Friday, December 2, 2011

Moving Days: Part Two

WHAT A DIFFERENCE A MONTH CAN MAKE. We’ve packed and we’ve lifted and we’ve hauled and we’ve leveraged and we’ve blocked, and we’ve lowered and we’ve pushed, and finally the new home of the Tampa Book Arts Studio is starting to look like — well — home.

Or, at least almost a home! We’re still a long way from being fully set up and operational. One major advance is that we’ve gotten all the equipment into one building, instead of having it spread out in the two. And as you will see in the pictures below, all the machinery has found its place in the new studio floor plan, but what’s left to do is the process of organizing and unpacking.

"Slowly but surely,” TBAS Letterpress Coordinator Carl Mario Nudi says when referring to cleaning the workshop up for the premiere incoming MFA class of creative writers. “What’s also great,” he says is that, “[TBAS] is going to be organized better now and everything will have its own place. There's going to be a place for casting and composing, for presses, and a bindery/multipurpose room, while the office and library will have their own separate area. It’s overall a better use of space, compared to the old setup, and will have a very clean and inviting look to it.”

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Harold Sterne Letterpress Collection Takes Center Stage at Ringling College of Art and Design

Some of the 600 cases of foundry type the estate of Hal Sterne donated to the Letterpress and Book Arts Studio at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota.
The late Harold Sterne had a life-long affection for letterpress printing, starting as a hobby printer at the age of 14 and continuing with a career in the graphic arts industry in Cincinnati.

During this time Hal, a friend of the Tampa Book Arts Studio, accumulated a collection of type, engravings and equipment that he eventually moved with him and his wife, Judi, to Sarasota upon his retirement.

Over the years, Hal became familiar with faculty of the printmaking classes at Ringling College of Art and Design and had always wanted to leave his collection to the institution as a legacy.

That wish was fulfilled just over a year after Hal’s death with the opening of the Letterpress and Book Arts Center at the Sarasota arts college.

A reception to honor Hal's contribution and love of letterpress was held at Ringling on Thursday, Nov. 17.

A placard on the wall tells the story of Hal Sterne, whose collection of letterpress equipment makes up the Letterpress and Book Arts Studio at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota.

The evening began with Ringling Vice President for Academic Affairs Melody Weiler introducing Judi Sterne, who spoke of her late husband's involvement with letterpress over a 60-year period. According to his obituary, Hal bought his first printing press at the age of 14, graduated from West Virginia Tech with a degree in printing management, and retired as vice president of manufacturing at the printing firm of S. Rosenthal Co. in Cincinnati. He also purchased the remaining stock and records of the Vandercook Press/Vandersons Company, saving the brand from extinction. The Ringling Letterpress and Book Arts Center has Hal’s Vandercook Model SP15 cylinder press, his Chandler and Price platen press, about 600 cases of foundry type with cabinets, and a vast collection of sorts, cuts and engravings, as well as a library of books on printing and publishing.

Mrs. Judi Sterne, left, accepts a plaque of appreciation from Jill Lerner.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Moving Days: Part One

EXPECTED TO BE READY THIS JANUARY for the start of the first residency of UT’s new Low-Res MFA in Creative Writing program, The Tampa Book Arts Studio (TBAS) has begun the transition to its new home on campus in the Edison Building, across the street from the Art Department studios and the Scarfone-Hartley Gallery. Transplanting the Book Arts Studio will be the result of several tedious months of planning between the University of Tampa, Dr. Richard Mathews, and Letterpress Coordinator Carl Mario Nudi. 

The Tampa Book Arts Studio, which has been located temporarily in the Library Annex building for the past few years, has served as a hands-on museum paying homage to the history of letterpress and has played a unique part of the publishing work for the University of Tampa Press.  It's a one-of-a-kind place that is as special as it is integral to UT.  Even by definition, TBAS is described not as a workshop, but as a letterpress laboratory, where the refinement and mastery of typography and the letterpress crafts can be practiced and celebrated. Its storied collection includes myriad foundry types, typecasting machines, and printing presses from the 19th and early 20th century. One highlight of the shop is the 1848 Hoe Washington Hand Press of American woodcut artist J. J. Lankes, on which he printed illustrations for books by Robert Frost, Sherwood Anderson, and others.

To arrange for this move, expert planning and attention was needed due to that of the special needs of these century-plus-old machines, which though wrought of iron and steel (weighing in at many tons) are also very delicate and require experienced riggers to move and set up. Most of the moving time involved so far, though, has been in the organizing and packing of TBAS's extensive library, which totals over 7,000 items— divided between important reference manuals, typographic samples, and other letterpress tools. Not to mention, its rare archive of books about bookmaking that are located in the McDonald Kelce Library’s Special Collections area, and which includes the  Peter Pauper Press Collection, the Lee J. Harrer Collection of Books about Books and the J. B. Dobkin Collection of Nineteenth Century Letter Writing. 

In an age where they say traditional publishing is dying—or digitally evolving to say the least—there is really no price that can be put on preserving what is left of the historical understanding and hands-on practice of the art of letterpress printing. The Studio’s new home is a welcome change, and with better lighting, better airflow, and Spackle still wet, we look forward to the continued celebration of this craft . . .

Click through for more pictures of the move.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Printing, Publishing and Book Arts May Term:
Putting It All Together

As the May Term intensive in Printing, Publishing and Book Arts drew to a close, students began to present their final projects. Individual projects included an original poetry chapbook, hand-decorated broadsides, a portfolio of marbled papers, and specially bound blank books. The class project was a little book called Collated Collaborations: A Series of Fortunate Signatures. The playful title originated from some happy memories classmates shared of a children's book many of them had read growing up—Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events. Their Collated Collaborations included a four-page signature by each member of the class. It was handbound, with endsheets of paper made in the class.

A display of student work from the course will be placed on display at the Tampa Book Arts Studio special collections room on the second floor of the Macdonald Kelce Library. Letterpress coordinator Carl Mario Nudi has put together a video of the experience; take a look by clicking TBAS on YouTube.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Working with Hot Metal Typesetting
and Letterpress Mechanics

Student Cody Waters sets type at the Intertype keyboard while volunteer Henry Wehle offers guidance.

Cody receives Intertype casting advice from Henry Wehle and Paul Moxon.

During the second week, students took their typesetting techniques from handset foundry type in composing sticks—a process that dates from the fifteenth century—to the 1920s, setting type on the Ludlow Typograph and the Intertype linecaster. Both of our machines were made in the 1920s, and form a nice complement to our 1920s Miehle V-36 vertical cylinder press.

Dave and Beth Seat of Hot Metal Services in Mt. Juliet, Tennessee, who spend about 250 days each year on the road to bring their repair and maintenance expertise to letterpress shops throughout the country, had arranged to visit the Tampa Book Arts Studio in time for the last day of class. After a week of heavy use, the Ludlow was especially in need of their attention, and they soon had it tuned-up and casting beautifully. They also worked magic with the Miehle V-36, which had been under rehab in the studio but had not yet been running. By the time he finished, Dave had stacks of paper smoothly feeding through the press!

Visiting letterpress expert Dave Seat, of Hot Metal Services, tuned up equipment from the 1920s. Here Dave (left) works with Carl Mario Nudi and Richard Mathews to adjust the automatic feeding mechanism on the Miehle V-36.

Hands-on Papermaking and Marbling

Adam Kuhns and Krystle Canan watch as Alysia Sawchyn lifts her paper mold from the vat of pulp.

This scan of part of a finished sheet of paper shows the pale blue color, gentle texture, and part of the deckled edges. The full sheet is too large for the scanner.

By the end of the first week, students were at work making and decorating paper that would be used in binding and printing some of their course projects. Prof. Kendra Frorup turned part of the sculpture studio into a papermaking workshop on Saturday. Students used specially built molds to make enough archival handmade paper to bind and to create paper labels for the class project book.

After students dipped and couched an assigned quota of sheets, they moved on to experiment with marbling. While the full class only spent spent Saturday on this activity, some students enjoyed the work and returned to do additional work in paper as part of their individual course projects.

As a first step in paper marbling, students floated colored inks on water and combed the colors.

The paper then placed on the floating inks were removed and set aside to dry.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Students try their hands at binding

On Thursday, May 12th, students attended a session on binding at the Bailey Art Studios. Professor Kendra Frorup demonstrated how to cut and assemble the boards, paper, and cloth to make portfolios for the class's letterpress postcards.

Prof. Frorup explains how to cut the paper for the pocket.

Students assemble the boards and bind them in paper and cloth.

Aaron Fagan putting together his portfolio.

Prof. Ina Kaur praises the work of a student.

Florida artist Barbara Stubbs sorts the students' postcards.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

May Term Students Explore Printing Processes

Florida artist Michael Massaro (back to camera) explains silk screen printing.

Students in the intensive “Printing, Publishing and Book Arts” May Term class with Paul Moxon spent Wednesday looking beyond letterpress to explore other printing techniques. Here Mike Massaro explains silk screen processes in the Bailey Art Studios.

From silk screening, the students moved to the fine printing studio where UT art professor Ina Kaur demonstrated intaglio and relief processes, including printing from wood and linoleum cuts.

Professor Ina Kaur demonstrates how to thin ink to the correct consistence to print from linoleum cuts.

Professor Kaur's print studio includes presses for printing dry point and engraved plates as well as linoleum. Students compared the operation of Vandercook presses to the Takach presses in the art department and considered using mixed media in the book projects they will complete during the class.

Professor Kaur discusses examples of linoleum prints, woodcuts, and engravings with Barbara Stubbs and Kendra Frorup of the art department while Paul Moxon (at left of photo) compares the studio presses to the Vandercook presses students are using at the Tampa Book Arts Studio.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Letterpress May Term with Paul Moxon

Summer is nearly here and the University of Tampa is a quiet place after graduation, but students with the stamina to take a semester's worth of classes in just two weeks have stayed for May Term. Eleven UT students in art, English, and creative writing met early on the morning of May 9th for the first of fourteen consecutive classes in "Printing, Publishing, and Book Arts." The course is an introduction to the art and history of the book. It includes studio experience with letterpress printing, typography and typesetting, principles of editing and publishing, creative writing, graphic design, illustration, papermaking, and bookbinding. The primary aims of the class are to introduce students to the aesthetic, cultural, and material dimensions of the reading experience, to enhance their understanding of how physical and visual presentation shapes a reader's perceptions, and to introduce the history, craft, and art of the physical book.

The course is being taught by guest faculty Paul Moxon, a studio letterpress printer and editor of the American Printing History Association Newsletter, as well as a nationally known workshop instructor and Vandercook press consultant. He prints for hire and publishes limited edition books and broadsides under the imprint Fameorshame Press. Assisting Paul are Carl Mario Nudi, a veteran printer and TBAS letterpress coordinator; Henry Wehle, Intertype operator; and three of UT's own faculty members: Kendra Frorup, papermaker, binder, and book artist; Ina Kaur, fine art printmaker; Richard Mathews, printer, publisher, type founder.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Letterpress Broadsheet Celebrates
Poet Shane Seely's Reading at UT

Student volunteers Conner S. McDonough ( in profile on left) and Jenny Goodwin, both creative writing majors themselves, check an early proof of “Two Boys in the Woods,” a poem by visiting poet Shane Seely that they designed and printed as a letterpress broadsheet to celebrate his reading at the University of Tampa. It is the first time the TBAS has issued a limited-edition broadsheet in connection with the annual Writers at the University Series.

With the help of Carl Mario Nudi, letterpress coordinator at TBAS, Conner set the poem on a Ludlow Typograph. Jenny and Conner printed it on a Vandercook 4. Fifty copies were printed on dampened paper in two colors.

With careful attention to detail, Jenny and Conner carried out the work. Seely, whose 2009 collection The Snowbound House received the Levine Prize and was published by Anhinga Press, congratulated them on the result and signed all fifty copies. He is Senior Lecturer in English at Washington University in St. Louis. His poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Arts & Letters, Notre Dame Review, Bellingham Review, Prairie Schooner, and other journals, and on the Poetry Daily website.

In the photos below, Conner checks the inking and impression; Carl and Jenny adjust the lockup on the Vandercook.