California Printers in the Fine Press Tradition 1975-2006
Peterson Gallery, Green Library, February 12 to June 17, 2007
Arif press was established in 1970 by Wesley Tanner. Active in San Francisco Bay Area printing and typography for more than twenty years, Tanner relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan, in the early 1990s, where together with calligrapher and designer Susan Skarsgaard, he founded Passim Editions. Tanner is on the faculty of the School of Art & Design at the University of Michigan. Skarsgaard works as a product designer in charge of special projects for General Motors.
Lewis Thomas. Quartet. With Etchings by Joseph Goldyne. San Francisco and Berkeley: Pacific Editions and the Arif Press, 1986.
From the colophon: This book was designed and printed letterpress by Wesley B. Tanner, who hand set the text in 16-point Bembo and Centaur types at the Arif Press in Berkeley, California. The binding & text papers were handmade at Twinrocker Papermill in Brookston, Indiana, by Kathryn Clark & Chris Gipson; the paper colors, unique to this edition, are called Quartet & Berkeley. The display lettering is the work of John Prestianni of Berkeley; the book was hand bound in San Francisco by Klaus-Ullrich S. Rötzscher. The etchings were proofed by Kay Bradner at Katherine Lincoln Press in San Francisco and edition printing took place on the etching presses of Robert Townsend, Inc. of Georgetown, Massachusetts.
The Arion Press
The Arion Press, founded in 1974, is a direct descendent of the San Francisco fine press tradition established by John Henry Nash at the turn of the century, and carried forth by the Grabhorn brothers in the early decades of the twentieth century.
Arion’s founder and director, Andrew Hoyem, was drawn to printing as a young man through his love of words, including their appearance on the page. Swept up by the literary renaissance in San Francisco in the late 1950s, he went into partnership with Dave Haselwood to form Auerhahn Press in 1961. The press was located around the corner from the legendary (even then) Grabhorn Press, whose craftsmanship, exemplified in their deluxe fine press editions, Hoyem greatly admired. It turned out that the Grabhorns were willing to share what they knew. Hoyem and Robert Grabhorn became good friends, and joined their operations in the Grabhorn-Hoyem Press in 1966. Grabhorn’s death in 1973 prompted the founding of a new press, which Hoyem named Arion, after a mythical Greek poet who was saved from drowning by a dolphin. The press, which employs a small number of craftsman typesetters, printers, and binders, as well as editors, is dedicated exclusively to letterpress printing of deluxe, limited-edition books, many of which are illustrated by prominent artists--such as Jim Dine, Jasper Johns, and Robert Motherwell.
Arion Press’s aesthetic lineage from the Grabhorns has a literal component: much of the equipment and type held and used by the press today once belonged to them. In 1989, the press acquired Mackenzie & Harris, the oldest and largest surviving typefoundry in the United States, which supplies lead-alloy type to letterpress printers, among other services.
In 2001, Arion Press moved its operation to the historic San Francisco Presidio, in tandem with the Grabhorn Institute, founded for the purpose of preserving and continuing the use of one of the last integrated typefoundry, letterpress printing, and bookbinding facilities, and operating it as a living museum and educational and cultural center. Books designed, printed, and published by Arion Press are internationally acclaimed, and held by individuals, museums, and libraries.
Herman Melville. Moby-Dick; or The Whale. San Francisco, California: The Arion Press, 1982. Unbound copy.
From the colophon: Moby-Dick; or The Whale, by Herman Melville, has been printed and published by Andrew Hoyem at the Arion Press, San Francisco, California. The edition is limited to 265 copies, of which 250 are for sale. The type is handset Goudy Modern. The Leviathan Capitals used for the title and initial letters were designed by Charles Bigelow and Kris Holmes. The illustrations were drawn and engraved by Barry Moser. The paper was handmade by Barcham Green at Hayle Mill in England. . . . Members of the press who have assisted in the production of this book are Pauline Christensen, Margaret Green, Lester Lloyd, Abigail Potter, Gerald Reddan, and Glenn Todd.
Writer, editor, designer, printer, photographer, and bass baritone Jonathan Clark has been publishing books under the imprint Artichoke Editions since 1975. Originally trained in photography, Clark took up printing to explore the interface between the two arts. He taught himself letterpress using a high-school textbook and a friend's Washington handpress. His first large project was the publication of The Photograph As Symbol, a limited-edition book by his friend and mentor Wynn Bullock, in 1976.
In addition to his limited-edition letterpress work, Clark has designed numerous titles for the Book Club of California, and designed and published Cut-Paper, a presentation of the work of Frederick Sommer (1998). He also co-edits and publishes The Hedgehog, an occasional journal of arts and culture.
Clark’s photographs, photogravures, and books are represented in numerous collections including the Bibliothèque Nationale de Paris, the Smithsonian Institution, the Center for Creative Photography, and the Getty Museum. Ottawa, Illinois 1967, a book of his early photographs, was published in 2006 by Nazraeli Press.
Jonathan Clark. On Finding a Possum by the Roadside. Mountain View, California: Artichoke Editions, 1997.
From the colophon: Of this edition, made in December 1977, there are seventy copies on Hayle Mill RWS, bound in linen and Artichoke marbled papers (1-70); twenty large-paper copies, bound in leather and marbled papers (i-xx); and ten copies on Hayle Mill Linen, bound variously (a-j). Copy number 12.
The Bieler Press
Founded in 1975 by Gerald Lange, The Bieler Press specializes in typographic book design and the production and publication of finely-printed limited edition books.
Lange is a teacher and award-winning book designer who has written and published extensively on typography and the book arts for various journals, including Parenthesis, Ampersand, Printing History, Guild of Book Workers Newsletter, Counter, Serif, Bookways, and The Typographer. His self-published monograph, Printing Digital Type on the Hand-operated Flatbed Cylinder Press, is in its third edition printing.
Since 2000, Lange has been on the faculty of Art Center College of Design, Pasadena, where he teaches typography and letterpress printing. Since 1997 he has also taught at Otis College of Art + Design, Los Angeles. From 1986 to 1993, he was Master Printer at the USC Fine Arts Press.
From 1990 to 1996, Lange was editor of AbraCadaBrA, the journal of the Alliance for Contemporary Book Arts, an organization he co-founded in 1987. In 2001, he founded PPLetterpress, an online forum on investigative, exploratory, and alternative printing and typographic techniques.
Jeffrey Atherton. Black-letter. An Interpretation of Events Relating to the Time and Presence of Johann Gutenberg. Marina Del Rey: The Bieler Press, 2000.
From the colophon: Fashioned as a pre-World War I bibliographic ghost, Black-letter is a speculative examination based on the extant Gutenberg research and historical studies of the time period. The book was drawn from an idea by its publisher Gerald Lange, who was also responsible for its contextual arrangement and typographic design. . . . The book was digitally set in Carter & Cone Type’s Miller Text . . . and P22 type foundry’s Cézanne. Both fonts were letterpress configured with editing software. . . . The text sheet is Umbria Bianco, a handmade paper imported from the renowned Fabriano mills. Black-letter was printed in editions limited to 120 numbered and 26 lettered copies bound at The Wide Awake Garage by Daniel E. Kelm with assistance from Michael Richardson and Barry Spence.
Black Sparrow Press
John Martin of Santa Rosa founded Black Sparrow Press in 1966 to publish and distribute the works of avant-garde authors. Over the next thirty-six years, the press and its editor broke new literary ground and nurtured an alternative tradition, publishing work by Charles Bukowski, Robert Creeley, Charles Olson, Larry Eigner, William Everson, and Diane Wakoski, among many others. The Black Sparrow Press was sold in 2002 to David R. Godine, Publisher. While not by definition a fine press endeavor, some of the early works produced under the Black Sparrow imprint were printed letterpress and bound by hand, in the craft tradition of book making.
Wright Morris. The Cat’s Meow. Los Angeles, California: Black Sparrow Press, 1975.
From the colophon: Printed September 1975 in Santa Barbara for the Black Sparrow Press by Noel Young. Typography by Graham Mackintosh. Design by Barbara Martin. This edition is limited to 200 copies sewn in paper wrappers; & 125 special copies hand bound in boards by Earle Gray, numbered and signed by the author, each containing an original photograph by Wright Morris.
Under the direction of Bill Kelly and Michele Burgess, the Brighton Press team has been creating limited-edition artist’s books and broadsides since 1985. Each of the more than thirty titles published to date was designed and produced through the collaboration of contemporary poets, visual artists, and artisans in the fields of letterpress, bookbinding, papermaking, and printmaking.
In her introduction to the catalogue of a 1993 retrospective Brighton Press exhibition at Palomar College, Leah Ollman noted that Brighton Press books “may be linked to tradition but never are they bound by convention.” She went on to observe that the press’s co-directors Kelly and Burgess “have a profound commitment to the exploratory process itself,” and that “they continually push to reinvent and redefine the book . . . In the variety of their materials and approaches, Brighton Press books undermine assumptions about what a book is supposed to be, even as they celebrate the bookmaking tradition.”
Nancy Willard. When There Were Trees. A poem by Nancy Willard;
Prints Michele Burgess; Paper Color Merilyn Britt. San Diego, California: Brighton Press, 1999.
From the colophon: This book was conceived when Merilyn Britt read Nancy Willard’s poem and began collecting color from tree material to dye Arches paper archivally. She designed the book and the typography, and dyed the cover silk. . . . The images were created by Michele Burgess. She printed the forest of drypoints and the chine collé etching for the index, and painted the endpapers. . . . The type was printed letterpress by Nelle Martin at Brighton Press. Alvin Buenaventura assisted with the hand setting of the Spectrum text. The title and page numbers are composed in Castellar. . . . The binding was designed and constructed by Claudia Cohen.
The poem by Nancy Willard was first published in Carpenter of the Sun, copyright 1974 by Liveright Publishing Corporation, New York. The line breaks have herein been changed; small caps indicate the beginnings of stanzas.
Merilyn Britt. Color Samples from Forty Plants. 1997. A box of papers hand-painted with colors extracted from plants by Merilyn Britt. Labelled and annotated calligraphically with notes on each plant and process of extraction. Edition of two. On loan from David Brock.
Of the forty colors represented in the box of samples, seven are used in When There Were Trees.
cover silk: Coral Tree leaves
endpapers: Walnut husks
fly leaf: Pine needles
title page: Tulip Tree leaves
forest illustration: Blue Gum bark
poem: Silver Dollar leaves
index: Alder Twigs
Five Trees Press
Three women founded Five Trees Press in a rented storefront in San Francisco’s Noe Valley in 1973. Kathleen Walkup, Jaime Robles, and Cheryl Miller had become acquainted through Clifford Burke’s Cranium Press, where Miller worked as an apprentice, and through Wesley Tanner at Arif Press in Berkeley. Each brought different skills and interests to the partnership, where they taught each other, working both independently and in mutually supportive ways. Most of the press’s energy was devoted to printing, publishing and distributing small chapbooks of poetry written by women writers, some well established, such as H.D. and Denise Levertov, and others whose work would not have been considered for publication by the predominantly male printing establishment. The press also published the work of cowboy poet Gino Clays Sky and the New England poet Paul Metcalf.
Since 1978, Kathleen Walkup has been on the faculty of Mills College, where she is Professor of Book Arts and Director of the Book Arts Program.
Jaime Roble teaches at the New College of California. After Five Trees Press, she worked for abstract expressionist Sam Francis, and founded and editedRooms, a literary “zine” that is a forum for women writers and artists exploring experimental writing and art. She is currently publisher and editor for Five Fingers Review.
Cheryl Miller has been active in environmental issues for many years and is currently project coordinator for a water resources project based at the University of Minnesota.
Susan MacDonald. Dangerous as Daughters. San Francisco: Five Trees Press, 1976.
From the colophon: This book was designed and printed by Kathy Walkup, who finished it in June, 1976. There are 500 copies in the edition; 50 of them have been handbound in boards at the press & and are numbered & signed by the poet. The illustration and ornament are by Robin Cherin, Jungle Press.
Flying Fish Press
Julie Chen entered the Mills College Graduate Program in the Book Arts in 1985, survived the first-year experience she described as “boot camp for book artists,” and subsequently thrived, graduating with an MFA in 1987. She started Flying Fish Press in Berkeley that same year, and quickly gained a reputation for her innovative book structures and carefully crafted, sometimes whimsical, limited editions. Her works, which take the form of functioning sculptural objects that also read as books, combine the quality and craftsmanship of traditional letterpress printing with the innovation and visual excitement of non-traditional book structures and modern typography. Most of the texts she publishes are her own. She also collaborates with other visual artists, such as Nance O’Banion and Lois Morrison. Chen teaches bookmaking workshops around the country and is on the Mills College faculty.
Julie Chen. Radio Silence. Berkeley, California: Flying Fish Press, 1995.
From the colophon: Designed and printed by Julie Chen . . . Papers include Wyndstone Mica and Tuxedo bronze, found aeronautical charts, and embossed paper designed by Margaret Ahrens Sahlstrand at Icosa Studio. Produced in an edition of 75 copies.
In the words of its proprietors, Foolscap Press is Lawrence G. Van Velzer and Peggy Gotthold. Both had worked for many years in the fine printing field in the Bay Area when they founded Foolscap Press in 1990 in order to publish books under their own imprint. Peggy Gotthold worked as a bookbinder at Schuberth Bookbindery in San Francisco and Arion Press. She trained in letterpress printing and typesetting at Cowell Press (UCSC), The Yolla Bolly Press, and Artichoke Press. Larry Van Velzer operated his own press and worked as a printer and typesetter at Arion Press. His father taught printing in technical high schools and was a letterpress printer who learned printing from his father, who published a newspaper printed on a handpress in the 1870s.
Foolscap Press books are designed, printed and bound at the press in Santa Cruz. Gotthold and Van Velzer work as a creative team, collaborating in every aspect of a book’s creation, from conception through editing, designing, printing, binding, and marketing. Their hallmark is finely-made, hand-crafted books of literature produced in limited editions of 100-200 copies. The press’s annual April Fool’s Day monograph, distributed by mail, has surprised and delighted friends and clients since 1999.
Lawrence G. Van Velzer and Peggy Gotthold. The Tower of the Winds. Santa Cruz, California: Foolscap Press, 2002.
From the colophon: This book was designed and printed by the authors. The edition of 200 numbered copies were printed letterpress from polymer plates on a Hacker Hand Press. The typeface is Adobe Herculanum. The papers are Zerkall Book and hand-made Egyptian papyrus. The scroll cases were produced from dyed, hand-shaped Arches paper. The binding was done at the press. This is copy 71.
Greenhouse Review Press
Gary Young, editor of the Greenhouse Review Press, is an award-winning poet with five books of collected poems to his credit, as well as being an accomplished book artist and master letterpress printer. His print work is represented in major collections including the Museum of Modern Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum and The Getty Center for the Arts.
Tim Eagan. Subconscious Comics. Santa Cruz, California: Greenhouse Review Press, 1984.
Colophon: 100 copies were designed and printed by Gary Young at the Greenhouse Review Press.
The Greenwood Press
Renowned printer and typographer Jack W. Stauffacher founded The Greenwood Press in 1934, when he and his father built a small workshop behind the family home in San Mateo. Stauffacher moved the press to Sansome Street, San Francisco in 1947, and to its current location at 300 Broadway in 1966. A master of the craft of printing, he has published exceptional books and limited editions under the Greenwood Press imprint for almost three-quarters of a century. In the words of Stauffacher’s colleague, designer Chuck Byrne, his work “combines an informed reverence for the Classics with an insightful appreciation of innovation.”
As an educator as well as a preeminent figure in typographic design and fine printing, Stauffacher’s influence is wide as well as deep. His fierce advocacy of clarity, restrained typography, and design in service to the text has been impressed upon many of his students and colleagues. As assistant professor of typography and design at Carnegie Institute of Technology (1958-1963), he re-established Porter Garnett’s New Laboratory Press. He subsequently became typographic director at Stanford University Press (1963-1966), taught in the departments of design and printmaking at The San Francisco Art Institute (1964-1968); and served as Regents Professor, teaching at the Cowell Press, UC Santa Cruz in 1974.
Major influences on his own development as printer/designer/typographer include his brother Frank, who died in 1955 (“it was through his eyes that I received my baptism into the beauties of this world”); and San Francisco printers Robert and Jane Grabhorn, Adrian Wilson, and Edward De Witt Taylor, of Grabhorn Press, The Press in Tuscany Alley, and Taylor & Taylor, respectively. His design sense was shaped as much in reaction to what he saw as typographic excess and provincialism that had its roots in the early 1900s as by exposure to the doctrine of design clarity and restraint exemplified by modernist Swiss typographer and designer Jan Tschichold and others. During a three-year Fulbright residency in Italy starting in 1955, Stauffacher met master printers Giovanni Mardersteig and Alberto Tallone, whose work and philosophy of classical design profoundly influenced and strengthened his already well-rooted aesthetics of typographic communication. Others with whom Stauffacher has worked closely include type designers Hermann Zapf—who became a colleague and friend after Stauffacher invited him to teach at Carnegie in 1961—and Sumner Stone, who consulted Stauffacher in his development of digital versions of classical typefaces for Adobe.
In 2004, Stauffacher was awarded the medal of the AIGA (American Institute for the Graphic Arts). The medal, the most distinguished in the field, is awarded to individuals in recognition of their exceptional achievements, services or other contributions to the field of graphic design and visual communication.
Stauffacher’s rich legacy of print, passionate intellect, and wide-ranging friendships developed through his work are beautifully documented in his 324-page volume A Typographic Journey / The History of the Greenwood Press, with a bibliography by Glenn Humphreys, published by the Book Club of California in 1999.
Phaedrus, a dialogue by Plato. San Francisco: The Greenwood Press, 1976.
The book’s innovative format is described in a review by A. M. Johnson in Fine Print: A Review for the Arts of the Book (vol. 5 no. 1, January 1979):
The white space in Phaedrus is crucial to the pacing of the work and becomes a moment of physical presence in the purest visual sense. The prearranged order of conducting the intimate dialog, with Socrates always on the recto, Phaedrus on the verso pages, demands absolute attention to the text.
From the colophon: Produced by Jack Werner Stauffacher with thanks to Charles A. Bigelow and Ann Fabian. Handset in 12 point Janson Antiqua types and printed by James Faris at the Greenwood Press, San Francisco, California. 150 copies have been printed; this is one of sixty on Enrico Magnani Garda. The remaining ninety copies are on Arches Text. Bound by the Schuberth Bookbindery. Printing completed June 1976. . . . This book is dedicated to Paul Lee and his vision of a Platonic Academy in Santa Cruz.
The Vico Collaboration. Giambattista Vico, philosopher; Dennis Letbetter, photographer; Jack W. Stauffacher, printer. San Francisco: The Greenwood Press, 2003.
Colophon for the suite of prints: Ten prints in an edition of twenty printed on French Rives BFK mouldmade paper at The Greenwood Press by Jack W. Stauffacher. . . .“Vico wooden letters” was made using an assortment of sixty-six wooden letters that were given to the press in 1966 by The Williams Printing Company of 300 Broadway, San Francisco. For years these 19th-century letters were used by the company to print public posters. Also used in this edition are Kis & Méridien types.
Colophon for the suite of photographs: Twelve photographs in an edition of twenty printed and archivally processed on British Zone VI Brilliant VCIII at Studio Letbetter by Dennis Letbetter.
The Heyeck Press
The Heyeck Press, founded in 1976, focuses its printing efforts on the work of contemporary poets, printing and publishing both fine limited editions and paper wrapper editions. All Heyeck Press books are printed letterpress by Robin Heyeck using hand-set metal type and a hand-fed platen press. Fine edition books are printed on dampened handmade paper and bound in marbled paper or silk. An accomplished marbler as well as a printer, Heyeck has just completed Adventures of a Marbler, a second volume to Marbling at the Heyeck Press.
Frances Mayes. The Arts of Fire. Woodside, California: The Heyeck Press, 1982.
From the colophon: The Arts of Fire was designed, marbled, and printed at The Heyeck Press in Woodside by Robin Heyeck using handmade Langley by Barcham Green. Anne Seeley, Morgan Seeley, and Robin Heyeck hand set the Bembo type at the press. The Schuberth Bookbindery of San Francisco bound the book. There are one hundred copies in the edition.
Hillside Press takes its name from the notoriously steep block of San Francisco’s 21st street where photographer Leo Holub and artist Florence Holub make their home. In the basement of that house, Leo taught his son Eric to print in the mid-1960s on a Challenge-Gordon platen press, and from the fifth grade through high school, the younger Holub dabbled in printing on the “wobbly platen.” From 1973 to 1978 he studied art and printing more seriously in the Department of Printing Technology at City College of San Francisco, while working part-time as a press operator at the Russian Life Daily, where he hand fed 24 x 36 sheets into a cylinder press.
Letterpress printing was in decline in the mid-1970s, and type and presses were available cheap—sometimes even free. In 1976, space opened up in a building owned by Eric’s maternal grandfather, presenting an opportunity to expand and move the hobby press from the hillside basement to the flats. Eric and Leo collaborated on numerous projects in the relocated press, and in 1984 Eric set up business under the name Hillside Press. For six years, from 1995 through its move to the Presidio in 2001, Eric worked as a pressman for Andrew Hoyem at Arion Press. He returned to Hillside Press full time in 2001.
The press building, at the corner of Kingston Avenue and Mission, is a family story. It was purchased by Holub's grandfather Mickelson in 1942; Florence [Mickelson] Holub managed a paint and furniture business there in the 1950s; and Eric Holub was brought home as a newborn to the cottage behind the building, in the basement of which his father, Leo, had his first press.
Phoebe H. Brown. James Tong Lee in the Kitchen. San Francisco: Hillside Press, 1988.
Illustrations by Florence Holub; tipped in frontispiece photograph of James Tong Lee by Leo Holub. The text is set in Monotype Baskerville by Mackenzie & Harris. Printed letterpress at the Hillside Press.
Imprenta Glorias is the imprint of film and television actress Gloria Stuart (Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, 1938; My Favorite Year, 1982; Titanic, 1997). Ward Ritchie taught her how to print on his hand press when she was in her mid-seventies. She founded Imprenta Glorias in 1984, and produced books under its imprint for more than twenty years before retiring from printing in 2006.
Gloria Stuart. Eve, Venus, and Others. N.p.: Imprenta Glorias, 1990. Texts by William Blake, Sappho, Anacreon, Milton, and Baudelaire. Illustrated, embellished, printed, and designed by Gloria Stuart.
From the cololphon: Illustrations printed on split-fountain serigraphs on handmade papers, illuminated, collaged, and interlined with reverse imaging on transparent Japanese lace paper. Includes original watercolor collage framed in rear pastedown and signed by Stuart. Decorative initials by Marie Balle; title page calligraphy by Judy Dietrich. In lucite slipcase designed by Joseph D’Ambrosio.
Jungle Garden Press
Marie C. Dern established Jungle Garden Press in 1974 in the basement of a Berkeley house surrounded by a wild garden, from which the press takes its name. In the thirty-some years since the press’s founding, Dern has published more than forty books of poetry and prose. She often works in collaboration with visual artists, and prints letterpress and binds by hand. Several years after starting the press, Dern returned to school at Mills College, where she received a Master of Arts degree in Book Arts in 1986.
Raymond Carver. Elephant, A Story. With drawings by Carl Dern. Fairfax, California: Jungle Garden Press, 1988.
From the colophon: Two hundred copies were typeset and printed by Marie C. Dern at the Jungle Garden Press. The books were bound by Shelley Hoyt.
Kelsey Street Press
Kelsey Street Press was founded in 1974 by Rena Rosenwasser and Patricia Dienstfrey, and had its genesis in a group of writers who came together to address the lack of attention to women writers by mainstream publishers. The press’s early books were hand set and printed on a letterpress in the basement of a house on Kelsey Street in Berkeley. Eventually, the press became a publishing imprint devoted to experimental work by emerging writers, women of color, and lesbians. In the mid-1980s Kelsey Street Press initiated a unique series of collaborations between visual artists and poets. Thirty-three years after its founding, Patricia Dienstfrey and Rena Rosenwasser continue to direct the press with the assistance of others, including interns.
Frances Phillips. The Celebrated Running Horse Messenger. Berkeley, California: Kelsey Street Press, 1979.
From the colophon: Five hundred copies of this book were hand-set by Rena Rosenwasser in Bembo and Centaur typefaces and printed by Patricia Dienstfrey, Kelsey St. Press, Fall 1978 / Spring 1979.
Laguna Verde Imprenta
Ward Ritchie (1905-1996) began printing in 1929 and quickly became a principal figure in Southern California fine press printing. He worked as a book designer for the Primavera Press as well as taking commissions as the Ward Ritchie Press. In 1940, he went into partnership with Gregg Anderson. Their joint venture, Anderson & Ritchie, was interrupted by the onset of WWII. Anderson was conscripted and killed in action in 1944. The press continued as a commercial printing firm managed by Joseph Simon.
Ritchie directed the teaching press at Scripps College during its first six years, beginning in 1941. He subsequently worked as a production manager for the advertising agency Foote, Cone, and Belding, but returned to his former press—renamed Anderson, Ritchie, and Simon—full time in 1950.
Upon his retirement from commercial printing in 1972, Ritchie acquired an Albion hand press and a Vandercook proof press and began printing small editions himself under the name Laguna Verde Imprenta.
Ward Ritchie. The Poet and The Printers. Laguna Beach, California: Laguna Verde Imprenta, 1980.
From the colophon: Nearly fifty copies were printed on an Albion hand press by Ward Ritchie in 1980.
The Lime Kiln Press
The son of Christian Scientist printers, William Everson (1912-1994), also known as Brother Antoninus, was a prophetic visionary, a widely-admired poet of the Beat generation, teacher, and printer. While poet-in-residence at UC Santa Cruz in the 1970s and 1980s, he founded the Lime Kiln Press, a small press through which he printed fine art editions of his own poetry as well as the works of other poets, including Robinson Jeffers and Walt Whitman. There, he also instructed undergraduates in the art of the hand press. In his career as printer and publisher, Everson published more than fifty volumes of poetry.
During WWII, Everson declared himself an anarchist and a pacifist. As a registered conscientious objector, he spent time in a series of work camps in the Pacific Northwest, where he learned how to print. In 1948, he joined the Catholic Church, and became involved with the Catholic Worker Movement. He took the name Brother Antoninus when he joined the Dominican Order in 1951 in Oakland, leaving it in 1969 to marry.
In a memorial tribute to Everson, poet Dana Gioia wrote of his “singular accomplishments as printer and critic. The extravagant beauty of his greatest books--expecially Novem Psalterium Pii XII and Granite & Cypress--have earned him a permanent place in the history of American fine printing. Beyond their sheer physical beauty, Everson's productions demonstrate the creative power that deep, intuitive literary intelligence can bring to book design.”*
*Robinson Jeffers Newsletter, no. 93 and 94, Winter/Spring 1995
Walt Whitman. American Bard. By Walt Whitman. Being the Preface to the First Edition of Leaves of Grass, Now Restored to its Native Verse Rhythms and Presented as a Living Poem. Santa Cruz, California: The Lime Kiln Press, 1981.
From the colophon: American Bard with woodcuts by William Everson has been printed on the handpress under his direction. The paper was made by the Imago Handpaper Mill. The types are Goudy Newstyle and Castellar, with The Times New Roman Italic. Binding is by The Schuberth Bookbindery. The Lime Kiln Press, McHenry Library, The University of California, Santa Cruz. This edition is limited to 115 copies of which 100 are for sale. This is copy number 10 [signed by William Everson].
A graduate of the University of Iowa Writer’s Workshop, Leigh McLellan came to printing and publishing through her interest in literature and art. She established Meadow Press in Iowa City, Iowa in 1974 and moved it to San Francisco in 1977. Until 1990, she divided her time between commercial design and publishing fine press books of the work of new writers, printed on a Vandercook proof press. Currently, McLellan works as a freelance book designer, and teaches paste paper decoration, design, and letterpress printing at the San Francisco Center for the Book.
Maxine Hong Kingston. Hawai’i One Summer, 1978. San Francisco, California: Meadow Press, 1987.
From the colophon: . . . 150 copies of this book are printed by Leigh McLellan with assistance from Tracy Davis in Times New Roman types on Korean Kozo papers. The title page lettering and text initials are drawn by John Prestianni, based on Times New Roman italic. The text type is set by MacKenzie-Harris Corporation with hand refinements by the printer. Tim Delgman helped with research and Laura Israel with proofreading. 75 deluxe copies are bound by the printer in a split-board binding structure with exposed sewing over tapes designed by Betty Lou Chaika. 75 regular copies are casebound in Davey boards. Both versions have Gutenberg Laid endsheets, a Van Heek Brillianta cloth spine and are covered with a paste paper made by L. McLellan. All copies are signed by the author, artist and printer. . . . Klaus-Ullrich Roetzscher casebound the regular copies and made the slipcases for the deluxe copies.
Moving Parts Press
Book artist, typographer, printer, and publisher Felicia Rice set Moving Parts Press in motion in 1977. She grew up in California surrounded by what she describes as “a hybrid community of immigrants and artists.” She learned to print as an apprentice of William Everson at the Lime Kiln Press while a UC Santa Cruz undergraduate (class of ’78). The sole proprietor of a letterpress print studio for the past thirty years, she has published numerous limited edition artist’s books, broadsides, and prints. As a book artist, she endeavors to “build bridges between art forms, cultures, artists/audiences, and technologies.” Toward this end, she works collaboratively with “visual artists, performance artists, and writers to create book structures in which word and image meet and merge.”
Rice has taught and lectured extensively in typographic design, printing, book structures, binding, and literary publishing, primarily through UC Santa Cruz, where she currently manages the MFA program in Digital Arts and New Media.
Guillermo Gómez-Peña. Codex Espangliensis: From Columbus to the Border Patrol. Illustrations Enrique Chagoya. Santa Cruz, California: Moving Parts Press, 1998.
From the colophon: Performance texts by Guillermo Gómez-Peña, collage images by Enrique Chagoya, bookwork designed and printed by Felicia Rice using digital types: Caslon, Cochin, Copperplate, Gill Sans, Hiroshige, Künstler Script, Ultra Condensed Sans Serif, Univers [and] hand set metal type: Bernhard Gothic [and] hand set wooden types: Bulletin Script, Doric Ornamented. Letterpress printed from zinc engravings on Mexican Amatl paper lined with Japanese Shintengujo tissue. 50 signed and numbered books bound in Amatl paper over boards by Maureen Carey. . . .
never mind the press
Alisa Golden began making books as a child virtually as soon as she could read and write. She studied art and creative writing at UC Berkeley before enrolling at California College of the Arts and Crafts in 1983. There, she encountered Betsy Davids (co-founder of Rebis Press), whose course "Creative Writing with Printmaking" introduced her to the creative possibilities of merging words and images in books. She initiated never mind the press through its first imprint, never mind the crowd, created as a project for Davids’ course. Since that time, she has produced more than eighty titles, primarily of her own writing, in small editions printed letterpress from metal type, wood type, and linoleum blocks. She also incorporates other techniques, such as painted papers, collage and photocopies. Golden is also the author of several books on designing and constructing unique handmade books.
Alisa Golden. On My Street: Fall. Berkeley, California: Never Mind the Press, 1997.
From the colophon: never mind handset Caslon 471 falling on lenox with acrylic inks fluttering nearby, all linked with linen tape. never mind this second in the circle series, book 59 overall. Whose leafprints are those all over the Fall, anyway?
Carolee Campbell had a stage career in New York, starred in the long-running NBC soap opera The Doctors, practiced kendo and kyudo (Japanese fencing and archery), and was an avid river rafter and experienced photographer before founding Ninja Press in 1984. Campbell became interested in the arts of the book through her work in photography, when she began to bind sequences of her photographs into books at the suggestion of Harry Reese of Turkey Press. Subsequent coursework in papermaking and bookbinding led her to design and letterpress printing. She approached the study of the book arts with the same passion and discipline she brought to the stage and the dojo, and has focused her publishing efforts on contemporary poetry. She enrolled in the College of Creative Studies at UC Santa Barbara, graduating in 1987. Campbell wrote eloquently and articulately about her bookwork in “Ninja Press at Twenty,” published in Matrix, a Review for Printers and Bibliophiles (no. 25, Winter 2005). In 2004, the press’s twentieth anniversary was celebrated with a retrospective exhibition by the same title, mounted by the Mandeville Special Collections, Geisel Library, UC San Diego.
José Montoya. El Sol y Los de Abajo. Sherman Oaks, California: Ninja Press, 1992.
From the colophon: El Sol y Los de Abajo is printed on Superfine Cover for the text and handmade cogon grass paper from the Philippines for the cover. Color variation in the grass paper is due to open air drying on days of varying sunshine. Sunnier days yield lighter papers. The type is Spectrum. The drawings are printed from zinc plates and are taken from the poet’s sketchbooks. Design, presswork, and binding are by Carolee Campbell. This edition is limited to 195 signed and numbered copies.
Interest in both poetry and typography led graphic designer Ann Rosener to acquire several cases of Bembo, and two letterpresses --a Vandercook and a Chandler & Price--which she installed in her one-car garage in Woodside almost thirty years ago. Since then, she has continued to design, print and publish limited editions of poetry and prose under the Occasional Works imprint. Among the press’s books are In Simple Clothes by C. P. Cavafy, with five original etchings by William Brice, and two small anthologies of modern poetry: Sunday Collection: Thirty Twentieth-century Poems about Sunday(1995) and How Words See: Some Twentieth-century Poems About Works of Art (1998). Over the years she has edited, designed, and published some dozen books, chapbooks, and broadsides, together with a miscellany of letterheads, invitations and announcements. Occasional Works is currently situated in Menlo Park, where it occupies every millimeter of space in a two-car garage.
C. P. Cavafy. In Simple Clothes. Etchings by William Brice. Translation by Alan Boegehold. Woodside, California: Occasional Works, 1992.
From the colophon: This is copy number 23 of an edition limited to 65 copies, each containing four original etchings by William Brice. The artist has signed and numbered each copy. . . . The text type is Eric Gill’s Sans Serif Light, composed at Harold Berliner’s Typefoundry. The title is set in Lithos, a typeface designed by Carol Twombly. Eric Holub printed the books by letterpress on mould-made Arches Velin. The etchings were editioned by Robert Aull. Foolscap Press bound the books and made the slip-cases and portfolios. In Simple Clothes was designed and published by Ann Rosener at Occasional Works.
Pacific Editions is the imprint of Charles Hobson, a San Francisco artist who has used the book form imaginatively as a medium of artistic expression for close to twenty years, averaging one limited edition per year. Typically, Pacific Editions books follow literary or historical themes, combining text and images with modifications to book structure designed to illuminate the meaning of the text. Hobson has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute since 1990.
Edgar Degas. Writing on the Body: Degas’s Words about Drawing the Future. Pastel & Photogravures by Charles Hobson. Pacific Editions, 1999.
From the colophon: Writing on the Body has been made in a limited edition of forty-five copies in the summer & fall of 1999 with photogravure etchings from mixed media figure drawings by Charles Hobson combined with fragments of Degas’s handwriting. Kay Bradner made the plates for the photogravures & editioned the etchings with Charles Hobson who handcolored the etchings with pastel. The text has been handset in Méridien types & printed on BFK Rives by Jack Stauffacher at The Greenwood Press, San Francisco. John DeMerritt bound the book.
Kentucky native Susan King studied ceramics at the University of Kentucky and subsequently enrolled in graduate school in New Mexico in the early 1970s, where she became involved in the women’s art movement. In 1973, she moved to Los Angeles to be part of the Feminist Studio Workshop starting up that year. She worked and taught at the Woman’s Building—founded shortly thereafter—for ten years, and began making books there, encouraged and informed by other artists working in the same medium. She printed her first letterpress edition under the Paradise Press imprint in 1978.
Using a Chandler & Price platen press and a Vandercook proof press, King has proven herself among the most innovative letterpress printers working in the form of the book. Her editions are thoughtful responses to her life experiences, expressed in physically innovative ways using art techniques suited to their subject matter. Her work defies classification as either “fine press” or “artist’s books;” she employs traditional relief printing methods and experimental means of impression, as well as offset printing.
King maintained a Kentucky studio for many years, keeping one foot in L.A. and one in the rural landscape of her youth, before relocating to Kentucky full time to pursue photography in 2003.
Susan E. King. Redressing the Sixties, (art) Lessons á la mode. Designed and printed at Paradise Press, Los Angeles. Published by The National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC, 2001.
From the colophon: This edition of 125 copies, plus artist’s proofs, was created for and supported by the Library Fellows of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, D.C. Fabric swatches are pieces of clothing from the collection of the artist. The paper was made by David Carruthers and Company at St. Armand Papeterie in Montreal. The type is Palatino, designed by Herman Zapf, and redrawn for computer. Paste papers made at the press. . . .
Patrick Reagh, Printer
Patrick Reagh caught the printing bug at age eleven, when his father purchased a small used Kelsey press for him as a gift. He became acquainted with Saul and Lillian Marks of The Plantin Press, Los Angeles, through his father’s friendship with them. Beginning in 1968 he apprenticed as a union type compositor at Andresen Typographics, where his training encompassed the transition from hot metal to the new “cold type” (phototypesetting) technology. Once he attained journeyman status, Reagh’s desire to be a musician took precedence over his interest in printing, and he took a break from the trade to work as a jazz pianist.
Following the death of Saul Marks in 1974, Lillian Marks hired him to work at the Plantin Press, where he learned the basics of classical typography and presswork. When the Plantin Press ceased its commercial operation in 1981, Pat was able to purchase the press’s equipment and go out on his own. After a one-year partnership with Vance Gerry, he established his own imprint, Patrick Reagh, printer. Reagh moved his press from the Los Angeles area to Sebastopol in 1995.
Ricky Jay. The Magic Magic Book: An Inquiry into the Venerable History & Operation of the Oldest Trick Conjuring Volumes, Designated "Blow Books" . . . Published by the Library Fellows of the Whitney Museum of American Art, 1994. Text volume designed by Patrick Reagh and Ricky Jay, and typeset by Patrick Ray; prints editioned by Leslie Miller and Patrick Reagh at his press in Glendale, California.
Peter & Donna Thomas
Since 1976, California natives Peter and Donna Thomas have worked both collaboratively and individually as book artists, originally under the imprint of The Good Book Press, and subsequently as Peter and Donna Thomas: Santa Cruz. Both graduated from California schools in the late 1970s; Donna Millar Thomas studied art at Sonoma State University, and Peter Thomas majored in aesthetic studies at UC Santa Cruz where he studied the book arts with William Everson at Lime Kiln Press. When they established The Good Book Press in 1978, their aim was to create books in the tradition of the great private presses: limited editions, made of the finest materials and produced to the highest standards of quality. They spent the next ten years producing "fine press" books in both full size and miniature format, making the paper, printing, and binding the books themselves.
In the late 1980s, they began working in new formats made possible by access to personal computer technology, exploring non-traditional book structures and shaped book objects and producing both limited editions and one-of-a-kind books. Beginning in the 1990s, they focused their energy on documenting the history and techniques of hand papermaking as a contribution to the renaissance of the craft--through lectures, video productions, and a traveling exhibition based around A Collection of Paper Samples Handmade in the USA (1993). The book features individual papermakers’ statements about the papers they make, each printed letterpress on a sample of that person’s paper. Paper from Plants followed in 1999.
Paper from Plants. Santa Cruz, California: Peter and Donna Thomas, 1999.
A companion volume to A Collection of Paper Samples from Hand Papermills in the United States of America, published by the Thomas duo in 1993. Limited edition of 150 copies.
Peter Koch, Printer
A native of Montana, Peter Koch got his start in printing in Missoula when he founded Montana Gothic: A Journal of Poetry, Literature & Graphics and the Black Stone Press, a publishing imprint and letterpress printing office, in tandem with artist Shelley Hoyt, in 1974. Four years later, the press relocated to San Francisco, where Koch embarked on a one-year apprenticeship with printer and book designer Adrian Wilson at the Press in Tuscany Alley. Koch has operated his own design and printing studio continuously for almost thirty years. A creative force and personality in Bay Area fine press book design, printing, and publishing, Koch’s work has earned an international reputation. Since the dissolution of Black Stone Press, he has published under numerous imprints, creatively named to suit different facets of his work: Peter Rutledge Koch, Typographic Design; Peter and the Wolf Editions (with photographer Wolf von dem Bussche); Peter Koch, Printers; Hormone Derange Editions; and Editions Koch. He variously describes himself as “Artist/Collaborationist,” “Designer/Printer and Publisher,” and “Cowboy Surrealist.” His works include—but are by no means limited to—editions of ancient Greek philosophers, the musings of maverick poets, and the images of world-renowned wood engravers and photographers. Editions Koch specializes in publishing limited edition livres d'artistes, broadsides, portfolios, and what Koch describes as “text transmission objects.”
In addition to his creative and collaborative ventures, Koch’s studio handles private and commercial work on commission. For the past fifteen years he has taught “The Hand-produced Book in its Historical Context” on the Albion hand press at UC Berkeley’s Bancroft Library. He recently co-founded The CODEX Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to promoting and preserving the arts of the book.
Robert Bringhurst. The Fragments of Parmenides & an English Translation. Wood engravings by Richard Wagener. Berkeley, California: Peter Koch Printers, 2003.
Excerpted from Peter Koch Printers website: The text is comprised of all twenty Greek fragments of a poem composed by Parmenides ca. 500 bc. For this project, Peter Koch commissioned Dan Carr to create a new typeface that balanced the lyricism and movement of the handwritten poem and the formality of a carefully-made inscription. Parmenides Greek, the foundry face designed, cut, and cast by Carr at the Golgonooza Letter Foundry, is accompanied by Diogenes Greek, a digital face designed by Christopher Stinehour. . . . The book is printed in Greek on the left with the translation by Bringhurst on the facing page. The Greek text was handset in Parmenides Greek at the press by Richard Seibert, Robert Bringhurst, and Peter Koch. The English text was set in Monotype Dante at the Golgonooza Letter Foundry. Text on the cover is set in Diogenes Greek. Five wood engravings were hand-printed by Wagener on Zerkall mill paper.
120 numbered copies, bound by Peggy Gotthold at Foolscap Press in quarter leather and Hahnemühle Bugra paper, are enclosed in a case covered in gold Japanese silk.
The Stanford Libraries’ volume is one of 26 lettered copies bound in full leather by Daniel Kelm and enclosed in a drop-back box, accompanied by a suite of 10 wood engravings signed by Richard Wagener and a broadside specimen sheet for each of the typefaces made for this edition.
Poltroon Press was founded in Berkeley on All Fools’ Day, 1975, by Frances Butler and Alastair Johnston. Butler was an artist working in academia and the textile arts; Johnston’s background was in writing and typography. Their early collaborations were explorations of text and image, forerunners of what became known in the following decades as “artist’s books.”
They began a publishing program with three books by English poet Tom Raworth: Logbook, The Mask, and Nicht Wahr, Rosie?, which won the Award of Excellence in the AIGA “Just Type” Show.
In the field of graphic design, Poltroon published a monograph on the posters of Marc Treib, Fables of Content; and Blues & Jazz Landscape Improvisations, the first book by award-winning architect & urban planner Walter Hood. Butler’s monograph, Light & Heavy Light: Contemporary Shadow Use in the Visual Arts, accompanied an exhibit in 1985.
Johnston’s interest in typography led him to translate an essay on the punchcutter Jacob Sabon by Jan Tschichold, and the only full-length study of Robert Granjon, the sixteenth-century French punchcutter, written by Hendrik D. L. Vervliet.
Tom Raworth. Muted Hawks. Illustrations by Alastair Johnston. Berkeley, California: Poltroon Press, 1995.
From the colophon: Forty copies of this book have been printed by Alastair Johnston at Poltroon Press, Berkeley, and bound at Eunice Street Bindery. The type is Stempel Sabon. The monoprints are hot-printed in a conjectural reconstruction of techniques devised by Hendrik Nicolaas Werkman.
Press of the Pegacycle Lady
The Press of the Pegacycle Lady is the publishing moniker of printing and design team William and Victoria Dailey. The press was established in 1970 and has been operated jointly by the Daileys, whose publishing work is extracurricular to their primary business of running an antiquarian bookshop in Los Angeles, since 1972.
Edouard Roditi. Meetings with Conrad. Los Angeles, California: Press of the Pegacycle Lady, 1977.
From the colophon: Two hundred copies have been printed, of which those numbered 1 through 26 are on blue paper handmade by Ashling Papers Ltd.
Terry Horrigan is sole proprietor, designer, printer, and business manager of the Protean Press, a fine art press founded in San Francisco in 1982. The press has produced more than twenty-five books and broadsides.
Rose Covarrubias. The China I Knew. San Francisco, California: Protean Press, 2005.
From the colophon: The text typeface is 12/14 Joanna, Roman and Italic, cast by Winifred and Michael Bixler of Skaneateles, New York. Printed on Botan White by Awagami; covered in boards with Japanese bookcloth . . . The endpapers of Lokta fiber paper from Nepal (Lama Li) were printed with “drawings” of Chinese letterforms taken from the illustrations by Miguel Covarrubias for Pearl Buck’s translation of Shui Hu Chuan or All Men Are Brothers, (printed by The George Macy Companies for the members of the Limited Editions Club, New York: 1948).
Writer, artist, and printmaker Tom Killion learned to print while a student of history at UC Santa Cruz in the mid-1970s, where he was introduced to fine book printing by William Everson (Lime Kiln Press) and Jack Stauffacher (The Greenwood Press and Cowell Press). In 1975, he produced his first illustrated book of woodcut prints, 28 Views of Mount Tamalpais, at UCSC’s Cowell Press. He founded the Quail Press in Santa Cruz in 1977. In 1978, he enrolled as a Stanford Ph.D. student in African history, completing his doctorate in 1985. During this time, he also developed his skills in multi-colored woodblock printing, inspired by rugged natural landscape of his native California, and influenced by the Japanese Ukiyo-e style of Hokusai and Hiroshige.
During 1987-1988, Killion worked as administrator of a medical relief program in a camp for Ethiopian refugees in Sudan. In 1990, after many years of work, Tom produced Walls: A Journey Across Three Continents, an extensively illustrated travel book combining his African experiences with woodcut printmaking. Killion then devoted four years to teaching African History at Bowdoin College, Maine, and in 1994 was a Fulbright scholar at Asmara University in Eritrea. In 1995, he returned to California and began teaching in the Humanities Department at San Francisco State University while he worked on a new hand-printed, large-format book, The High Sierra of California in collaboration with Pulitzer prize-winning poet Gary Snyder. The new book was published in a trade edition in 2002 and received a number of awards. Killion currently lives in Inverness, near Point Reyes, and maintains a studio in Santa Cruz.
Tom Killion. Walls: A Journey Across Three Continents. Santa Cruz, California: Quail Press, 1990.
From the colophon: Walls is the product of a long gestation—even for a book. I originally intended only to reproduce an illustrated travel diary from a journey I made in 1976-1977. I began carving the blocks for Walls in 1981 and, in a burst of impetuosity, I printed a dated title page in 1983. The book fell victim to more pressing demands, however, which included further travels in Africa--and as I traveled Walls continued to grow. I finally designed the present book in 1988, but in the meantime I had printed many of the multi-colored woodcuts. Walls was completed in January 1990 at the Quail Press in Santa Cruz. Every book required one hundred and ninety-nine pulls on my Asbern proof press. The type is Centaur and Arrighi, most of which was composed in Monotype at M & H Type in San Francisco and reset by hand with assistance from Kate Hitt and Carolina Frota. The paper is hand-made Japanese Torinoko. Among the many friends who helped with Wallsthrough the years, I am particularly grateful to Donna and Peter Thomas and to Mary and Chris Connery. This book was bound at the Campbell-Logan Bindery in Minneapolis. Walls was printed in a limited edition of one hundred numbered copies and twenty-six lettered copies. This is numbered copy 44.
Mary Laird founded Quelquefois Press in 1969 in Mount Horeb, Wisconsin, where she was also a partner with Walter Hamady in the Perishable Press until 1984. She relocated Quelquefois Press to Berkeley, California in 1988. The press specializes in fine letterpress editions. Laird has taught printing and book arts in the Art Department at San Francisco State University as well as elsewhere in the Bay Area.
Jelaluddin Rumi. One-Handed Basket Weaving: Twenty Poems on the Theme of Work. Translated by Coleman Barks. Berkeley, California: Quelquefois Press, 1993.
From the colophon: Just four years in the making, this collection of energies was an endeavor among friends to do as Rumi said: make the beauty you love the work that you do. Linen text by Madeline Pestiaux, an artist in Los Angeles. Paste-papers made here, to match the last leftover handmade Shadwell. In 1990 Golgonooza Type Foundry undertook the initial typesetting, using Sabon Antiqua. Printing dampened linen paper was a joy because John E. Malork’s super dryer kept it flat. Drawings and center print are by Mary Laird; included papers for these are Kinwashi, Ogura lace & Mohawk. . . .
In all, 125 copies signed by Coleman; Copy No. 27.
Rebis Press is the joint venture of Betsy Davids and Jim Petrillo, colleagues at California College of the Arts and Crafts (now California College of the Arts). Drawn to printing through participation in the free speech movement and the active literary scene that grew up around it, Davids and Petrillo acquired their first printing experience through collaborative work with a group of faculty and students at CCAC. Their subsequent publications under the Rebis Press imprint came out of their ventures in collaborative teaching and learning. Printed variously by letterpress, offset, xerography, and digital technology, they cannot be categorized as fine press, small press, or artist’s books exclusively. Their content is highly personal, engaging a wide range of materials and techniques.
Petrillo, who currently teaches in the Multimedia Master of Arts program at Cal State Hayward, was teaching at CCAC in the early 1970s. Davids, a member of the CCAC humanities and fine arts faculty since 1968, commenced teaching a course called "Creative Writing with Printmaking" in 1972. Book artist and author Johanna Drucker was a student in that first course. A friendship developed, and Davids, Petrillo, and Drucker collaborated on book projects and traveling performance pieces involving visual content. The volume shown here is one of this creative group’s joint endeavors.
Johanna Drucker. As No Storm, or, The Any Port Party. Oakland, California: Rebis Press, 1975.
From the colophon: Once or twice tripped hand fed Vandercooked on moisty Rives all rag at Rebis from Van Dijck much monotyped and much hand-set then sewn and grommeted and twined and all hard-canvassed on 326 copies of which 26 are signed and alphabeted. All but the grommeting by Betsy Davids and Johanna Drucker now all done.
Robin Price Printer & Publisher
A photographer by training, Robin Price learned to print from Christine Bertelson at Scripps College Press, and began printing on her own while employed as a photo archivist at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. Through the Woman's Building in L.A. she met Susan King, and worked part-time for King at Paradise Press and for Gerald Lange at USC's Fine Arts Press before turning to printing and publishing full time in 1988.
She describes the work of her press as “A kind of lifelong, liberal arts education.” She seeks out contemporary artists, writers, and artisans with whom to collaborate, striving for synergistic books. Her recent work explores the use of chance elements in concept and execution. Price has published under the imprint of Robin Price, Publisher for the past twenty-three years. She relocated the press from California to Connecticut in 1995.
The Book of Revelation. Los Angeles, California: Robin Price Printer & Publisher, 1995.
From the colophon: The Book of Revelation was designed and printed by Robin Price, and illustrated with linoleum cuts by Barbara Benish (The illustrations were illuminated as monoprints by the printer.) Gerald Lange of the Bieler Press in Marina del Rey provided digital composition and served as typographic consultant. The book was hand bound by David Brock at his studio in San Diego.
Barbara Benish began work on this series of linoleum cuts in the summer of 1992 at the studio of the Worm family in Branik, Prague. Specific influences came from the apocalyptic imagery of Albrecht Dürer, Cranach the Elder, William Blake, José Guadalupe Posada, and Josef Vachal. The artist considered the text in the tradition of the I Ching, or Book of Change.
The text face is 14 point Post Antiqua, in a digitized version based on the 1930s Berthold typeface originally designed by Herbert Post. . . . The text sheet is a handmade paper from the Velké Losiny mill in the Czech Republic. The paper used for the covers, endsheets, and case is hand-made Tamayo black from the De Ponte mill in Mexico.
Scripps College Press
The Scripps College Press was founded in 1941 as a typographic laboratory and teaching press at the encouragement of librarian Dorothy Drake. Ward Ritchie taught printing at the press in its early years, followed by Joseph Foster, who ran the press for twenty-five years until his retirement in 1971. After a hiatus of several years in the 1970s, the press was revived in 1980 by Christine Bertelson, and carried on in 1985-86 by Susan King.
When Kitty Maryatt was appointed director of the press in 1986, she instituted a program of collaborative book making through a semester-long course entitled " Typography and the Book Arts." Each student in the class jointly participates in the making of a book, including writing, setting type, printing, and binding of a 100-copy edition, as well as contributing to layout and editorial decisions. Under Kitty Maryatt’s direction, students in the program have collaborated on more than forty books. Maryatt, a graduate of Scripps College, also designs produces work under her own imprint, Two Hands Press.
Kitty Maryatt with Kurt Beardsley, Reilly Cheung, Edrick Chua, James Lippincott, Chris McCamic, Karen Pusateri, Joana Terra. Aligning the Univers / and All Sorts of Types. Claremont, California: Scripps College Press, 1994. [With folder with three specimens, 18, 12 and 14 point.]
Simplemente Maria Press with The Lumino Press
Mary Heebner is the creative force behind Simplemente Maria Press, founded in 1995. Heebner studied at the College of Creative Studies, UC Santa Barbara in the early 1970s, and entered the graduate program there in 1975, under the mentorship of collage artist William Dole. A world traveler and published travel writer, Heebner’s publications are inspired by her journeys and grounded in a sense of place. As an artist, her primary medium for more than a quarter century has been collage and works on paper, including papermaking. The books and portfolios published by Simplemente Maria Press combine Heebner’s rich visual imagery with the written word, and include collaborations with numerous poets, among them Michael Hannon and Sienna Craig.
The Lumino Press and Book Arts Studio, operated by John Balkwill, specializes in letterpress printing, hand bookbinding and graphic design. Balkwill has designed and printed limited editions in collaboration with numerous well-known artists and authors including Pulitzer prize-winning writers Gary Snyder, Daniel J. Boorstin and James McPherson. Balkwill is a graduate of Notre Dame and the Institute for the Book Arts, the University of Alabama, where he studied under the internationally recognized private press printer Gabriel Rummonds.
Sienna Craig. A Sacred Geography: Sonnets of the Himalaya and Tibet. Santa Barbara, California: Simplemente Maria Press, 2005.
From the colophon: Printed letterpress from photopolymer plates in Spectrum Democratica types by John Balkwill, The Lumino Press, Santa Barbara. Editioned by hand on a Vandercook UNI cylinder press. Assisting on the project were Kristen Langewisch and James VanArsdale. . . . This copy is part of a limited edition artist’s book by Mary Heebner.
Jerry Reddan, who prints and publishes broadsides and books of contemporary poetry under the Tangram imprint, came to printing through his appreciation of literature. As a young man he frequented the Bay Area’s bookstores, where he came into contact with poetry chapbooks and other publications printed by local presses such as Arif, Cranium, Five Trees, and Auerhahn. After attending Humboldt State University, his first significant job was with the Eureka Printing Company, where he learned offset printing as well as other aspects of the commercial printing trade. It was there, in his off hours, that he taught himself the basics of setting type by hand and letterpress printing, creating poetry broadsides and ephemera. He returned to the Bay Area in the mid-1970s to apprentice with Wesley Tanner at Arif Press. After fine-tuning his skills under Tanner’s tutelage, he was hired by both Adrian Wilson and Andrew Hoyem, working a split week between their two presses. Hoyem subsequently hired him full-time at Arion Press, where he has worked for almost thirty years. Reddan’s first major assignment there was setting type by hand for the 1979 edition of Moby-Dick.
Reddan printed his first piece under his Tangram imprint, a poetry broadside of Humboldt County poet Jim Dodge, in 1987.
Denise Levertov. Embracing the Multipede. Berkeley, California: Tangram, 1992.
From the colophon: Printed from Poliphilus and Blado types in an edition of ninety-three copies on Nideggen mouldmade paper signed by the author. Original ink wash drawing by Thomas Ingmire.
Turkey Press is the imprint of husband-and-wife team Harry and Sandra Reese. As publishers of poetry, prints, and artist’s books, the Reeses set type by hand, print with hand presses, and produce books that feature their own handmade paper. Their work integrates traditional as well as digital printmaking, edition binding, innovative book structures and collaborations between artists and writers. Harry Reese is Professor of Art at UC Santa Barbara, where he has taught book art, print, papermaking and media ecology classes since 1978. A former sixth-grade science and art teacher, Sandra Reese began making books and teaching herself the printing arts in 1975. She does most of the printing and edition binding for their publications in their Isla Vista studio.
Jonathan Williams [Meta-Fours], John Furnival [Drawings of Kilpeck Church]. Kinnikinnick Brand Kickapoo Joy-Juice. Isla Vista, California: Turkey Press, 2004.
From the colophon: the text type for kinnikinnick brand kickapoo joy-juice is narrow bembo a rarely seen chancery cursive created in 1929 by english calligrapher alfred fairbank. The title display face designed by eric gill is gill sans bold cast at the skaneateles letterfoundry and press of michael and winifred bixler . . . designed and letterpress printed on 100 pound dulcet by sandra liddell reese . . . bound by hand at the turkey press studio in sewn-boards covered with white and terracotta paper handmade from raw flax cooked in lime at the university of iowa center for the book oakdale campus paper facility.
The Yolla Bolly Press
In 1974, James and Carolyn Robertson packed up their lives and moved their active design business from the San Francisco Bay Area to the small town of Covelo, California, located in a remote mountain valley at the edge of the Yolla Bolly wilderness. There, using salvaged lumber from demolished San Francisco warehouses, they built a studio in the style of local haybarns to house books, presses and type, and The Yolla Bolly Press was born.
Initially, the press produced educational materials and trade books for publishers in New York, San Francisco, and Boston, most notably in collaboration with Sierra Club Books. In 1983, the Robertsons turned their attention to designing, printing, and publishing fine press limited editions, and continued this work steadily for almost twenty years, averaging one limited edition per year, until the year following James Robertson’s untimely death in 2001.
The design of each Yolla Bolly Press book is intimately tied to the nuances of the text and is completed with great attention to craft. Books were printed letterpress from handset or machine-set metal type on high quality papers from small, primarily European, mills and typically bound by hand. The press often commissioned original artwork and unique binding structures as well as fresh commentaries by contemporary authors to accompany classic texts, offering an “interpretation of the original text in a contemporary context.”
David Herbert Lawrence. The Man Who Died. A Story by David Herbert Lawrence with a Suite of Woodcuts by Leonard Baskin and a Commentary by John Fowles. Published by arrangement with Alfred A. Knopf, Inc. Covelo, California: The Yolla Bolly Press, 1992.
From the colophon: This book, the seventeenth issued with this imprint, was designed by and printed for James and Carolyn Robertson at The Yolla Bolly Press, Covelo, California, during the summer and fall of 1992. The illustrations were drawn and cut in wood by Leonard Baskin. The book was composed in the Bembo types. The text and illustrations were printed by Aaron Johnson at the Press, using mould-formed Somerset paper, imported from England. Endsheets for the edition were handmade at the Twinrocker Paper Mill in Brookston, Indiana. The edition is one hundred thirty copies, of which one hundred are offered for sale. Thirty-five copies have been bound in vellum at the Press by Renee Menge, are accompanied by a suite of unbound signed prints, and are enclosed in a box of bay laurel and cedar woods.