MFA in the Book Arts Program
I’m excited about two book arts studios that I’ve had the opportunity to help build: a new papermaking studio for Asheville BookWorks and now a letterpress studio for the Oconaluftee Institute for Cultural Arts (OICA) in Cherokee, North Carolina. The paper studio at BookWorks began operation in summer 2009, and we’ve had three classes thus far in the facility as well as one two-week resident. It’s a challenge to imagine a studio and then make it happen. I’ve really enjoyed that. The second studio for the OICA in Cherokee is for letterpress printing. It’s envisioned to begin with one proof press and the capability to print from metal type in the Cherokee writing system. We hope to have this facility ready for college-level courses by fall semester 2010. I keep teaching and making books when I can, and enjoying being in western North Carolina. [Frank’s imprint is Speakeasy Press.] January 2010
Mary Ann Sampson
Since graduating from the Book Arts Program in 2004 I have been working full time in my studio, The One-Eye Opera Co. located in an old renovated bank building in Ragland, Alabama. I have been making unique books, one of which has recently won “Best of Show” in an exhibit sponsored by the Birmingham Chapter of The National League of American Pen Women. I have also printed three letterpress books. One of these was a South American folk tale adapted and written by Jim Brown who teaches folklore and history at Samford University. The most recent book under my imprint of OEOCO PRESS has been Faulkner Suite written by Alabama Poet Laureate Sue Brannan Walker. We will travel to Southeast Missouri State University this fall where the work will be presented at the Faulkner & Chopin Conference. February 2008
Well . . . at present, in between snow storms, I’m working on a new book of poems with Tom Sexton, former poet laureate of Alaska. The poems are musings on the seasons as observed through the migrations and habits of birds. Tom wrote the poems over the course of several years. Some of them have been published in various literary magazines but this is the first time they will all be published in one volume. The book is illustrated by woodcuts after my own sketches of birds in our front yard, and where that wasn’t possible after sketches made from photographs. I’m printing the poems from metal type, Kennerley Oldstyle, one of Fredrick Goudy’s lesser known typefaces. I think it’s a good fit with the poems and woodcuts and is just unusual enough that those fascinated by letters may find it interesting whereas normal people (non-printers) won’t be distracted by it.
Last year I began curating a book arts collection at our local library. It’s being generously funded by the Friends of the Town of Chester Library and at present consists of about 30 volumes, making it the largest such collection in the Adirondack Park. Actually, if it had just one book it would still be the largest collection in the Park, but who’s counting.
My last book, Drink a Cup of Loneliness, a collection of poems by the Vermont poet David Budbill, is being reviewed in the next issue of the Fine Press Book Association’s newsletter Parenthesis. And I’ll have work on exhibit this May through July in The Great River Arts Institute Faculty Exhibit in Vermont where I’m teaching binding workshops this spring.
Other than that I’m teaching as many printing, binding, and letterpress workshops as I can line up. Trudy is soldiering on teaching English Language Arts in a public school by day and working for the New York State University in Albany by night. We’ve both been pouring over seed catalogs and dreaming of fresh vegetables in anticipation of a thaw come June or July. [Bob is a 2006 graduate] February 2008
Chester Creek Press
Timothy Geiger (son Jacob)
My second book “The Curse of Pheromones” was just accepted for publication in October this year from Main Street Rag Press out of Charlotte, NC. (http://www.mainstreetrag.com). Those of you who may not know, I’ve been living in Toledo, Ohio with my wife and son (Jen and Jacob) for the past 11 years. I’m Associate Chair of the English Department at the University of Toledo and I run the Aureole Press and the Toledo Review. I find having a 4 year old takes up a lot more time than I ever imagined. Aureole Press. [Class of 1994] February 2008
I attended the Book Arts program from 1985 to 1987. I learned bookbinding from Paula Gourley, how to print on a Reliance handpress from Gabriel Rummonds and from Glenn House I received the key to the papermill and his blessing to go for it. Which I did. Nearly set the building on fire, but thats another story.
I kept up with book arts, and over time equipped myself with everything that I needed to make a book from beginning to end which has been an ongoing obsession with me. My first major successful project was a book of the poetry of the North Carolina Poet Laureate, Fred Chappell. I made an edition of 50, all on handmade paper which included fur from Fred’s cats (who were the subject of alot of the poetry). There were about 40 poems in the book and I bound it using a modified Bradel binding. It took me three years of weekend, nights and vacations to get this done.
This seemed to set the tone for my future. I currently have two big projects going. I teach high school ESOL to newcomers, mostlytories in their own languages. We then translate, and add this as an addendum to the book. Our books then become part of the permanent collection of the school
My other big project will be working with a Lakota Shaman printing his seven spiritual paths. I will be printing the book on paper made with sage and buffalo hair inclusions(of course!). The money made from selling this book will be used to help build a detraumatization center for Lakota children. I hope within the year to go there and spend a few weeks teaching the kid how to make a book telling their stories, once again I will be working with refugees, but of a different sort. February 2008
MFA in the Book Arts program alumni Katherine McCanless Ruffin, Daniel Urban, and Bob Walp after supper with faculty member Steve Miller in August in Boston, August 2007.