Annual Holiday Card Printing & Pop-Up Shop 2017

HolidayPosterOn December 8, 1-3pm and Saturday Dec 9, 1-3pm—Stop by Morgan Hall on Wells Campus in beautiful Aurora-On-Cayuga, NY 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 hand printed and blank books, letterpress greeting cards, limited edition posters, signed poetry broadsides, and even the new Wells College Press Coffee Mugs! All are welcome.

The Wells Book Arts Holiday Printing Workshop & Sale is part of the Christmas in Aurora event that runs throughout downtown Aurora on December 9, 2017. For more information on Christmas in Aurora, visit the Facebook Event Page

Persian Blue Carnival

PBIpagesThe latest publication from Wells College Press is a chapbook produced collaboratively by The Wells Book Arts Center and the Advanced Poetry Workshop of Professor Daniel Rosenberg.  The official press release tells much of the story, but the introduction written collaboratively by Book Arts Center director Richard Kegler and Professor Rosenberg gives a two-voice narrative on how the book came to be:

This began as a class. We distilled it into a book. I wanted my Advanced Poetry Workshop to get their hands dirty with language, and print their own work. I was interested in how the act of typesetting affects composition. I was interested in that too! How writing a poem changes when you don’t have the endless convenience of digital media. How the process of typesetting is a time of reflection and editing. So we hatched a plot. An apple basket full of 19th century wood engravings had been donated to the Book Arts Center. The artists were unknown. The purpose was unknown. They seemed ripe for ekphrasis: creating new art, in language, in response to these image/objects. Each poet selected a block. Some reacted to the figures depicted, others to the blocks themselves. In either case, they had to respond with materiality, handling and assembling individual words. The book is completely collaborative. We conceived of it together, and the poets revised each other’s initial, digital drafts. Together, they decided on typefaces and a unified layout. They accepted the limitations of space and learned the fundamentals of letterpress composition. When it came time to pick a title for the collection, the group’s choice for the best cover stock delivered the answer: Mohawk 80lb Carnival Persian Blue Vellum. Each poet worked into several nights setting, revising, and printing their poems to meet the deadlines. One evening’s mantra: “Kill us, Dan.” But they didn’t have to print their work in two colors. This book is chaos contained in a unified form. Ultimately, what we present here is a single vision in multiple voices.

Richard Kegler and Dan Rosenberg

 

The origin of the wood engravings is still unknown, but the poems give them a new life.

COLOPHON
This chapbook was created in the spring of 2017 using the
resources of the Wells Book Arts Center. The typefaces
used are Perpetua, designed by Eric Gill and cast at the
Bixler Letterfoundry in 2017, and Obelisk, designed
by Herman Ihlenberg and cast at the Johnson
Type Foundry circa 1881. The illustrations
were printed from wood engravings
from the Father Thomas
Collar collection.

Of the 75 copies, this is No.__

Copies of the book can be ordered at the Wells College Press online shop

 

 

A Discussion / An Action : International Women’s Day + A Day Without Women

Wells College is uniquely situated within the greater scope of early women’s rights history. Regionally, the college is in close proximity to Seneca Falls, NY, site to multiple critical events in the US Suffragette Movement (in particular, the first National Women’s Rights Convention held in 1848 as the Seneca Falls Convention). Culturally, the college is of significance as originally being established as an all-women’s college by Henry Wells. The latter fact of significance because despite going co-ed in 2005, the Wells College population remains predominantly female.

Our students are no strangers to the current political climate. As such, it came as no surprise when one of our work aides at the Center, Alissa Bell (junior, Art History major), announced a few days prior to International Women’s Day that she intended to participate in the Women’s March initiated A Day Without Women, and not work her regularly scheduled hours. She also inquired as to whether or not I would be, and that our other work aide may also not be present.  

The announcement, made in subtle passing, gave me pause.

As both faculty and studio manager to a small and intimate student-body, I make it a primary goal that all of my students think critically about every action within a greater social, political, cultural, and historic context. In response, I drafted an email stating my awareness of ADWW, expressing my concerns with what was at the heart of their decision to participate, as well as articulating my personal history, conflicts, and why I would be working. The email closed with a request :

…if you do decide to not work, to participate, I beg of you to think critically about what your actions mean, beyond just not working (…) to situate your position within a larger body politic. (…) to think about the visibility and inclusivity of this movement compared to other movements overall. I ask that when you do come to work, or see me later, to be prepared to have a discussion with me (…).

Additionally, as a print studio, you have the option to print materials expressing your political statement during work hours—something (the Center) would support and encourage.

The email resonated with Alissa, who decided to participate and generate a printed piece in response.

AlissaBell_SelfCare

Alissa says of her decision:

Originally I had intended to participate in A Day Without Women knowing that it was flawed, hoping it would send a message to the college, hoping that it would help highlight how many women really don’t have the same privileges as I do.

However, it ended up meaning more to her, after unexpectedly having to grapple with this amidst the complexities of a rather difficult situation involving a friend and member of her cohort just days preceding. This situation placed a great deal of additional emotional strain and stress on Alissa (who I will say is a very kind, generous, and empathetic person). After a series of discussions with fellow cohort about her decision participate in ADWW, in conjunction with what she was grappling with on a deeply personal level, she arrived at the following conclusion:

Sometimes the most important, radical, and productive thing that we as activists can do is take a break and take care of ourselves so that we can continue to work and not run ourselves down to the point where we are no longer effective. Self care can indeed be a part of warfare and on Wednesday that’s what I needed.

Alissa later wrote, citing articles from the Feminist Killjoys blog and BitchMedia, as sources for her broadside text, which is a summarization of an Audre Lorde quote, who in her Cancer Journals said:

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.

Alissa’s broadside is simple and elegant, but pointed—true to Alissa’s personal print aesthetic.  

Utility also being at the crux of all printed action, Alissa was tasked to print enough to distribute throughout campus. An edition of 40, she distributed many to personal friends, but also has left some with the student mental health trial club, HOPE; the WRC,“which is, in fact, not the Women’s Resource Center but the Wonderful Resource Center because they were told it felt alienating [as being] just for women”; and has tacked them up around campus.

While a small campus, the statement resonates with a large part of the student body, but also resonates with all of us during these times of great unrest.

Thank you, Alissa, for reminding us of that.

 

A Visit to the Cary Graphic Arts Collection

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Kari Horowicz with students gathering around “Aunt Sallie’s Lament”

On a wet, wintry February day, students from our advanced level book arts course, The Printed Book, made the trek out to visit the Cary Graphic Arts Collection in the Wallace Center at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). As “a library and archive of books, type specimens, manuscripts, documents, and artifacts related to the history of graphical communication (wiki)” this trip was of particular significance for students in this course, which explores the printed book, with an emphasis on the critical action of publication—from fine press to artists’ book to democratic multiple—within the scope of contemporary and historic publishing practices. Basically, anything you could think of wanting to pull for context in the realm of artistic [publishing] and [book] production was at the ready and in mass.

Books, as objects that are and occupy physical space, require interaction in order to understand them. The action of interaction is imperative to its reception, whether it be a journal, a chapbook, or an artists’ book (a term which encapsulates, in some cases, the aforementioned, but expands all the way to and beyond the Fluxus box—one could go down the rabbit hole and talk about digital space, but will digress). However, more often than not, students must often view selections of works that have been photographed, then projected onto a screen, or printed up in a handout, or—worse yet—merely engage with a citation and description. This is not exclusive to books, but all printed matter. This creates an interaction several times removed (amputated, in the case of the latter), void of the crucial action of interaction with the book as space, ultimately resulting in a less successful “read” of the ideas and materials they are expected to be understanding and working with.

As such, in every course at the book arts center, the viewing and handling of actual materials has been imperative before embarking on a new project. This class visit to the Cary Graphic Arts Collection preceded work on their second project: a collaborative artists’ book, wherein students would generate content, design, and produce a letterpress-printed book utilizing expressive typographic methods.

Due to the broad scope of publication methodologies covered throughout the course, the specimens pulled for students ranged from work demonstrative of not only expressive typographic and collaborative productions that spoke to the work they’d be creating, but also to alternative poetic/artistic publications utilizing various production methods. In addition to providing the collection with a list prior to visiting, both Amelia Hugill-Fontanel (Associate Curator, Cary Graphic Arts Collection) and Kari Horowicz (Librarian for the College of Imaging Arts and Sciences) added their own additions—giving the students a dense, rich, and exciting experience over the course of two hours.

Works ranged from: a facsimile of Dada Zeitschriften; multiple works from Imma Gerlovina and Valeriy Gerlovin’s Collective Farm project; George Brecht’s Water-Yam; a facsimile, translation, and original copy of Vladimir Mayakovsky and El Lissitzky’s For the Voice; Fortunato Depero’s Depero Futurista;—to—Barbara Kruger’s No Pleasure in Progress; Dieter Roth’s Picadilly Postcards; Margaret Kaufman and Claire Van Vliet’s Aunt Sallie’s Lament—to—Bern Porter’s The Manhattan Telephone Book, and multiple works from Wedge Press and Assembling.

(One funny aside was the copy of Ed Ruscha’s Twenty-Six Gasoline Stations, which had actually been in general circulation at the library, and rebound for durability over the years. It’s safe to say Ruscha probably would not have been unhappy with this (what now would be considered) clerical error of putting a work of “art” into mass circulation, and subsequently giving it greater accessibility for a period of time.)

 

It is without question that the resultant collaborative book this class produced (The Grid. Walked.) was more successful having subsidized their readings with this materially informed visit.

 

2017 Poetry Chapbook Contest Winner Announced

Wells College Press is very pleased to announce that the Winner of its 2017 Chapbook Contest is Annie Lighthart for her manuscript, Lantern. Her prize includes 20 copies of the letterpress-printed chapbook. She will also read at Wells College in Aurora, NY and receive a $500 honorarium plus room and board. In the tradition of the Wells College Press, her chapbook will be crafted obsessively, with hand-set title pages and hand-sewn bindings. It will be published in an edition of 150 signed and numbered copies.

This year’s finalists are:
Lyrebird Keeps the Peace by Kelli Allen
Creating a Chain Reacting by Declan Gould
The Hatchet and the Hammer by Caitlin Scarano

There were approximately 160 entries to this year’s competition, and, according to the judges, “There were a large number of excellent manuscripts, and the general level of the submissions was quite high.” Ultimately, Lantern stood out. One judge noted that these are “among the best poems I have read in a very long time. They’re quietly, consistently, always exactly right, and always moving.” Another judge described the poems as “surprising and vulnerable, but also wise.” We are thrilled to be publishing this outstanding collection of poems.

lighthart%2c%20photo

Annie Lighthart earned an MFA in Poetry from Vermont College of Fine Arts and has taught at Boston College, with Mountain Writers and Soapstone, as a poet in the schools, and with community groups of all ages. Iron String, Annie’s first book of poetry, was published by Airlie Press in 2013. Her poetry has been read by Garrison Keillor on The Writer’s Almanac, chosen by Naomi Shihab Nye for inclusion in the Poems for Patience project at Galway University Hospitals in Ireland, and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Her poem “The Hundred Names of Love” was included in the Poems in the Waiting Room series in New Zealand and placed in 7000+ hospitals, hospices, nursing homes, medical offices, and prisons. Annie currently teaches poetry workshops with Portland’s Mountain Writers, Soapstone, and through Road Scholar programs. Her poems have been translated into Portuguese, Spanish, and Chinese and have traveled farther than she has.

Registration for Book Arts Summer 2017

wellssi2017header

Wells Book Arts Summer Institute is ready to roll in 2017 with 10 great courses to choose from.  This year we have a solid line-up with a wide range of techniques to learn: from Stone Lithography and Lettercarving in Stone to Digital Type Design and Letterpress Fundamentals—there is something for every skill level in the book and lettering arts from some of the most renown practitioners in their fields. Staying on campus with meals and accommodations is a great way to immerse yourself in new skills and relax in the gorgeous Finger Lakes during the summer.

Week 1 — July 9–15
Michael & Winnie Bixler – Typecasting and Monotype Composition
Samuel Feinstein – Hand Tooling with Gold Leaf & Foil
Lorrie Frear – Italic Intensive for Beginning Calligraphers
Jesse Marsolais – Introduction to Lettercarving in Stone
Sara Sauers – Letterpress Fundamentals on the Vandercook

Week 2 — July 16–22
Nancy Sharon Collins  –  Book Arts Entrepreneurship
James Grieshaber  –  Digital Type Making with FontLab
Jennifer Scheuer  –  Stone Lithography
April Sheridan – The Technology of the Broadside
Barb Tetenbaum – Hybrid Structures for Hybrid Voices

Visit our Web info page for more details on the courses and the instructors.
or
Download the 2017 Summer Institute PDF

Christmas in Aurora (& at Wells)

holidaysale2016

Stop by Morgan Hall on Wells Campus in beautiful Aurora-On-Cayuga, NY 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 hand printed and blank books, letterpress greeting cards, limited edition posters, signed poetry broadsides, and even the new Wells Book Arts Baseball Caps!
The Wells Book Arts Holiday Printing Workshop & Sale is part of the Christmas in Aurora event that runs 4-9 PM throughout downtown Aurora. For more information on Christmas in Aurora, visit http://visitaurorany.com/cia.htm

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