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.
Judi said she was happy that her husband's collection has found a home at Ringling, which was his wish for many years before his death in October 2010.

Jill Lerner, coordinator of the Ringling Letterpress and Book Arts Center, welcomed the visitors and introduced guest printmaker, Ke Francis.

Ke, a multi-discipline artist, including printmaking, oversees the production at the University of Central Florida’s Flying Horse Press. He held a workshop and demonstration on Nov. 18-19 at Ringling on hand engraving and Vandercook operation.

 Jill Lerner, director of the Letterpress and Book Arts Studio at Ringling College of Art and Design in Sarasota, stands behind the Chandler and Price platen press from the Hal Sterne collection.

Carl Mario Nudi, letterpress coordinator, attended as a representative of Tampa Book Arts Studio.

1 comment:

Bob Turner said...

Wow, ol' sleepy West Coast Florida is really proving that reports of the death of letterpress printing are totally unfounded. I'm just tickled pink to see Hal's collection preserved in it's new home and will be instrumental in preserving and fostering a love and understanding the noble craft of letterpress printing.