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.

    The New Space

    Carl Packing

    Packed and Ready to Go

    The Masterplan!


Bob Turner said...

Here's wishing you guys the best of luck and success in your move. Let's hope for a minimum of inevitable casualties.

Gary Johanson, Printer said...

Wishing you every success in your move and in your new location. Perhaps sponsor and open house come January sometime? G. Johanson, Printer/ Letterpress Printing & Design would like to be there!