About wellsbookartscenter

The Wells College Book Arts Center, established in 1993, provides a broad learning opportunity for Wells students and the Aurora community in the arts and crafts of the book.

Open Studio Printing Event— PRINT YOUR VOICE!

Vote.jpgWednesday October 10th, 2018 2pm-5pm

1st Floor of the Wells Book Arts Center (Morgan Hall)

Come by the Wells Book Arts Center for a poster-printing event and make your own poster to promote civic engagement! Print one of our pre-formatted posters, or set your own message in type and customize your voice.

Register to vote! The last day to register in New York is October 12, in order to participate in the General Election on November 6, 2018.

This event is part of the Wells Democracy & Leadership Series, co-sponsored by the Political Science program, Sullivan Center for Business and Entrepreneurship and the Office of Student Activities and Leadership. This series brings students together with local, regional, national and international leaders to learn about their leadership path, examine the characteristics of successful leaders and share ways to take a leadership role in our democracy.

WBAC@25

The show celebrates both the Book Arts Center’s 25th anniversary and the College’s 150th anniversary

The Wells College Book Arts Center and String Room Gallery are pleased to announce the opening of  WBAC@25: An Exhibition of Book Arts from Victor Hammer Fellows.

The opening reception will be held Thursday, October 18th, 6:30 – 8:30pm, in the String Room Gallery in the College’s Main Building. Admission is free and open to the public.

The show, which will celebrate both the 25th anniversary of the Book Arts Center and Wells College’s 150th anniversary, will showcase the work of 11 artists who have held the position of “Victor Hammer Fellowship” and features artwork completed during their fellowship as well as more recent work.

Artists included in the show: Jocelynn Webb Pederson, Terrence Chouinard, Sarah Roberts, Margot Ecke, Rachel Wiecking, Sarah Bryant, Katie Baldwin, Laura Rowley, Jenna Rodriguez, Heather R. Buechler, and Leah Mackin.

The work presented features a wide scope of techniques and media ranging from traditional bookbinding, letterpress printing, and calligraphy to experimental forms which incorporate video and sculptural elements but all related to the field of “Book Arts.” Each of the artists who has been a Victor Hammer Fellow has continued in their creative careers building off of their time at Wells. This is the first time that this group has been assembled for exhibition.

Exhibit will run through November 30th, 2018

Wells Book Arts Summer Institute – Last Call!

sipostcardThe Wells Book Arts Summer Institute for 2018 will be our biggest year yet!—there is something for every skill level in the book and lettering arts from some of the most renowned practitioners in their fields.

A few spots have opened up so there is still space in 10 of our 12 classes! —Papermaking, printing, writing, marbling, calligraphy, book design!— All of the things that make the book into a work of art!
Classes run July 15-21st and/or July 22-28th

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. For more information, visit our info page. Register soon as space is limited and we will be cutting off registrations as of July 1.

Introducing: The 11th Victor Hammer Fellow

The Wells Book Arts Center is pleased to announce the selection of our 11th Victor Hammer Fellow: Leah Mackin. The Victor Hammer Fellowship was established in 1998 and honors Victor Hammer, who taught at Wells in the 1940’s. An internationally known and respected printer, book designer, artist and typographer, Hammer is perhaps best known for designing the  typeface American Uncial. The two-year Hammer Fellowship brings emerging book artists to Wells to teach, help in the various projects of the Book Arts Center, and develop their art.

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Leah Mackin is a visual artist who explores themes of reflection, response, and re-creation. After years preserving archival materials as a conservation technician, Mackin utilizes the methods of library documentation and the aesthetics of research in her practice. She has received a number of awards, scholarships and honors, including an Archives Research Travel Fund grant from the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation (New York, NY), both a Fall Residency Award and a LeRoy Neiman Scholarship to attend the Ox-Bow School of Art and Artists’ Residency (Saugatuck, MI), an Artist’s Book Residency Grant at the Women’s Studio Workshop (Rosendale, NY), and a solo show award as a Finalist in the The Print Center’s 90th Annual Competition (Philadelphia, PA). Mackin holds an MFA in Studio Art from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and a BFA in Printmaking and Book Arts from The University of the Arts.

Bret Shepard—2018 Chapbook Contest Winner

Bret Shepard PhotoWells College Press is very pleased to announce that the winner of our 2018 Chapbook Contest is Bret Shepard for his manuscript, Compass for Hands. His prize includes 15 copies of the letterpress-printed chapbook. He will also read at Wells College in Aurora, NY and receive a $1,000 honorarium plus room and board. In the tradition of the Wells College Press, his 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.

After living in Alaska and California, Bret Shepard completed his PhD at the University of Nebraska. Currently, he lives in Tacoma, Washington and teaches at Green River College. Recent poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Boston Review, Colorado Review, Crazyhorse, Western Humanities Review, and elsewhere. He co-edits Dikembe Press, publisher of poetry chapbooks.

This year’s finalists are:
Permit the Sculptural Values to Surface by Christine Scanlon
Exhausted by the Rest by Max Schleicher
Umbra Season by William Cordiero
Back to the Deepening Well by Kim Lozano
The Improper Use of Plates by Angelo Maneage

This year’s semifinialists are:
Arguments for the Pit by Christopher Adamson
Other Gods by Regina O’Melveny
Ways to Identify a Witch by Hannah Warren
Heartbroke and Lucky by Jane Terrell
Honey and Ash by Aimee Penna

This year also marks the inaugural Bennett Prize, given to a single outstanding poem from among the finalist manuscripts. The winner is “Praise the Bird” by Kim Lozano, which will appear in a limited-edition broadside in Fall 2018. This prize is named in honor of Bruce Bennett, Professor Emeritus of English and former Director of the Book Arts Center at Wells College.

There were approximately 375 entries to this year’s chapbook competition, and the readers and final judge were all overwhelmed by the tremendous quality of the submissions. Ultimately, Bret Shepard’s Compass for Hands stood out. One reader responded by calling it “a remarkable collection. Haunting, evocative, mysterious, and authoritative.” The contest judge, Dan Rosenberg, agreed, describing the poems as “taut, rich, surprisingly clear, and riddled with wisdom—or a longing for it.” We are thrilled to be publishing this outstanding collection of poems.

W+W = HR

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Wells College Presents Solo Exhibition by Victor Hammer Book Arts Fellow H.R. Buechler

The Wells College String Room Gallery is pleased to present W+W / Wires + Waves, a solo exhibition by interdisciplinary artist and Victor Hammer Book Arts Fellow H.R. Buechler.  The Gallery invites all to join the artist for an opening reception on Thursday, March 22 from 6:00-8:00pm. She will publicly discuss her work when presenting the 45th Annual Susan Garretson Swartzburg 60’ Memorial Book Arts Lecture on April 19th at 5:30pm in the College’s Stratton Hall, Room 209. The exhibition will remain on view until April 26.

The exhibition and lecture mark the culmination of Buechler’s two-year fellowship with the Wells College Book Arts Center, during which time she taught throughout the Book Arts curriculum, hosted visiting artist Marianne Dages, and maintained a productive creative practice. The Victor Hammer Fellowship was established in 1998 to bring emerging book artists to the Wells Book Arts Center for a two-year teaching and production residency.

W+W / Wires + Waves is a multimedia exhibition featuring a collection of recent works created between 2016-2018. Included are “Session 1 & 2” from Buechler’s on-going durational video performance series, a 26-foot long modular letterpress installation, two large letterpress and inkjet-printed pieces that will undergo transformation over the duration of the exhibition, and an immersive installation of audio, artist’s book, and textiles produced in collaboration with artist Erica Hess. As part of her exhibition and in testament to her role as an educator, Buechler will later add a video collaboratively produced by the students currently enrolled in her “Collaborative Book” class.

Through this range of reproductive media, understood as acts of translation, Buechler addresses a variety of concerns regarding our relationship with historic and contemporary communication systems, the dis/functionality of language, and loss as both an ephemeral and material phenomenon. Each piece in W+W explores what is lost and gained in the intellectual and physical processes of translation, and attempts to quantify—materialize—the gap/the space/the void between each medial transaction by exposing translational errors. These errors, which Buechler reads as “miscommunication”—information lost, but also gained—augments the final message materialized in the works throughout the exhibition.

First Reader – New Chapbook Release from Wells College Press

The latest release from Wells College Press is now available on our online shop

First Reader (An Homage to David Berman)
by Bruce Bennett
2017. 6″ x 9″ hand stitched paper wraps.
100 copies signed by the author and numbered
Each copy features a unique marbled paper by Nancy Gil who also hand set and printed the entire book on a Vandercook Proofing press.

First Reader chronicles one side of a decades-long shared friendship in poetry. David Berman and Bruce Bennett met in Archibald MacLeish’s legendary creative writing course English S at Harvard in the Fall of 1961, and were the first readers of each other’s poems until David passed away in June, 2017. Bruce has written of David and his work: “He was an exquisite and prolific formal poet, and an exacting critic, who was always in my mind when I wrote. He was also, always, a most loyal and generous friend.”

Here are some things that stood out for me about David. He read Latin for pleasure. With regard to certain areas of knowledge, he was among the most intellectually curious people I have known. His appetite for information, including arcane information, was insatiable. He was a gourmet and a connoisseur of wine and, perhaps especially, champagne, so one was indeed fortunate to share a meal with him – and “indeed” was among his favorite words. (“Memorable” was another, and was often applied to meals.) He knew the Bible, both Old and New Testament, practically by heart, and often mulled, discoursed on, and wrote about Biblical themes. If I had a question, any question at all, relating to religion or the Bible, I knew I could rely on David to answer it, and in considerable, and quite specific, detail.

He was an exquisite, and prolific, formal poet, who wrote poetry all his life, and was blessed to find his community, and indeed his spiritual and artistic home, among his fellow Powow River Poets, a distinguished group which meets monthly in Newburyport, Massachusetts. He was an exacting critic, who took the vocation of being a critic very seriously, and who was therefore, as a critic, knowledgeable, sharp, utterly discerning, and invariably just. (Which isn’t to say I always agreed with him, but that did not matter in the least. One doesn’t need to agree with a First Reader. One just needs to take another very close look.) He possessed, and reveled in exhibiting, an extraordinary, one could almost say Borgesian, memory, frequently dazzling others with instant recall of abstruse historical and other facts, dates, and, of course, details of the law, which was one gift that made him a world-class lawyer.

David was an extraordinarily private and reserved person. One always knew, or sensed, the boundaries, yet, when he was particularly amused by something, he would occasionally laugh uncontrollably, a laughing fit which was, needless to say, infectious to whomever he was sharing the joke with. Though I knew him for more than fifty-six years, in many ways he remained something of an enigma to me, but at all times a unique and precious enigma. Though I didn’t see him nearly as often as I would have liked to, and should have, during the last several years, he was constantly in my mind, — and always in my mind when I wrote, — as an abiding and cherished presence.

Finally, and I can say this simply, he was a most loyal and generous friend.

—Bruce Bennett 2017