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Monday, November 22, 2010

A writer in New York: Printing and Pressing in the Big Apple

by Camille
As a writer and an aspiring book artist, I had a great opportunity to participate in the Letterpress Printing & Fine Press Publishing Seminar at The Center For Book Arts in New York in November. After submitting a portfolio of my writing, I was invited, along with seven other writers, to spend a week letterpressing and printing in the Chelsea District of New York City. For five days, I had the opportunity to meet with writers from a range of diverse backgrounds--writers teaching in art programs for youth to recent graduates from some of the top MFA writing programs in the country--who shared their insights and experiences from different cultural and social perspectives.

Taught by poet and master printer, Barbara Henry, we spent the week learning about the history of printing, handsetting our pieces of writing, and printing them as a part of a limited edition collection. We heard lectures from professionals in the field--printers, fine press publishers, book artists, and dealers--to get a practical overview of letterpress printing and fine press publishing. This included visits from book artist Sarah McDermott of The Kidney Press and editor Emily Brandt of the Brooklyn-based publication, No, Dear. This experience was invaluable, as I am currently publishing my own limited edition zine, Birdlovesbee.

It was nice to spend some time handsetting type again--a truly time consuming and detailed task. I like how, in a world that is constantly filling every free moment with something to do, it forces you to slow down and indulge in the art of typography and something old world. Opportunities like these are rare, and I love how programs at The Center For Book Arts, as well as local-based San Francisco Center for the Book, continue to inspire and teach the craft of letterpress.

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