- I had reason to refer a forum correspondent to an article I wrote that was published a decade ago regarding a historical reference to a typeface. It occurred to me as I did so that no one else would really care. I have felt that way for quite some time; ever since, as someone once posted on another forum, "Boxcar invented letterpress" (she meant that literally, not tongue in cheek).
Twenty-first century letterpress is decidedly atypographic and extraordinarily populist and anti-hierachical. Its history is of little concern to its myriad practitioners. Which is why when I read, and reread, and reread Betty Bright's article, "History as Fable, Helix, and Aperture," in the recent issue of Printing History, I was even more dismayed, and quite perplexed. There is some kind of attempt to champion "letterpress" at play here, I think, but this is something no historian or critical writer on the artists' book would have done in the later years of the twentieth century, when "kraft," and specifically letterpress, which supposedly entailed craft, was the perceived enemy (e.g., remember JAB?).
Unfortunately, in her attempt to work letterpress (and associated craft or not) into that structure she doesn't really seem to grasp that the very popular revival of letterpress in the last decade (and likely why she embraces the term) has nothing whatsoever to do with the book arts. I eventually came to the realization that the article was an epitaph.
- To tell the truth, I really enjoy the planning, prepress,and bindery of complex jobs more than the presswork.Right now I have a case bound, (Smythe Sewen,)project in house that includes eleven gatfold illustrations,one six pages long. After a lot of careful planningI am looking for fun on the folder.MaiKätzchen
quam minimum credula postero!
Odes Book I
From: Austin Jones <austin@...>
Sent: Sun, February 12, 2012 4:39:39 AM
Subject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: LetterpressWith regard to communities - Lets add a couple more distinctions. There are great technicians and there are great designers. I once had an art teacher who was a great technician on the litho stone. she could print from a stone with a technique like no other, but couldn't create a design if her life depended on it. I know others who can design some very interesting layouts, but their ability to execute left lots to be desired. I also know a printer who once told me he loved to get the first two or three prints off the press then it was all work and boring from that point on.So, it is all in the details. I recall from a workshop I attended several years ago on the jurying process. The issues raised were design, function, and execution. Every piece can be looked at with these elements in mind. How well is the piece designed; How well does it do its job; and how well was the design executed.While we may choose to see a work as a whole, I think it is more fair and complete to look at the various elements. This way we are likely to see the work for its true value.Just one more thought on how we can choose to see a printed item.
austin@...----- Original Message -----From: Incline PressSent: Saturday, February 11, 2012 6:50 AMSubject: Re: [PPLetterpress] Re: Letterpress
Aye, and there’s two communities, the makers and the buyers. To a large extent the makers can take care of themselves so far as process goes – that is if they have enough wit to find and open a few books, and maybe visit a few existing makers. It’s the buyers I think we need to be more concerned about, thus the value of the bibliophile clubs, the FPBA, the book Fairs, the newspaper/magazine/journal articles, and of course our own well printed ephemera. Personally I still think there would be a great value in forming, very specifically, a society of letterpress book makers, whose members would be committed to making good publicity for the process, to explain it to potential new buyers, but I think I’m in a minority of one, at least as far as any response indicates. The FPBA has gone in a quite different direction, and as good as it is, it’s too inward looking for any growth in educated patrons of the book makers. So it’s head down and into the wind.
36 Bow Street
Oldham OL1 1SJ England
I'd agree with this, isn't "push back against ignorance" what education is all about? or should be? This forum (and others like it) wouldn't exist if we all just quietly ignored the community.