Sunday, 18 August 2013

Across the pond

Card by the StoneArch Press (Minneapolis, MN)

Having been back from Minnesota for a couple of weeks now I've had a chance to reflect on all of the discoveries, experiences and conversations from our visit to MCBA (Minnesota Center for Book Arts).

Coming from the UK where book arts is still quite a marginal area of arts practice it was something of a revelation to be in an environment where it was the commonality of everyone we met.  I had expected to be wow-ed by the letterpress facilities (I was) and the Center as a space and resource, but I guess what I hadn't considered in advance were the people.  From full-time practitioners, to teachers and researchers, everyone was so enthusiastic about making and discussing all aspects of artists' books, and I was both alarmed and flattered to be treated as an equal by them.  The Book Art Biennial in particular was not only a chance to chat informally with book artists whose work I have admired and been inspired by, but made me consider the differences between the US and UK in the teaching, appreciation and practice of making artists' books.

And there I was thinking I'd left all serious academic thought behind at the end of the MA.  To compensate here are some gratuitous letterpress shots...

Printing on the Vandercook SP219 aka 'The Beast'

Learning how to do double-sided printing
Pressure printing - like magic!

These were taken during the 2 day course I took in 'Creative Letterpress' with Regula Russelle at MCBA.  I was a bit bemused at the beginning when it dawned on me that we weren't going to be using any type at all (despite being surrounded by cases and cases), but in fact the techniques we learned were great, and I think could easily translate into more type-based experimentation if I get the chance.