Center for Book Arts Letterpress Seminar Day 4

Our last day! It was primarily about distribution, the act of putting your type back into the case. It’s supposed to be this satisfying, closure-inducing task but I found it sad having spent two days putting something together and then having to destroy it. Here’s a pic of what it looked like on its galley and all tied up in its string before I began taking it apart:

And here is the CA Job Case for my Optima font after all the pieces were put away:

Barbara brought in a book that had the history of every font in it, so I looked up some of my faves including the one I used, Optima, which was created by Hermann Zapf; it is characterized by a “thick-and-thin serifless face” and combines the best of roman and gothic forms.

Our primary task for the day besides distribution was doing the title page for the little anthologies we made of the work we printed. We decided to go with a Barnum font which got us on a circus theme. We found some star ornaments and an elephant and made up a circus-inspired broadside title page.

Here is Rena, Ella, me and Gabriel collaborating (more like some of us trying to convince others about the awesomeness of having lightning bolts coming out of the elephant’s trunk!) on the title page (photo taken by Holly):

Here I am posing with two title card pages (photo courtesy of Rena). We scored and folded these to make covers and holders for our prints:

And here is our instructor, Barbara Henry, posing with a title card:

Barbara showed us some of her amazing work today, too, including an accordion style book of WCW’s early poems with block art, three books of poems she made throughout the W. years by playing with found text from the NYTimes, and this amazing “graphic poem” collection (like a graphic novel but with a more impressionistic narrative) of linoleum block cuts that were also floor tiles.

Sad class is over already, but happy to have learned the basics of letterpress and to have met such great people. Here’s a snapshot of (almost) all of us:

From left to right: me, Ella, Gabriel, Jean, Myronn and Rena. Holly’s taking the pic and Tim wasn’t in class our last day. I’ll scan a copy of my print tomorrow and post it. You can see more of Rena’s photos of our four days here.

The class has only fueled my fantasies about starting my own press. I wrote down the specs for a table top press next to one of the Vandercooks and think I may ask for one for Xmas this year and take a class at the press on using one. And I found my old linoleum block cutting kit too so I could do it all: cover and text. Just need to learn how to make paper and it could be a 100% handmade product. Start publishing limited edition chaps of my friends’ work…

“Poets publish other poets…”