Our Cuba Collaborative Book Projects

Beginning with a first trip to Cuba in 2003, Book Arts faculty members Anna Embree and Steve Miller began making contact with printmakers and papermakers in Havana. They led graduate students on a 2004 bookmaking trip there to finish printing and binding a book they had begun in Alabama with poet Billy Collins. See the video clips below from that remarkable time. A working trip is scheduled for February of 2014, where we will work with a Cuban poet and printmaker on a new book. Please go to Vamp and Tramp, Booksellers website for a complete description of our many projects in Havana.


Since that first trip Anna and Steve have returned to Cuba a number of times making strategic connections with printmakers, papermakers, and bookbinders, and have finished two more limited edition collaborative book projects working with their Cuban counterparts. SKIN, a 2005 bilingual book of poems by Dan Kaplan with linocut illustrations by Julio Cesar Peralta, was begun in Alabama and finished in Havana. Also in November 2005 the bilingual ILLEGAL USE OF THE SOUL by Louis Francesco Diaz Sanchez with linocut illustrations by Julio Cesar Peralta, begun in Alabama and finished in Havana with UA faculty and graduate students collaborating with the printmaker and papermakers at Papel Artesanal.


Book Arts graduate students Claudia Hamilton, Charlotte Wegrzynowski, and Gretchen Winger, and faculty members Anna Embree, Steve Miller, and Tonyia Tidline made the journey to Havana, Cuba from February 21-29, 2004. We worked on a bi-lingual limited edition book of poems by Billy Collins, DISENO. Once back in Alabama we finished an expanded edition of the same book. Our handmade and very limited edition Cuba collaborative book projectsare available from Vamp and Tramp Booksellers.


In April of 2007 Anna Embree and Steve Miller traveled to Havana with four seasoned Book Arts students to finish the binding of a papermaking-focussed book project, and work with five artists to print five lithographs into a second book. That book is centered around a new poem by Billy Collins.

On the right: Graduate student Sara Owen on the front steps of Finca Vigia, Ernest Hemingway’s home in the hills outside Havana, Cuba, November 2005.


Stan Murphy, friend of UA’s Cuba Initiative, took this video. Many thanks to Stan and his son Jay who did the video editing for us. In it you will see our visit to a renown printmaking studio in Old Havana, Taller Experimental de Grafica, Steve’s conversation, cigar exchange, and talk about a future artistic collaboration with artist Julio Peralta, and then our group working in the Havana studio of printmaker Carlos Ayress Moreno. He cut the linoleum blocks and we printed them onto handmade paper covers for the book. The cover paper was created at Papel Artesenal, a hand papermill in Old Havana.