This fall, Terra Alta, West Virginia, became home to Monotype University 8 (this being the eighth edition)—a week-long course in the use and maintenance of Tolbert Lanston's turn-of-the-century mechanical wonder, the Monotype Composition Caster. This year was a chance to explore a new dimension of Lanston’s marvel, thanks to an addition to the Monotype curriculum: an innovative composition interface using a Mac computer.
Two Tampa Book Arts Studio associates took part in the great educational opportunity in anticipation of the arrival of a Monotype Composition Caster at the Tampa Book Arts Studio later this fall. Letterpress Coordinator Carl Mario Nudi and Tampa Press Editing and Publishing Assistant Joshua Steward joined four other students from across North America to complete the latest hot-type class: Rob LoMascolo (New York), Kevin Martin (Ontario, Canada), Mason Miller (Maine), and Jeff Meade (California).
Monotype University was hosted and taught by printer, author, and Monotype scholar Richard L. Hopkins of Hill & Dale Press and Typefoundry in Terra Alta. Rich is the author of Tolbert Lanston and the Monotype (University of Tampa Press, 2012). He was founder of the American Typecasting Fellowship and has been publisher and editor of the ATF magazine for nearly forty years. Assisting Rich with the university this year was Bill Welliver, long-time printer, and inventor, designer, and builder of the CompCAT (“Computer Aided Typecasting”) digital typesetting system—commonly known as the “Welliver System” or “Welliver Interface.”
|Clockwise, from left: Joshua Steward, Rob LoMascolo, Jeff Meade,|
Kevin Martin, Mason Miller, Bill Welliver, Rich Hopkins, and Carl Mario Nudi.
The first few days mainly involved arriving, getting acquainted, touring Rich Hopkins’s press and typefoundry—or The Chapel as he calls it (complete with stained glass window)—and becoming familiar with the setup. After getting settled in, much of the early part of the week was spent observing Rich cast and set type on a Monotype composition caster. While operating the machine, he offered advice and solutions for common problems and hangups, mentioned things to watch for, and answered the students’ many questions.
|TBAS Letterpress Coordinator Carl Mario Nudi|
and Bill Welliver discuss the CompCAT software
|Rob LoMascolo (in green), Joshua Steward|
(center, installing the Welliver hardware),
and Kevin Martin (right) listen in to Rich.
(Note the blue stained glass "Chapel" window.)
|Joshua Steward, composing|
on the Monotype Keyboard
|Rich (left) prints on a Heidelberg Windmill platen press while|
Rob LoMascolo and Joshua Steward look on. (Bill Welliver at far right.)
Even downtime was filled with Monotype in various ways, but often there was a break in the day when those who had brought lunch took time out to sit around the Hopkins dining room table and talk all things casting, printing, and otherwise. Others worked through lunch, either progressing on their projects or poking around Rich's basement studio. However, one notably beautiful day was enjoyed as a group, eating pizza, talking, and laughing on Rich’s back porch in perfect 78-degree weather.
The students spent their last few days finishing up casting and printing their projects, as well as working on their own pet projects: a few composed and cast additional galleys of type; some helped Bill Welliver deconstruct a rusted-out Monotype (the first Rich had owned and used)—to strip it down for spare parts, as well as for the learning opportunity; and two were chosen to compose and design the diplomas for Monotype University 8, to be presented on the final night at a celebratory dinner.
|From left: Jeff Meade, Carl Mario Nudi, Rich and wife Lynda, Mason Miller, Kevin Martin,|
Bill Welliver, Joshua Steward. (Rob LoMascolo not pictured.)
* * *
Graduates and Faculty of Monotype University 8
|From left: Carl Mario Nudi, Rob LoMascolo, Mason Miller, Rich Hopkins (kneeling),|
Jeff Meade, Bill Welliver, Kevin Martin (kneeling, with forme), and Joshua Steward.
Congratulations to the graduates!
Thanks to Rich and Lynda Hopkins for their patience and hospitality.
Thanks to Rich Hopkins and Bill Welliver, whose contributions to typecasting and letterpress printing will be remembered and carried forward by their students in the years ahead.