Holiday Card Printing Workshop and Sale

Stop by and print a letterpress Christmas or generic Seasonal Holiday card for Free. (Additional cards can be printed for only $1 a pop!) and/or shop at our pop-up shop for books, cards, posters, broadsides, and even the new Wells Book Arts Baseball Caps!

When: Friday, December 4th from 1pm-5pm
Where: Wells Book Arts Center in Morgan Hall

Visiting Artist In Residence Jillian Bruschera from The Mobile Mill Sept 18-Oct 2nd


Take Action Now! Come be a part of a hands on lecture and learn about the Book Arts In-Residence The Mobile Mill, a traveling paper-making studio on September 24th at 6pm in Stratton Hall at Wells College. Jillian Bruschera focuses her art practice on social change, community, and sustainability. After a short lecture you will be able to make your own sheet of handmade paper.

Jillian will be here for two weeks September 18th-October 2nd hosting pop up paper making workshops all over campus. If you are unable to attend her talk catch up with her on another day. Here is the schedule:

19th Aurora Free Public Library 1-2:30pm
22nd Outside Dining Hall at Wells 11:30am-1:30pm
24th ‘The Mobile Mill: A Vehicle for Social Practice’ artist lecture by Jillian Bruschera, proprietor of The Mobile Mill, in Stratton 209 at 6pm
25th In front of Leach Dorm 9am-Noon
26th Aurora Farmer’s Market 9am-Noon
29th Near Stratton & Zabriske 9am-Noon

Gallery Opening in the String Room featuring: original posters from the Women’s Suffrage Movement, student-generated art & art-as-activism projects including The Mobile Mill by Jillian Bruschera, Lavender Menace by Angela Davis Fegan, & Seeds in Service by Melissa Potter and Maggie Puckett, 6-8pm This event also includes a round-table discussion with visiting artist Jillian Bruschera and faculty, 7pm

Admission is FREE
Stratton Hall Auditorium
Wells College
Aurora-On-Cayuga NY

The Mobile Mill is an automobile outfitted with portable machinery to enable “pop-up” hand papermaking production, moving the making experience to, well, anywhere.

With a focus on experiential learning and community outreach, The Mobile Mill is a space for physical, social, and artistic interaction — an alternative art-making space where new learners, practicing artists and potential collaborators can learn about paper and how to make paper. The Mobile Mill demonstrates ecological awareness through art education, which teaches participants how to repurpose waste.

At large, a studio-on-wheels has great potential to generate a type of interaction with community that considers a larger human ecology. As a moving-space able to interact between edges, The Mobile Mill considers art-making, in this case the making of handmade paper, as a way to engage in a variety of communities and dialogues.

A digital anthology of this project can be found at:

The even is free and open to the public.
For more information, email

Announcing The Wells College Press 2016 Chapbook Competition

Wells College Press invites submissions to its annual Poetry Chapbook Contest. The deadline for the 2016 competition is November 30, 2015. The winner will be announced in January 2016.


The author of the chosen manuscript will receive 20 copies of the letterpress printed, hand-sewn chapbook. The author will also be invited to read from her or his new chapbook at Wells College in the fall of 2016. The poet will receive a $500 honorarium + room and board for the reading.

We print editions of 100 signed and numbered copies. We craft every aspect of our chapbooks individually and obsessively: Prior chapbooks have included all type and ornament cast in metal at the Bixler Letterfoundry in Skaneatles specifically for those projects. Our books also feature hand-set title pages and hand-sewn bindings. The winning chapbook will continue this tradition of craftsmanship.

In honor of the gorgeous location of the Wells College Press, right on the shore of Cayuga Lake in New York’s Finger Lakes region, the chapbook series focuses on poems with a strong sense of place. We understand place to be geographical, social, political, spiritual, etc.

Submission Guidelines:

  • 18-30 manuscript pages (with no more than one poem per page)
  • Individual poems may have been published in periodicals, but the collection as a whole must be unpublished. An acknowledgments page is optional (though it will be included in the final chapbook).
  • Co-authored manuscripts and translated manuscripts are welcome.
  • Close personal friends of the judges, as well as current or former students of the judges, are ineligible.
  • Multiple submissions are welcome, but each submission must be accompanied by a separate entry fee.
  • Please limit your identifying information to your cover letter; the manuscript itself must be anonymous, as the judging will be blind.

How to submit:

Online via Submittable:

Or mail hard copies to:
Chapbook Contest
Wells Book Arts Center
Wells College
170 Main Street
Aurora, New York 13026.

Make checks for $20 payable to Wells College, with “WCPress entry fee” on the memo line.
Include an SASE for notification of the results.
Optional: Include a self-addressed, stamped postcard for acknowledgment of receipt.

The final judges of the 2016 WCP Poetry Chapbook Contest are Bruce Bennett and Dan Rosenberg.

Bruce Bennett is the author of nine volumes of poetry and more than twenty-five poetry chapbooks. His New and Selected Poems, Navigating The Distances (Orchises Press), was chosen by Booklist as “One Of The Top Ten Poetry Books Of 1999.” He co-founded and served as an editor of Field: Contemporary Poetry and Poetics and Ploughshares, and was the Poetry Editor for Stone Canoe Issue #9. In 2012 he was awarded a Pushcart Prize. In 2014 he retired from Wells College, where he taught literature and creative writing and directed the Visiting Writers Series. He is now Emeritus Professor of English.

Dan Rosenberg is the author of The Crushing Organ (Dream Horse Press, 2012) and cadabra (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 2015). He has also written two chapbooks, A Thread of Hands (Tilt Press, 2010) and Thigh’s Hollow (Omnidawn, forthcoming 2015), and he co-translated Miklavž Komelj’s Hippodrome (Zephyr Press, forthcoming 2015). His work has won the American Poetry Journal Book Prize and the Omnidawn Poetry Chapbook Contest. Rosenberg earned an M.F.A. from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and a Ph.D. from The University of Georgia. He teaches literature and creative writing at Wells College and co-edits Transom.

E-mail with questions:


According to her own account, Susie Garretson (as her friends knew her then) dreamed of a Book Arts Center at Wells while she was a still a student. I don’t know how familiar she was at that time with the work and reputation of Victor Hammer, who had left Wells in 1948, but I suspect she was well aware of Victor and perhaps (as so many have been) inspired by his example. Whatever its origin in fact and vision, Susan Garretson Swartzburg, Assistant Librarian for Collection Management and Preservation Specialist at Rutgers University, arrived at Wells, in company with Jane Webster Pearce ‘32, in the Fall of 1992 on a solemn mission. She was resolutely determined to do whatever was necessary to realize her dream.

That realization was not long in coming. In late 1992, Jane donated her entire fine arts bindery and bookbinding library to the college; she also arranged for an endowment to support a Binder-in-Residence. Robert Doherty, after informing Wells Librarian Jeri Vargo that he was eager to perpetuate his friend

Victor’s legacy at Wells, volunteered expertise, wide experience, and a wealth of materials.

The official Inauguration of the Wells Book Arts Center took place in April 1993, and Barbara E. Kretzmann, having been initially contacted by Susan, became the first Binder-in-Residence that Fall. In October 1993, the Book Arts Center sponsored its first symposium, “Honoring the Life and Work of Victor Hammer.” This highly-successful gathering was followed in the spring of 1995 by another equally successful symposium, “Bookbinding and the Book Arts.”

Susan Garretson Swartzburg was everywhere in evidence during this period, and throughout the formative years that followed, both as an essential member of the Book

Arts Center’s Advisory Board and as a resourceful agent and friend always available and eager to do whatever needed to be done. A tireless advocate for everything and everyone with any connection to the book arts at Wells, she lobbied, cajoled, argued, explained; networked endlessly, not just among classmates and Wells alumnae, but among her fellow book arts professionals. She donated funds and arranged for donations by others. She organized events, and arranged for speakers. She was unstoppable, unflappable, and imperturbable. Those who watched were in awe of her dedication, commitment, and inexhaustible energy; they even teased her about being “obsessed”!

Her untimely death at the age of 57 in October 1996, after having fallen ill on a summer trip with library colleagues to China, was a blow to the Book Arts Center from which it may never fully recover. One can only imagine what further contributions Susan might have made; what legions of new supporters, for example, she might have drawn to the Center if she could have sustained her promotional and other efforts on its behalf. Yet, she did live long enough to see the institution she somehow dreamed into being begin to flourish, and she would have been greatly gratified by its advances since that time.

The semi-annual Susan Garretson Swartzburg ‘60 Book Arts Lecture Series, founded by her in 1994 as a memorial to her father, bears her own name now as a grateful memorial to her from the Book Arts Center and Wells College. Still, only those who witnessed her unrelenting, inspired, indeed, heroic actions during those early years can have any adequate idea of the extent and scope of her contributions, any conception of the true legacy Susie left to the Wells College Book Arts Center, and therefore to all who continue to benefit from it.

Bruce Bennett
Director (1993-2002)
Wells College Book Arts Center

Written in 2002

This Weekend Is The Upstate New York Wayzgoose

This weekend is the 2015
Upstate NY Spring Wayzgoose
Saturday May 9, 2015 at 11am-5pm.

Wells Book Arts Center and the American Printing History Association Upstate New York Chapter are hosting the Wayzgoose at Wells College in Aurora, New York.

It is a celebration of printing and the book arts featuring hands-on workshops, demonstrations, vendor fair, tours, exhibitions, food & libations!

A Wayzgoose is a celebration of printing, paper and book arts. Its name goes back to medieval times when the master printer would host a feast for his workers.
Upstate New York state has not had a Wayzgoose event in many years and this annual event will bring the tradition back to this area as a celebration of the many artisans working in and around New York and beyond.

• Vendor Fair – Over 24 printers, binders, suppliers, book artists and artisans selling their wares directly to the public including:

Amaranth Press & Bindery (Syracuse, NY) – Hardbound Books, letterpress items
Bixler Letterfoundry (Skaneatles, NY) – New Metal Type
Boxcar Press (Syracuse, NY) – Polymer supplies
Diane Bond Books (Buffalo, NY) – Paste papers, handmade books
Moon Rabbit Press  (Rochester, NY) – Letterpress Posters, prints, cards
Interwingle (Rochester, NY) -Pop up cards, books, paper
Letterpress Things (Chicopee, MA) – Type, Supplies, Books
Chris MacCormack (Aurora, NY) – Books & broadsides
Russell Maret (New York, NY) – Fine books
Moore Wood Type (Gahanna, OH) – New Wood Type
Petrichor Paper (Buffalo, NY) – Handmade paper
Punky Press Studio (Auburn, NY) – Posters
The Press of Rob Lomascolo (Union Springs, NY) – Letterpress Books & Cards
Revival Book Arts (Trumansburg, NY) Handmade Paper, handbound books, prints
Bill Soucy (Hinsdale, NH) – Presses (book& printing), type, tools, books
Sunny outside Press (Buffalo, NY) – Independent Press Books
Swamp Press  (Northfields, MA) – New Metal Type
Type High Letterpress (Rochester, NY) – Posters, notebooks, cards
Virgin Wood type (Rochester, NY) – New Wood Type
Wake Robin (Canton, NY) – Eco printed papers and Artist Books
Weekend Printer (Webster, NY) – C&P Pilot Presses!
Wells College Press (Aurora, NY) – Books, broadsides, cards
Western New York Book Arts Center/Mohawk Press (Buffalo, NY) – Bookmaking supplies

• Hands-on Demonstrations:
-Letterpress printing on the Victor Hammer Hand Iron Press!
–Letterpress printing on the Vandercook Press!
—Paper Making!
—-Paste Paper Making!
—–Screen Printing!
——Wood type cutting!

• Exhibitions:
String Room Gallery Main Hall – Student Artwork
Long Library – Victor Hammer artifacts and printing
Morgan Hall 2nd floor – JJ Lankes woodcut exhibit
Morgan Hall 1st floor – Student work and work from the collection

May 9, 2015 11:00am–5:00pm
Sommer Center & Morgan Hall – Wells College 170 Main St Aurora NY

FREE and open to the public – suitable for all ages – Bring the family!

For more information:

Sponsored in part by:
American Printing History Association Upstate New York Chapter
Arnold Grummer’s® Papermaking
Atlantic Paper
Bixler Letterfoundry
Boxcar Press
Letterpress Things
Paper & Ink Arts
Virgin Wood type
& Wells College

A Super Awesome Week with Jen from Starshaped Press

If you didn’t have the chance to pop in the Book Arts Center while Jen Farwell from Starshaped Press was here don’t worry we have a recap for you!

As soon as Jen arrived she hit the ground running! She only left the letterpress studio to eat and sleep! It is always a treat to see the responses of printers and binders when they visit the center without fail they are overwhelmed with joy and can’t believe the facility. This was the case for Jen.  On day one she was already rummaging through our ornament collection and a lockup was beginning to take form on our composing stone. When I saw all the containers of ornaments everywhere she assured me she had a system and knew where everything lived. Each day her poster lock up began to transform. It was an exceptional experience to see how she brainstorms; problem solves, and executes her ideas.

She spoke to all the book arts classes and former students. They could not fathom Jen’s lockups and the intricate details. The students enjoyed learning about her process as an artist and her small business.


She gave a wonderful lecture and we released our co-published book The Alphabet of Sorts. During her lecture students came to understand that following your dreams and passions is not always easy but at the end of the day you get to do what you love with the ups and downs of operating your own company.

We hosted open studios days where students and community members stopped by and printed with Jen.

She completed two posters while she was here. First, The Alphabet Machine which was apropos since we released The Alphabet of Sorts. She also printed the poster for our next Susan Garretson Swartzburg ’60 Book Arts Lecture. She was a busy bee!

Also, check out Jennifer’s blog post with her side of the story.

If you dig Jennifer’s style and want to work with lots of metal type and ornaments fear not! She is teaching at our Summer Institute in July. You can spend an entire week with her and learn from a master. Click here for more info.

Visiting Artist In Residence Jennifer Farrell from Starshaped Press March 20th-23rd


Friday, March 20
Artist’s Talk 6:30pm
Book Launch Party 7:30pm

Antique Methods, Modern Design: Letterpress in the 21st Century
Starshaped Press Artist’s Talk and Book Release Party

Since 1999, Jennifer Farrell has operated Starshaped Press in Chicago. All work is done with metal and wood type, making Starshaped one of the few presses in the country producing commercial work while preserving antiquated letterpress materials. Jennifer’s work has been recognized in print and design blogs, and has appeared in shows throughout the USA and Europe.
This talk will share key details about the history of Starshaped Press, while looking at some of the many projects and custom solutions necessary when art meets commerce.
After the talk, Jennifer will be on hand to chat informally and celebrate the collaborative release of “An Alphabet of Sorts”, a book co-published by Starshaped Press and Wells College Press.

The event is Free and open to the general public
Refreshments will be provided.
Arts Education Room in Macmillan Hall

Saturday, March 20
“Thinking with Letterpress”
In-studio session workshop with Jennifer Farrell – Starshaped Press
Learn about the design and thought process in working with antique letterpress materials.
1-4 PM
Printing Studios – Morgan Hall

Monday, March 23
Open Studio Poster Printing with Jennifer Farrell – Starshaped Press
Work with the artist in an informal setting
Stop by and Print!
Printing Studios – Morgan Hall