Book Arts Holiday Sale

The holiday season is right around the corner, and what better way to celebrate than with handmade prints and books!? Our students have been working diligently throughout the semester to prepare gifts for those on your list.


On December 6th and 7th we will host a holiday sale and card-printing workshop in Morgan Hall! The events will be held from 1-5 pm on both days. The cost is $10 to print 6 cards, and we will have a variety of designs set in the presses, ready to print.


Here are some of the cards from our collection. They are for sale in Morgan Hall Monday-Friday, 9-5 pm, and will be available at the workshop!

Nicolas Barker at Wells College

Nicolas Barker visited Wells College last Thursday where he visited the Book Arts Center and gave a brilliant talk to the community. The lecture was attended by book arts board members, faculty, students, and friends. Barker discussed his connection to Printing and the Mind of Man, a book that was published in 1967 and based on an exhibition of books at the British Museum. The books chosen were based on an intellectual contribution through fine printing. Stanley Morison, John Carter, and Percy H. Muir were three very important figures in curating the exhibition and producing the catalogue.  We walked away with a deeper understanding of curatorial work and collaboration in relation to the production of fine press books.


Nicolas Barker at the Bixler Press & Letterfoundry; photo taken by Winnie Bixler

The following day, Barker made a trip to Skaneateles to visit Michael and Winnie Bixler at their letterfoundry. Michael and Winnie showed Barker their collection of beautiful molds for casting metal type as well as their current book projects. All of the Bixlers’ type specimens of type can be viewed here at the their website.

We thank Nicolas Barker for making his journey to Wells, and all those who made the event possible. We will be sharing a video of his talk soon if you missed it!

Holiday Card Workshop at Wells







Our annual Holiday Card Workshop is approaching! The event will be held on the 6th and 7th of December, both days from 1-5 pm. The cost is $10.00 and will be hosted by faculty and students in the Book Arts Center.

Participants will letterpress print 6 holiday-themed cards on our Vandercook presses. We will have cookies, hot chocolate, and holiday music for a festive atmosphere! We will also hold a holiday sale including blank books, prints, and additional cards.


We’d love for you to join us in Morgan Hall on the first floor. Please indicate your interest or any questions by sending a contact form below.

Victor Hammer Fellowship Search Open

Wells College and the Wells Book Arts Center announce a search for the next Victor Hammer Fellow in the Book Arts.

"Are you the next Fellow?"  asks Saint George

“Are you the next Fellow?” asks Saint George

The success­ful candidate will hold the position for two years, fall 2014 through summer 2016, teaching two courses each semester, one of which will be Hand Bookbinding I. The fellowship includes an apprenticeship at the Press and Letterfoundry of Michael and Winifred Bixler in nearby Skaneateles. All 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 recommenda­tions. 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 January 15, 2014, and are to be submitted electronically via an email to with Victor Hammer Fellow noted in the subject line. No phone calls please.

Open House a Success!


Last Saturday we opened up Morgan Hall for the Wells community to print greeting cards on our presses. Music filled the air, as did the scent of apples and cinnamon. It was the most wonderful day in the print shop!

I miss your face with fun wood type

I miss your face with fun wood type

Here are some of the cards and matrices that we printed from.



_DSC0129Since Odd/Even Season was approaching, we set up some spirited cards as well! These cards are lyrics sung by odds and evens during the sing off and basketball game at Wells. The odd team even put on a special performance in the type shop! You ladies rock! Here is some more information about odd/even and other Wells traditions on the Wells website



We will be hosting more printing and book arts events later on in the semester, so if you missed this one, do not worry!

Chapbook Competition Open!

The Wells College Press has announced a nation-wide competition for the second chapbook in the series, to be printed in the spring of 2014. Hard copy submissions of up to 30 pages of poems featuring place, along with a $25 entry fee, may be submitted to

The Wells College Press
Wells Book Arts Center
170 Main Street
Aurora, New York 13026.

The deadline for submission is November 30, 2013. Authors who want their manuscripts returned must include a self-addressed stamped envelope with sufficient postage.

The winner, to be announced in January 2014, will receive, in addition to 25 copies of the letterpress-printed and hand-bound book, an invitation to read in the Wells College Visiting Writers Series during the Spring semester of 2014.

Check the page entitled Wells College Press  to see last year’s book and to download a PDF of the call for entry.

Nicolas Barker to Present at Wells!

_DSC0334The Book Arts Center presents the 36th Susan Garretson Swartburg Lecture on October 10, 2013 at 5:00 pm.

We are honored to have Nicolas Barker, renowned as the editor of the journal, The Book Collector as well as the most recent editions of John Carter’s ABC for Book Collectors as our guest speaker for the evening. His talk is titled Printing and the Mind of Man: Fifty Years On.

The event will take place in Stratton Hall (new building for sciences) in the auditorium.

It is free and open to the public.
We hope to see you there!

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Feel free to contact us with any questions.

Summer Institute 2014

Hello Book Arts friends!

Here at the Book Arts Center, we are pleased to announce the date for the Summer Institute of 2014! Classes will run from July 6-12 and July 13-19. We are currently preparing our exciting list of instructors and courses now, so be looking out for a post soon!

We will also be accepting applications for internships taking place during the Institute. Anyone with an passion for book arts and a strong work ethic is encouraged to apply!

Hope to see you here next summer!

I Miss Your Face

Last Thursday, the semester kicked off with a strong start at Wells College. There was singing around the Sycamore, lighting candles outside Macmillan, and a general sense of excitement with students screaming when they saw each other after the long summer break.

The Book Arts Center was bustling with organizing fresh supplies, cleaning, and finishing the greenhouse. Thanks so much to the efforts of Amanda Kelly and crew who worked so hard in the sun! Click here to see the story!

The courses being offered this fall include Letterpress Printing with Michael Bixler, Calligraphy with Barbara Galli, Bookbinding I, and Art on the Press with Laura Rowley.

In a few weeks, we will host our first event at Morgan: card printing on Vandercook presses! It is free for all to join on Saturday, September 21 any time from 1-6 p.m. Participants will print various greeting cards from metal and wood type, and metal cuts from the Wells collection. It is sure to be a fun and productive day, so bring a friend along! Send any questions to

The flyers were letterpress printed and feature phrases that will be used in the workshop.

Summer Institute: Tricia Treacy

In July, Tricia Treacy will be teaching at the Summer Institute at the Wells Book Arts Center. The course titled Working with the Iron Press: Experimental Analogue and Digital Typography offers participants the opportunity to work with wood type in a new way. This is Tricia’s first time at Wells College and we are thrilled to have her! Who better than someone who works in an interdisciplinary way to teach students how to use Victor Hammer’s very own iron hand press? Although an iron press conjures up thoughts of the old, this is a contemporary course that blends the analogue with the digital. Workshop participants are encouraged to experiment as well as break all the rules!

In this interview, Katie Baldwin (KB) talks to Tricia Treacy (TT) about her studio practice and the workshop she will be teaching this summer.


(KB) I know you just finished a huge project with Ashley John Pigford called the Vista Sans Wood Type Project. It seems to be very relevant conceptually to the course you are teaching at the Summer Institute. Update me on the status of that project—and what general thoughts do you have about it, now that the portfolio is finished and the book is published.

(TT) The Vista Sans Wood Type Project (VSWTP) book is currently at the printer and due out for release May 15 in conjunction with TYPO Berlin in Germany. The book, which was designed and self-published with Ashley John Pigford, was made possible with crowd-source fundraising via Kickstarter in February. The small run (600-700 copies) designer-series art book contains 130 pages about the creative process of VSWTP, all 21 artists/designers/studios that participated in the collaboration, and contributor essays from professionals in the field. The conceptual idea for the entire project, using the wood type letters that spell “touch” with post-digital technology, also drives the book production which reflects that process using a combination of offset printing, letterpress, and hand-sewing.

The entire two-year project has been a true labor of love. It was a ton of work, but we are both extremely proud of the outcome, particularly how the book will showcase the process of artists working with experimental and contemporary letterpress. We are also SUPER appreciative of how the letterpress, type and design communities supported the project. That was extremely humbling. We launched a website at the start of the project, which documents the process and successes of the project. Soon, we will be uploading process images of the book and where people can purchase it.


(KB) Now that Vista Sans is done, how are you spending your time in the studio?

(TT) Well, to be totally honest, I am still working on the VSWTP book during all waking hours. In my studio, we are currently letterpress printing the front and back covers for the book, and next week we will be hand-sewing each edition.

Believe it or not, I am also trying to finish up a few other projects including a recent artist book called falter that was launched in February for Codex 2013. The books are being sewn in the studio, and John DeMerritt Bookbinding in CA will be completing the edition binding for me.


(TT) And I have several other projects currently brewing (mostly collaborative in nature), but they are all in the brainstorming phase, so it’s too early to identify their direction.

(KB) I am really excited that you will be teaching a workshop that uses Victor Hammer’s actual iron hand press. What drew you to creating a course that uses his press?


(TT) I first learned to print on the hand press with Peter Kruty in his Brooklyn studio back in 1999 while I was in graduate school. We never completed the printing, but I sure had a great time on the press with Peter, trying to fine-tune things. I learned a lot about the details involved in traditional printing on the hand press. I am proud to say I learned the traditional method first. Since then, while teaching at Common Press (University of Pennsylvania,) we have a hand press that gets used more so as a proofing and experimental tool. When I first started teaching there in 2009, Matt Neff, fellow faculty member and printmaker, who runs the press, blew my mind when he told me that he printed a T-shirt on the press. Since then, it has been the favorite tool in my classroom to use in an experimental way with fast results. Students get impatient waiting for results with letterpress and I love having them print on the hand press on the first day in an experimental way. It often becomes the press of choice for my students, and they don’t feel as limited as they do on the Vandercook press.

(KB) I am very interested that you will be blending this old technology with new technology. Can you tell me a little bit about what people will be doing in your course: Working with the Iron Press: Experimental Analog and Digital Typography?

(TT) This course is something that I have been mulling over for some time, and I am really excited to get a chance to teach it at Wells. I plan to introduce the hand press to students as a tool to play with a fabulous wood type collection and think about type in new ways, including overprinting, pressure printing, and possibly bringing the computer into the scenario. Students will bring their own interests and skills to the course and I will help guide them to use typography to tell a conceptual story. Students will work both collaboratively and individually, and we will make a book or series of books that can be exchanged.



(KB) What do you hope SI students will take away from your course?

(TT) A love for the hand press and a new perspective on typography. Many students are scared by the hand press, and I want them to realize how accessible it can be for experimental work.

(KB) Pretend I am handing you a crystal ball. As you peer into it, what is the future of printmaking, book arts, and design?

(TT) A world where they all overlap and a new definition of the combination emerges. . .

(KB) This is your first time at the Wells College Book Arts Center—based on all the rumors you’ve heard, what are you looking forward to the most?

(TT) Great conversations and ice cream treats!

(KB) This last question is actually from Sarah Bryant: How would you approach cracking open a safe?

(TT) Very carefully and with my finest bookbinding awl and chisel.

Tricia Treacy is an interdisciplinary artist who has been running her own letterpress design studio, Pointed Press Studio—a nexus for collaboration and creativity in the design/typography/printmaking areas—in Swarthmore, PA, since 2000. Collaboration and experimentation compose a large part of her creative studio practice. She was a co-initiator and collaborator of the recent international, vista sans wood type project. Tricia has taught book arts, digital photography, graphic design, letterpress and typography courses at the Rutgers University, the University of the Arts, the University of Delaware, and University of Pennsylvania School of Design. She exhibits internationally, and her artists’ books are in major collections throughout the country and abroad.