Due to a combination of professional development time (thanks, Karen!) and vacation days, I recently spent two weeks at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign for a class on letterpress printing. The class took place at the home of The Soybean Press in the Printing Services building. Soybean Press is a cooperative effort of The Rare Book & Manuscript Library, The Graduate School of Library and Information Science, The University of Illinois Press, Facilities and Services Printing Department, and the School of Art and Design.
Some of the equipment we used and prints I created are in the gallery of images below. I’ll have these prints and more on display at this fall’s Faculty Scholarship and Creative Works Celebration. Additionally, my copy of the broadsides my classmates and I compiled into a folio with the theme of “State of Illinois” will be added to IWU’s Special Collections holdings of Artists’ Books. These books explore the many ways people interpret the idea of “book” as well as what constitutes suitable content for such vessels.
FYI, our Artists’ Books are a small part of a larger collection containing examples of changes in printing techniques and other types of book art throughout history. For now, suffice it to say that while I’ve always felt it was true, I now have the ink stains to prove I Love Type! (The blog at that link is not related to my class but the sentiment is 🙂 )
I started summer classes long before they were offering credit for them, but next summer I will have completed enough credits for the UIUC Certificate of Special Collections Librarianship. Somehow, I don’t think I’ll ever stop taking classes there, especially now that I’m hooked on book arts!