bell sells her designs in-store, usually as shirts or sweatshirts. Many of the designs feature nature scenes inspired by Maine’s natural beauty, like mountains drawn by Bell’s father-in-law, which is one of her favorite designs.

Bell’s process when it comes to screenprinting alternates between at home and at the store. Bell usually exposes the screens in a dark, enclosed room with UV light. She then brings the screens into the storefront where she has a printer.

Bell’s press can hold six screens at the same time, which is helpful when doing a job involving multiple colors. She cures ink using a machine known as a flash unit.

Bell is also passionate about teaching others the art of screenprinting, as many don’t know about it, she said.

“If someone comes in and wants to know the process, I am more than happy to show it to them, whether I’m in the middle of printing something or not, I don’t mind flipping on the switch and showing them how it works,” said Bell.

Bell, currently the sole employee at High Tide Printing Co. hopes to expand his company into a bigger screenprinting business.

“My first goal was to do this. This was like a life’s dream for me. My dream location, on the water, in a town that I love and am growing my family in,” she said. “Something that I had always told people is that I wanted to do this because of my kids, I wanted to show them that you should follow your dreams and at least try it … I want to be a good role model to them.”

High Tide Printing Co. operates from Tuesday to Saturday, 10 am to 5 pm.

For more information call 540-6641, or search High Tide Printing Co. Facebook and Instagram.

Kate Bell works at the printing press at High Tide Printing Co. at 6 Railroad Ave. in Wiscasset. Bell does her own designs and also takes custom orders. (Frida Hennig photo)

Kate Bell is a printer at High Tide Printing Co. located at 6 Railroad Ave., Wiscasset. Bell designs her own products and takes on custom orders. (Frida Hennig photo)