Friday, January 20, 2012

Moving Days: Part Three

Photograph by Alina Ryabovolova. Carl Mario Nudi (left), TBAS Letterpress Coordinator, at the Vandercook 4 with Nathan Deuel (right).
It was a sticky summer day not that long ago when the necessity of moving the Tampa Book Arts Studio became apparent. The nuances of the move had seemed daunting when laid out on blueprint paper and tiny measuring-tape-markings blocked out on an empty stone floor. And for weeks, as this move progressed, it was the slog of many to endure – and many to whom we are all grateful. Though now on a grey Florida winter afternoon and after at least a hundred-tons of precise pushes, pulls, and slight nudges – it is safe to say that the new Tampa Books Arts Studio has been reborn at 214 North Boulevard, Tampa, Florida.

Tested already during an inaugural MFA event, the new studio surpassed expectations as it handled a class load of over 30 creative writing students, all drawn for a taste of the mechanical lore of the letterpress crafts. The goal of the visit was to create an original keepsake for each student, which featured a fitting quote from a guest-MFA author, Francine Prose. The production process tied together several kinds of printing and techniques. For example, the deep green palms as seen below were printed on an 1848 Hoe Washington hand press that once belonged to J.J.Lankes (Lankes is the noted American woodcut artist who illustrated books by Robert Frost and other literary figures). The large type was hand-set and cast on a Ludlow Typograph and printed in black ink on a hand-turned Vandercook 4 press. The small type was handset in Kennerley Italic,  cast as individual letters on our Monotype sorts caster.

Colophon: This keepsake in celebration of the first residency of the University of Tampa MFA in Creative Writing, with Francine Prose as a guest author, was printed by students in the inaugural class during their visit to the Tampa Book Arts Studio, January 11, 2012.

To describe the event, it would be right to say simply that it was as it should have been: An event filled with fellowship and promise. New writers. Old writers. Old machines. Fresh ink.

And walking into the newly christened studio today, or any day soon, and seeing letterpress coordinator, Carl Mario Nudi engrossed in finalizing the aesthetics of a new print, it might seem that this was the workshop that had always been intended and that this was the space that all these storied machines were always meant to call home. But the story of how they all got here is another tale altogether. And though interestingly enough, while the TBAS was only formally named in 2004, the letterpress tradition at the University of Tampa does go back some 25 years with the arrival of Richard Mathews. And so with that said, here’s to the next 25 years of the Tampa Book Arts Studio!

Photo by Gregg Wilhelm.  
Carl Mario Nudi with Catherine Duncan Moore
Photo by Gregg Wilhelm
 Poet Terese Svoboda (back facing the camera) and Derry Smith
Photo by Gregg Wilhelm.
 Kathy Lockwood-Fleming and Andi Tomassi with a wet-ink keepsake
Photo by Gregg Wilhelm.
 Type to be printed with black ink, locked-up on the bed of the Vandercook 4
Photo by Alina Ryabovolova.
 Martin Fulmer prints on the 1848 Hoe Washington hand press with help from UT graduate Alysia Sawchyn

1 comment:

Derry Smith said...

Cute face, Andi! Looks like you were having fun!