Friday, August 24, 2012

Jolly Jingles: Featured from Feller Family Collections

A subsection of The Feller Family Collection of printing blocks as they are being unpacked and cataloged.

This week at the Book Arts Studio we have continued to explore and find locations for some of the recent gift items donated by the Les Feller Family. Among the treasures are an early printed children's book published by the Donohue Company almost 100 years ago--and the blocks to print it!

"Jolly Jingles" — One of the many children’s books printed by the Donohue Company, this one issued in 1915, from the Feller Family Collection.
The "Jolly Jingles" engraved block used to print the cover.

A close-up of the "Jolly Jingle" cover with publication date and publisher.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Feller Family Collections Arrive!

Richard Mathews & Sean Donnelly unpack some original Donohue Co. art.
There was a buzz of excitement this week as the Feller Family Collections arrived by truck from Illinois and we began to unload the three large pallets that include antique patent models of presses, books and manuals about printing and typography, examples of early letterpress newspapers and printed pages, framed posters and artifacts, and original artwork and printing blocks from Donohue Company children's books at the turn of the twentieth century.

The three shipping pallets fill the TBAS composing room space.
Letterpress Coordinator Carl Mario Nudi and donor Les Feller had done a professional packing job at the Feller home in Niles, Illinois. The whole shipment arrived in great shape. Their custom-made boxes and ample foam “peanuts” even protected the fragile glass case around the working patent model of a gravure rotary press, which arrived without a scratch or crack.

Letterpress Life in Detroit

Detroit is probably best known for making great American cars.  But it also was a center of great letterpress work in the past. Today it's also contributing in innovative ways to the revival of interest in letterpress printing crafts.

On a recent trip to visit family, Tampa Book Arts Studio Letterpress Coordinator Carl Mario Nudi stopped by Signal-Return, a community letterpress workshop that opened about eight months ago.

Ryan Schirmang, director of the storefront operation in Detroit’s Eastern Market district, enthusiastically greeted Carl and his sister, Patricia, who joined Carl on his adventure.

Ryan helped launch Signal-Return as a project manager for Team Detroit, the international advertising and marketing firm. Team Detroit established the print studio as a way to bring traditional and modern techniques of printing to the community, and to provide a workspace for artists and designers to produce unique prints for retail clients.

The smell of ink and type dust was in the air as you entered the studio, Carl noted.

Erika Turner, self-described “shop girl,” stands in front of some
of the posters produced at Signal-Return.

“Samples of the posters and broadsheets hung from clothes lines in a smart display of the work these young people were producing,” he said. “It was exciting to see letterpress being used as a means to bring people to the inner city.”

Joel Grothans, shop technician, holds a poster he produced
at Signal-Return recently.

The studio’s name, Signal-Return, plays on the maritime history of the Motor City. Besides the auto industry, shipping on the Great Lakes is one of the big economic engines of Detroit.