Lark Sparrow Press at American Printing History Association

The annual meeting for the American Printing HistoryAssociation (APHA) was held at Columbia College Chicago last week. The print work of Lark Sparrow Press was part of the exhibition program. The organization exists to:

1) To encourage the study of printing history, especially American printing history, in all its facets from a world context to national, regional, state and local interests, and including all the arts and technologies relevant to printing, book arts and letter forms; 
2) To produce and promote publications, exhibitions, conferences, lectures and other functions, at both national and local levels, by which information and ideas relating to printing history may be exchanged; 
3) To foster the development and maintenance of libraries and museums for the preservation of materials bearing on printing history, including specimens of printing and the equipment and materials used in printing; and 
4) To cooperate with other organizations, institutions and individuals to recognize the central importance of printing to humanity. “

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Work on Wells & Sonne

This fall I am on sabbatical and with the help of interns am editioning an 80-page, illustrated, letterpress hand-printed book. This summer we have already set over 34,000 handset typographic characters and we are not half way through the book. The text will require 3,200 hand pulled impressions on my Vandercook and the art another 2,200 impressions. I am looking for a bound book release day in late December. (Phew!)

What is WELLS & SONNE – Selected Short Stories by Chelsea Laine Wells and Lex Sonne

To begin with, this is  book of six selected short stories, three written by Chelsea Laine Wells, three written by Lex Sonne, both graduates of the Columbia College Chicago Fiction Writing program and illustrated by Derek Goodman, a graduate of Columbia’s  Graphic Design program. My press, Lark sparrow Press, working from their manuscripts will transform six stories into a 72-page, letterpress printed book with handset type, six 3 and 4 color illustrations,  hand-bound with Rhiannon Alper’s handmade paper and sewn on boards.   With all the art to be tipped in, it will take 5,550 – 6,000 impressions to complete. I would not be able to do this without the help of seven, committed Columbia College interns I will be working with four days a week. I’m hoping we will be done with the printing by December.

Why does studying typography entail making a book?

At the January 5th, 2012 annual meeting of the College Book Arts Association (CBAA), I answered  the most frequently asked questions of my Intermediate Typography class at Columbia College Chicago, where I have taught for the last 17 years: “Why do we have to make a book in this class if the subject is typography?”  The answer is always the same, “Typography has it origins in the printing of books. Since this class looks at typography from a  historic perspective,  we have to address the problems of what it means to design a book.  What better way to do that than to make one?”