A Visit to the Cary Graphic Arts Collection


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.


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


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.
Download the 2017 Summer Institute PDF

Christmas in Aurora (& at Wells)


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


Chapbook Contest Winner Reading – Wells College Press


JR Tappenden’s award-winning chapbook is now ready for release, and she’ll be reading Thursday, October 6, at 7pm in the AER room in Macmillan Hall, Wells College.
Come learn about the contest and the process of turning a manuscript into a beautiful chapbook. And hear Tappenden read the beautiful  poems that won her this national prize!
Refreshments will be served, and the chapbook will be available at a discount.
This event is Free and open to all.
Here you can find two poems from this collection and hear the author read them herself: https://sweetlit.wordpress.com/issue-8-3/poet-j-r-tappenden/  And remember, as we approach winter: “Don’t be fooled by the light / in the spring leaves; their color will be red again / soon.”

Peace Paper at Wells

Peace Paper Project Workshop: Global Papermaking and Social Justice

Peace Paper returns to Wells College for a week-long series of workshops and lectures on the history of papermaking and the role of Peace Paper Project in the renaissance of global papermaking.38
Since the invention of paper by the Chinese two thousand years ago, papermaking has traversed the globe, with each culture adapting it’s different fibers, tools and techniques. The 19th-century industrialization of papermaking processes pulping trees, almost completely eradicated the varied and unique processes that existed across the globe. The 21rst-century marks a new era for papermaking: the portable, pedal powered papermaking studio.

Peace Paper Project has used the new portable model to help bring traditional and contemporary practices back to communities, specifically designing community-based papermaking studios that use the paper arts for healing and community empowerment. Since 2011, Peace Peace has helped launch 33 studios across the globe; in Australia, India, Turkey, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, Spain, UK and throughout the USA.

Peace Paper Project returns from it’s latest international tour, establishing studios in Ukraine for soldiers with Post Traumatic Stress and Germany for Syrian immigrants. The team will demonstrate a variety of traditional papermaking practices around the world, while discussing cultural, economic and environmental reasons for the different practices.

Students are invited to make paper as it was made; from its Chinese inception from hemp netting and mulberry bark; as it traveled east to Japan using mulberry bark; in the Nepalese tradition using Daphne fiber, the Islamic tradition using linen and hemp rags, the European and early America tradition using cotton rags

In-between hands-on demonstrations of paper-making outside of Morgan Hall , daily lectures will be presented on the history of papermaking and the role of Peace Paper Project in the renaissance of global papermaking. Specifically Drew & Jana will discuss the use of the portable paper studio in developing programs: for orphans in Turkey, ex-combatants and survivors of the sex trade in Ukraine,survivors of Soviet occupation in Poland and Syrian refugees in Germany.

Monday, Sept 5: 10– 4pm
Papermaking Studio: Demonstrating the earliest papermaking recipe: hemp netting and mulberry bark. Demonstrating hand beating fiber, pouring sheets of paper and the flexible mould.
1 pm lecture (Zabriskie Hall):
The invention of papermaking

Tuesday, Sept 6: 10 – 4pm
Papermaking Studio: Papermaking travels East: Demonstrating Japanse Papermaking. Using Gampi & Kozo fibers in the eastern tradition.
1 pm lecture (Zabriskie Hall): Papermaking follows religion east

Wednesday, Sept 7: 10 – 4pm
Papermaking Studio: Traditional Islamic Papermaking (hemp & linen rags on laid mould, spur dried, external sized and hand burnished)
1 pm lecture (Zabriskie Hall): Paper in the Islamic world

Thursday, Sept 8: 10 – 4pm
Papermaking Studio: European & Early American Papermaking. Cotton, linen rags, internal sizing, restraint drier.|
1 pm lecture (Zabriskie Hall): The Guttenburg Press, western papermaking and the Hollander beater.

Friday, Sept 9: 10 – 4pm:
Papermaking Studio: Peace Paper Project and 21st Century Papermaking; students are invited to use the pedal powered hollander beater and pulp printing techniques to make personal paper art from underwear, military uniforms, flags, currencies, refugee clothing and Wells College.
1 pm lecture (Zabriskie Hall): The Peace Paper Project and Global Papermaking

About Peace Paper: Peace Paper Project utilizes traditional hand papermaking as a means of engaging communities in art practices which bring people together, broadcast their stories, and transform their fibers into meaningful art pieces. The project operates everywhere from private workshops to public demonstrations in order to perpetuate the art of hand papermaking while adapting to the needs of each specific community. Peace Paper merges its skill set of papermaking, bookbinding, printmaking, and creative writing with the unique practices and concepts of host communities as a way of empowering our collaboration.The project is based out of art studios, universities, and civic centers across the globe. Peace Paper utilizes local creative resources as a means of building connections between participants and their communities. These connections promote sustained artistic expression as well as an enduring sense of personal power for the individuals we work with. FOR MORE INFORMATION: http://www.peacepaperproject.org

About the Peace Paper Facilitators:
About Drew Matott:
Drew Matott is a Master Papermaker with an expertise using traditional papermaking as a form of trauma therapy, social engagement, and community activism. He directs the vision and strategy of Peace Paper Project across the globe.
About Jana Schumacher:
Jana Schumacher graduated from Hamburg University of Applied Sciences and is a fine artist based out of Hamburg, Germany. She joined the Peace Paper team in 2016 and directs St. Pauli Paper, where she uses papermaking in her own work, as well as conducts workshops for artists and different healing populations, with a special focus on developing programs for Syrian immigrants.

The New Victor Hammer Fellow

Well College and Wells Book Arts Center are very pleased to announce our 10th Victor Hammer Fellow: Heather R. Buechler.

Heather R. Buechler is an interdisciplinary artist and researcher. She is a 2015 and 2016 Windgate Resident for the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum, the 2014 artist-in-residence for theTRANSIT outbound program, a recipient of the 2013 Caxton Club Grant, and former Print Production Fellow for the Journal of Artists Books (JAB). Her work can be found in numerous collections in the US and internationally, including the Yale University Library, Centre Pompidou of Paris, France, and the University of Regina Library in Regina, SK, Canada. Her research, which looks at the history of production and distribution of textile and paper sacks used in agricultural shipping, has been published in the Ephemera Journal of the Ephemera Society of America. She holds an M.F.A. in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts from Columbia College Chicago, and a B.F.A. from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

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 medieval-looking typeface American Uncial. The two-year Hammer Fellowship brings emerging book artists to Wells to teach, help in the various printing projects of the Book Arts Center, and develop their art.

We are happy to welcome Ms. Buechler to Wells, where she will teach Hand Bookbinding, and a variety of book arts and letterpress courses.