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.

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

Victor Hammer Fellowship Position Call for Applicants

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The Wells Book Arts Center is pleased to accept applications for the eleventh Victor Hammer Fellowship in the Book Arts.

The fellowship is named for Victor Hammer, an Austrian printer, book designer, typographer and portrait artist, who fled Nazi Europe to come to Wells College in 1939. The Hammer Fellowship is a two-year book artist-in-residence program that was founded in 1998 designed to help emerging book artists establish their name in the field. The Hammer Fellow’s expertise and various activities enhance the educational mission of the Book Arts Center and Wells College and increase awareness of the book arts as a field of study and practice both at Wells and in the community at large.

The Book Arts Center teaches introductory courses in letterpress printing, hand bookbinding, calligraphy, and various upper-level courses in binding and printing. In addition to courses taught in the academic year, the Book Arts Center offers two week-long series of workshops in the summer at Wells College.

The successful candidate for the Victor Hammer Fellowship in the Book Arts will hold the position for two years, fall 2018 through summer 2020. The position includes teaching two courses each semester, one of which will be Intro to Letterpress or Intro to Bookbinding. Duties include production of work for Wells College Press, maintenance of Printing, Bindery and Papermaking studios and assisting the director. The fellowship includes an apprenticeship at the Press and Letterfoundry of Michael and Winifred Bixler in nearby Skaneateles and producing an independent body of work.

Applicants must have extensive experience in binding and letterpress printing, experience teaching, and a MFA in Book Arts or a certificate in a related field. Applications should include a CV, 15 digital images of the candidate’s own work, 7 digital images of the candidate’s students’ work, a statement of teaching philosophy, and three letters of recommendation. Since the Fellow will assist in the design and production of poetry broadsides for the Creative Writing Program, as well as announcement posters for book arts events, images of any such work would be helpful to the search committee. Applications are due by March 30, 2018, and are to be submitted electronically via the Wells College employment page, http://www.wells.edu/employment . Wells College actively seeks to diversify faculty and encourages candidates to apply who can further expand the program through multicultural approaches and is an equal opportunity employer. No phone calls please.

 

 

Questions may be addressed to bookartscenter [at] wells.edu

Wells Book Arts Summer Institute 2018

WellsSIlogoSunset

Time to start thinking about basking in the warm sun and making things with your hands. July 15–28, 2018…come to Aurora, NY!

Each July, Wells Book Arts Center hosts the Wells Book Arts Summer Institute. This year is bigger than ever with 6 courses to choose from for each of the 2 weeks. Join our all-star line-up of instructors and learn new techniques or hone existing skills in a variety or paper, printing, and textual arts.

Each week is filled with intensive, hands-on instruction and practice, but there is also time to relax and enjoy the spectacular sunsets over Cayuga Lake or swim or take things at your own pace. Of course there are people who want to work on their projects late into the evening, and we encourage that too!

Visit our Summer Institute webpage for full course descriptions and options

Week 1 – July 15-21, 2018
• Michael & Winifred Bixler (Bixler Letterfoundry)
Type Casting and Monotype Composition

• Peter Fraterdeus (Peter Fraterdeus)
West Meets East — Energy, Expression and “Emptiness” in Calligraphy

• Ron Gordon (Oliphant Press)
The Anatomy of Book Design

• Amos Kennedy (Kennedy Prints)
Letterpress Posters with Big Wood Type

• Scott McCarney (Scott McCarney VisualBooks)
Hybrid Textual/Visual Books

• Danielle Myers (Petrichor Paper)
Papermaking with Local Plants

Week 2 – July 22-28, 2018
• Aimee Lee (Aimee Lee)
Make Hanji: The World of Korean Papermaking

• Bruce Licher (Independent Project Press)
Philatelic Letterpress: The Art of The Hand-Crafted Stamp

• Steve Pittelkow
Marbling on Paper and Cloth

• Marnie Powers-Torrey (U Utah) & Amelia Hugill-Fontanel (RIT Cary Collection)
The Iron Hand Press & Finer Points of Impression

• Jenna Rodriguez (Jenna Rodriguez)
Extreme Bookbinding! 

• Dan Rosenberg (Wells College – Dan Rosenberg)
Writing Beside the Press: A Poetry Workshop

 

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