I spent the last two and half weeks printing up a storm in the Wells Book Arts Center, at Wells College in Aurora NY. I camped out in the new press room with five Vandercooks, reams of Mohawk Superfine, a 3lb can of black ink, and tunes, snacks, and a water bottle. On my cross country drive to New York, I thought a lot about partial/broken letterforms, watching paint peel away on many a weathered building across the western mountains and midwestern plains. Plenty of thinking time. No books, I decided. Too much work. I knew wanted to make things bigger, like the signs I’ve recently done, but vaguely thought no, no, I’ll be printing of course. And I thought, I’d like to work with those forms in print. But can’t break the type. Cut the paper? I just really wanted to build, not break. [Read more…]
Halfway through my cross country drive, I had the great honor to spend two evenings and a full day with the very talented tough-as-nails Jen Farrell of Starshaped Press. She has built a business based on exquisite precision of handset ornamented images from metal type, constantly pushing new limits for our rigid old craft.
I’ve been on the road for almost a week now and I have seen and learned more than I imagined and just as I expected. Following ones gut always leads to the right places and if you are just open enough, you get the gift of wide open spaces both inside and out. [Read more…]
Off and traveling for seven weeks! Expedition 2016: cross country drive to NY with stops at the Platen Press Museum, Starshaped Press, and Virgin Wood Type. Then a three week residency at the Wells Book Arts Center, and then off to Milan for LetterPressWorkers. Two weeks in Italy and then a cross country drive back to the West! Who knows what kind of letter-and-literary trouble I’ll get into – follow along here on the blog, and/or Instagram and Facebook.
The shop is semi-closed until July 1, but never fear, my awesome intern Bridget is there holding down the fort. So please, do order books and prints while I’m away.
And let me know where and what I shouldn’t miss along the way!
It’s here! We welcomed a 14×22 Colt’s Armory Press into the shop a few weeks ago. Feel lucky, blessed, lots of degreasing and rust removal ahead.
There is so much to say, but really you should just come by and see the wonder that it is for yourself (or just ogle the pictures if you are too far away!). This post is about the process of moving it, for anyone that’s interested in how to move a 3,405 lb piece of antique equipment and for my own reference so I remember how to move it next time (which hopefully is a long time away from now, which means I will have forgotten many important details). [Read more…]
Big ol’ heart throbbing welcome to this 14×22 beautiful new beast, previously owned by Harold Berliner, now employed in the service of literary letterpress. No foolin’ around here at Expedition. We’re practically speechless with this awesomeness, and ready to love it up with elbow grease. Happy first day of National Poetry Month!
When it comes to publishing, I have only one criteria: I must love the poems.
No one recommended this rule, I haven’t read any books or blogs about how to make it in the publishing world, and I didn’t even write any lists or think twice. Like with all major life decisions (i.e. going to college, moving cross-country, getting married, becoming a parent, publishing a book…), I’ve always known that so long as I love something, I can make something beautiful from it. And things that are loved and beautiful are the most useful kind of things, so I’m sticking to my guns.
Today is three weeks until the official release of my newest publication, Passings, a book of poems about extinct birds by Holly J. Hughes. I know that by March 24th a real book will exist that I can sell and ship and share with people, but from where [Read more…]
It’s a simple practice. Write three pages, first thing every morning, longhand. Extolled far and wide, Julia Cameron’s initial assignment in The Artists Way is nearly cliché now. I am a great skeptic, and I could only approach this practice as an experiment after a mighty effort to suspend my disbelief. Yet here I am to tell you that it changed my life. The story’s been told many times, and it’s a true story!
Last spring in an interview about my journey from college to owning my own shop, I was asked if I had any advice for people just getting out of school. Advice about how to get to where I’m at, which is apparently, “living the dream.” Ha! Well if the dream is working 24/7, I have arrived. How did I get here? I did the work imagine it. The thing is, to live a dream you have to have one. You have to care enough and be curious enough to ask yourself over and over again what it is you want. The morning pages are an incredibly powerful tool for me in this regard. [Read more…]
“For the Thousandth Time, I want to Know” is a poem by Mark Nepo from his out-of-print book Inhabiting Wonder. I first imagined this piece nearly four years ago, and contacted Mark who generously gave me permission to reprint the poem. It was an ambitious project at the time, and I got about three-quarters of the way through before I abandoned ship. Over the course of a year I designed it, printed it, built all the frames, and scored each sheet by hand eight times and each hinge three times. Then I assembled the first full prototype and my morale plummeted. It just wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. A classic example of what Ira Glass is talking about in this genius little video on beginners, and making things. I let my perfectionist get the better of me and put the whole darn project up high on a shelf, leaving it there to lurk in the corner through three studio moves and countless other projects. [Read more…]