exhibition books from the press at colorado college
- listmembers, this is the press release for the exhibition. -brian
NATIONALLY RECOGNIZED CAMPUS PRESS
CELEBRATED IN NEW ART EXHIBIT
"The Press at Colorado College" Tells Story of a Passion for Printing
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. - April 13, 2004 - Students remember passing
dampened sheets of Rives Heavyweight paper to Jim Trissel, watching as he
precisely placed each sheet, stamped it with a press-mounted plate, and
handed it back.
For 22 years they worked with this impassioned artist at The Press at
Colorado College, and today, they continue to create finely made books,
keeping alive an art professor's sense of discovery, his love for the
aesthetically beautiful book, and a legacy of fine printing that made its
mark nationally and internationally, including:
- Three publications included in the New York Public
Library's exhibits "Seventy from the Seventies," "Eighty from the
Eighties," and the current "Ninety from the Nineties."
- Several books collected by the Newberry Library in Chicago
- A book produced on commission from the Arts for Nature
Trust of England as a 75th birthday gift for Prince Phillip, Duke of
From April 17 through May 16, the fine art of such handset,
letterpress-printed books created at The Press at Colorado College will be
celebrated in a new exhibit at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center: "The
Press at Colorado College: The Pressroom as Classroom." After its Colorado
Springs run, the exhibit will travel to Scripps College, the Newberry
Library in Chicago, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and the University
of Arts in Philadelphia.
On April 24, book-arts fans can visit The Press at Colorado College (at
Jackson house, on the southeast corner of North Nevada Avenue and San
Rafael Street on the Colorado College campus, Colorado Springs) for a free
open house where they can view the limited-edition books created there
The first press was brought to Colorado College in the mid-'70s by
then-provost Jim Stauss, who enlisted Trissel, a professor of studio art
and art history, to help transport it. But Stauss died shortly thereafter,
and the press sat unused for several years. In 1977, it came to life - as
did Trissel's interest. Trissel - whose father and grandfather had both
worked as printers - took a sabbatical from 1977 to 1978 to immerse
himself in the technology, design and history of printing. He sought out
and learned from the very best in the art of fine printing, and he began
to collect classic typefaces.
In 1979 Trissel, five students and another faculty member printed Wendell
Berry's "Reverdure," one of the first books issued by The Press at
Colorado College. An initially disgruntled Berry - he had earlier refused
to sign any books - saw the finished 100 copies, and immediately signed
them all. That book was selected for "Seventy from the Seventies" at the
New York Public Library.
In the ensuing 20 years, Trissel and his students turned out nearly 40
books, including some that he authored, including "LETTERpressworkBOOK,"
currently on display in the New York Public Library's "Ninety from the
Nineties" exhibit. At least 200 students - about 10 each year - worked
with him, tweezering letters and spaces into place, aligning registration
so a color would print perfectly on pages as they were fed into the press,
one at a time. It was painstaking work; often a year or more was spent on
one book. Sometimes only 25 copies of a particular book were made.
Trissel was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 1998, and died in 1999.
The Press at Colorado College, now under the supervision of press
coordinator and former Trissel student Brian Molanphy, continues to print
books - poetry, history, sacred literature, historical documents and more
- and students continue to learn the fine art of printing, carrying on the
legacy of the fine campus press.
The catalog for the exhibit "The Press at Colorado College: The Pressroom
as Classroom" is available for purchase at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts
Center, 30 W. Dale St., Colorado Springs, (719) 634-5583; or at The Press
at Colorado College, (719) 389-6376. $15+$2 for shipping. The catalog
features essays by Trissel, former student/now faculty member and poet
David Mason, former faculty member and poet Joan Stone, curator and
book-arts expert Betty Bright, and Newberry Library curator Paul Gehl, as
well as images of some of the pages created at the press.
Exhibition and open house information:
Saturday, April 17-Sunday, May 16
Exhibition opening: "The Press at Colorado College: The Pressroom as
Classroom," an exhibit on book arts and fine-quality books printed by The
Press at Colorado College. Exhibit will tour to Scripps College, the
Newberry Library in Chicago, the Minnesota Center for Book Arts, and the
University of Arts in Philadelphia after this show.
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Sundays. Colorado
Springs Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St., (719) 634-5583, $2-$5.
Saturday, April 24
Open House: Demonstration of The Press at Colorado College, as well as
viewing and sale of the high-quality books produced there since 1977 using
letterpress printing, calligraphy, and other book-arts printing
techniques. Offered in conjunction with "The Press at Colorado College:
The Pressroom as Classroom" exhibit at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts
Center, April 17-May 16.
Noon-5 p.m., Jackson House (southeast corner of North Nevada Avenue and
San Rafael Street), Colorado College, free; RSVP to Brian Molanphy at
About Colorado College
Colorado College is a nationally prominent, four-year liberal arts and
sciences college that was founded in Colorado Springs in 1874. The college
operates on the innovative Block Plan, in which its 1,900 students study
one course at a time in intensive 3_-week blocks.