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Book Artist Sarah Bryant Led a Printing Workshop

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MFA students received a sneak peek of what’s in store for the semester

Tuscaloosa, Alabama—The School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alabama recently held a pressure printing work shop for incoming and returning students in the MFA Book Arts program to kick off the new semester. The two and a half day workshop was held August 26-28 and was led by MFA alumna, Sarah Bryant.

Bryant’s work has been featured in collections and exhibitions in universities and museums across the U.S. and abroad, including Harvard, Yale, and the King St. Stephen University museum in Hungary.

The students in the graduate program were introduced to a type of printing called pressure printing. Pressure printing allows students to use objects such as, leaves, tape and fabric to create patterns on paper that can be used as a backdrop. At the end of the workshop, the prints the students created were bound together and each person received a copy of the finished work.

“Pressure printing is a more experimental letterpress technique where instead of using the press the way it is made to be used, we’re kind of playing around with more variable impression and pressure to create a more painterly surface with more tones,” said Bryant.

“It is kind of unusual for people who are used to printing one color at a time. It gives us a little bit more spontaneity and freedom sometimes,” she said.

Students were given the freedom to use anything that inspired them and some even used newsprint and rubber gloves to create their prints during the workshop.

“I like pressure printing when I can use it in a really deliberate way. I think it can be a texture or it can be used in combination with a wood cut or a polymer plate. I like it as an ingredient, so it is nice to play around to see what is possible,” Bryant said.

Bryant is very comfortable using uncommon objects to create pieces and encouraged the students to think outside the box.

Becky Beamer, a returning student, said, “I would like to try pressure printing in my own work; I think it is interesting to selectively use pattern material in whatever you’re printing and use negative space in an interesting way.”

Steve Miller, professor and MFA coordinator, was greatly impressed with the workshop.

“It was a robust way to start the semester,” he said. “It had the unintended consequence of all of our students mixing it up. It was great for the program.”

“Sarah is one of our superstar graduates in the MFA program that worked really hard and has intuitively followed opportunities and created a tremendously successful reputation in life,” said Miller.

She was awarded the Artist Book Prize by the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in 2011 for her book entitled, “Biography.” The Artist Book Prize is considered the highest prize awarded in the book arts field. Bryant graduated from UA in 2008 with a MFA in the Book Arts program and taught as an instructor at UA in 2007 and 2011.

The MFA program has several more workshops planned for the semester, which include Cuban artists Alejandro Sainz and Omar Sanchez in September and October.

Contact: Julessa Oglen

Phone: 205-348-4610