Poet Laura Madeline Wiseman will read and discuss her work Unclose the Door and other poems at the Bradley University Library from noon to one pm on Monday, March 25. Visit her web site at http://www.lauramadelinewiseman.com/. The reading is free and open to the public. The poems recount the life of Matilda Fletcher, a 19th century Illinois-born suffragist speaker, inventor, and author. This reading is being held as part of Women’s History Month.
Well, it is official. The Gold Quoin Press will be setting up a table at the Mission Creek Festival in Iowa City on April 6th at The MIll in downtown Iowa City, IA from 11 AM to 6 PM. We will be showing and selling books and prints including Great Day for a Run and Unclose the Door, as well as broadsides of Madeline Wiseman, Katey Schultz and others.
The publishers fair is held at The Mill, which is a Pizza and Beer Hall establishment. I went last year and it was a blast; a great place to meet writers, small press publishers, and generally have a great time.
Check out the web site for the literary part of the festival: http://www.missionfreak.com/
The festival goes on all week with music, readings and other performances. I would love to go there Friday night for the Lit Crawl, but that is our symposium day at Bradley University- Check it out the schedule for the the Inland Center Symposium http://inlandvisualstudiescenter.wordpress.com/2013-2/
We gave warm welcome this morning to 16 potential freshmen and their parents in the art department. The Kindergarten class from Peoria Academy made a trip to Bradley’s letterpress studio to learn firsthand about printing and to see their artwork converted into a two-color letterpress poster. With the help of Bradley students and members of the Peoria letterpress print club, students (in 45 minutes) experienced the process from the initial design stage on the computer, setting of metal and wood type, through the making of plates, mixing inks and actually operating the press. Each student got to see the printing of the poster up close, and then actually operate a press to print a commemorative keepsake card. Progressing around the studio in small groups to individual learning stations, there was no down time and every one, including parents and teachers, seemed to thoroughly enjoy the experience.
I can’t wait to see a proof on this type lockup; The metal itself makes a beautiful very Deco composition. It is a call for entries for the campus literary magazine “Broadside.” Bradley Student Jake Guzan is working on this in the letterpress shop. Looking forward to the proofs. I will try to post them here.
Christine Huggins puts the finishing touches on some of the 100 hard-bound books produced by the Department of Art at Bradley University and the Gold Quoin Press. To purchase a copy, see the “shopping” link on this site. The book is for sale at $75 per copy.
Almost all of the run of 100 copies of “Unclose the Door” by Madeline Wiseman, are completed. Designed, printing and bound by students, faculty and studio staff at the Bradley University Books Arts center and the Gold Quoin Press, these books are 36 pages, hard bound, letterpress printed in two colors, and trace through a cycle of poems the life and career of Matilda Fletcher, an Illinois-born 19th Century traveling speaker and advocate for women’s rights.
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Letterpress broadside posters designed and printed by Robert Rowe, Gold Quoin Preess, 2012; Both of these texts deal with the Iraq war; one from the perspective of an American soldier, one is a heat-seared vision of a shattered city seen from under the burqa. Both are moving glimpses into humanity in the time of war. Text, copyright Katey Schultz, used by the Gold Quoin Press with permission of the author. Design and printing by Robert Rowe. Purchase a print from for $40 from the Gold Quoin Shop. With the Burqa is printed on German-made Zerkall Nideggen paper using a low-relief collagraph plate on a Vandercook Universal one press. While the Rest of America’s at the Mall was printed on Somerset book wove and enhanced with silver foil stamping. Prints are 12 x 18 inches.
I just tried out a new device for punching signatures for our edition of 100 copies of a book of poems. It consists of a pin-bar with a triangular profile that has a hinged top bar comes down on top of it. The pins are set into drilled-out holes in the lower bar. Holes are drilled in the top bar directly above the pins. A folded signature of the book is placed over the pin bar and the top bar is pressed down. We punched forty books in a few minutes with this and all were perfectly aligned. I caught a glimpse of a similar device in a bookbinding video on YouTube, but cannot remember where it was. If anyone knows of it, let me know.
A holiday greeting from the Bradley University Letterpress workshop. Invited by FeltandWire.com to contribute a Thanksgiving holiday themed print, we came up with an image reflecting both celebration, thankfulness, and the beautiful fall sunsets we have this time of year in the Midwest.
Bradley University’s letterpress and book arts studio regularly produces seasonally-appropriate prints and cards, and having just finished up a run of “spooky” cards for Halloween, we were more than excited by the invitation to create a Thanksgiving-themed print. Jake Guzan a senior art student at Bradley, and Kevin McGuire, who works by day as an employee of at a printing establishment, worked with Robert Rowe , professor of art at Bradley University, in making these Holiday greetings.
The studio has large south and west-facing windows, giving anyone operating a a glorious view of the colorful autumnal sunsets that descend through reds, ochres and golds. So a split fountain was a logical choice for a fall-themed print. Brilliant fall sunsets last a few minutes and are gone, but not before Jake Guzan, Bradley University student lab assistant, and I got some of the colors mixed and onto the ink rollers of my SP-15—Pantone yellow, some leftover, pre-mixed Pantone 194 deep red, with just a dollop of black at the upper register.
The symmetry of the V and A in “GIVING THANKS” begged for graphic emphasis. Mounting a type-high linoleum cut of praying hands made a perfect substitute for the “A”, and the “V” became, with the aid of another linoleum-cut hand, a celebratory libation. Highlighting the V and tying the two lines together was a simple matter of moving the “V” to the lower line, rotated upside down, while inking the gradient, and then replacing it into the upper line when printing. The linoleum cuts were inked with a brayer off the press (saving clean-up time), and placed into the V and A slots, (after a re-inking of the type) and the paper reloaded for a second impression, creating a double hit of color on the type and a solid black that obscured any overlap of the color. In initial prints, the letter V in this font has such a shallow counter shape that the “glass” effect was less obvious, so we substituted a cut linoleum “V” without the counter for the original letter.
While disassembling the original lock-up, Kevin McGuire came in with another sketch of an idea using the same 30-line (or 5 inch) letters and a surround of 60 and 30 point airport lead type, listed a host of things for which to be thankful this season.
Happy accidents are always a great way to get ideas for the next generation of prints. In running this print, missed trip lever resulted in a print on the mylar draw sheet of the press. The next piece of paper on the press then picked up that ink, in a wonderfully mottled and misty reverse impression. I am dying for a chance to repeat this “mistake” on a piece of translucent vellum paper, so the image, printed in reverse on the back of the paper, would be right-reading through the paper and still have the same inimitable mottled, gritty texture.
The studio—equipped with two vandercook presses, an SP-15 (used on this print) and a Univeral 1— offers regular undergraduate courses in letterpress and book arts, offers mini-workshops open to the public, and also plays host to regular gatherings of a community letterpress group. The facilities have wood type of various fonts and sizes, lead foundry type, and polymer plate-making capabilities.
The prints are on Mohawk superfine eggshell, 100 pound cover and 100 lb text, printed in two runs of pantone 194, warm red, pantone yellow, and black. The wood type is a 5 inch (60 line) gothic. The prints were made on an SP-15 Vandercook.
My colleague and I visited with principles of a couple of very successful design firms in the Chicago area recently (not going to name them here, but if you want to know, ask me off list). Again they reaffirmed what we have heard many times, and perhaps even more so in these lean days. What they are looking for in a portfolio is about six to eight pieces of truly outstanding work, each piece of which is polished and ideally suited to its purpose. No explanations should be necessary (though out of politeness, some explanatory text or remarks should be discreetly available). Polish the craft, but be mindful that it is only the base-level requirement. Résumé must be typographically impeccable but not showy. Display well-founded confidence. No fear of drawing (no drawing-class projects, please; just the ability to communicate an idea via the drawn line. Work that looks like student work is the kiss of death. (Gotta love the catch-22-ness of this, if you are a student. That is all you have been doing for the last four years) OK, so quit weeping and weed out all the projects that look the same as all your fellow students. Retool or rework the few that stand apart. Don’t cling to a half-good idea, only the truly good ones.
OK, so that is the ideal. We all know few live up to that coming out of the gate. But it is not bad to keep those ideals in mind. Your portfolio will always be a work in progress. And I have it on good authority that most of those very same designers who tout such high standards in hiring would be ashamed to show you their own first portfolios. So believe in yourself and your ability to learn, grow and adapt.