May 8th, 2013
Karl Kimber Merker died in Iowa City on April 28 following a long decline.
He has been remembered in many places, notably on the Princeton University graphic arts blog and the College Book Art Association blog. A detailed tribute was written by Bonnie O’Connell in 1996 at the time of a major retrospective exhibit. Those in search of a hard copy bibliography should look for Sidney Berger’s Printing & the Mind of Merker: A Bibliographical Study, published by the Grolier Club in 1997.
I’m not sure when I first met him, but I got to know him when I visited Iowa City in the winter of 1991. I took the picture above on that trip. It shows him standing at his hand press in the midst of his meticulously-organized studio. At the time he was running both his personal Stone Wall Press and the University of Iowa’s Windhover Press. In addition, he was working tirelessly to pressure the University into making the Iowa Center for the Book Arts a permanent reality.
My impression of Merker at the time was of a publisher. I wrote in the STA Journal: “Although Windhover and Stone Wall Press books are beautifully designed and printed, Merker has nevertheless earned a reputation among private printers as an advocate of publishing–getting the word out. That’s partly because he can keep his books reasonably priced: the university pays his salary, and several years ago he was able to have 18,000 sheets of handmade paper made for about 35 cents a sheet; today [remember, this was 1991], in smaller quantities, similar paper could cost another printer four dollars.”
April 29th, 2013
The Fine Press Book Association’s inaugural Student Type Design Competition sprang from the hope that by building bridges between printers and young type designers we might end up creating new material resources for the fine press community. Cash prizes were offered in two categories: text families and titling faces. The winning titling typeface not only won a cash prize, but also was to be engraved and cast in metal by Ed Rayher of Swamp Press. The jury was a lively mix of digital type designers and fine press printers: Ben Kiel of House Industries, Sara Soskolne of Hoefler & Frere-Jones, Louise Fili of Louise Fili Ltd., Chip Schilling of Indulgence Press, Andrew Steeves of Gaspereau Press, Bob Baris of the Press on Scroll Road, and Russell Maret. There were thirty-eight designs submitted by thirty-six designers, representing nineteen collegiate programs from around the world. The entries distinguished themselves, particularly in the text families, for their complexity and ingenuity. When compared to initial type releases of the hot metal era, these type designs encompass a breadth and completeness of which most metal foundries could only dream. After a number of rounds of judging, the jury finally reduced the field to six winning designs, submitted by students from Australia, France, Germany, Latvia, Mexico, and Venezuela.
Money to cover the cost of matrix engraving was provided by a generous donation from Anne and David Bromer. We were also able to offer significant cash prizes to one winner and two runners-up in each category thanks to funding provided by Monty Montgomery and Ian J. Kahn of Lux Mentis, Booksellers.
Full story here.
March 29th, 2013
This joint CODEXMEXICO / Stanford University Library / CODEXAustralia event includes an exhibition, “The Book as Art,” and an accompanying two days (April 19 and 20) of free public programming at the Mexican Cultural Institute in Washington D.C. The exhibit itself opened on March 22 and will continue until June 15. Look here for a description and instructions on how to gain admission.
The Friday April 19th symposium is described here. On Saturday April 20th there will be an opportunity to view the exhibition and to talk with book artists and printers. California artist/printers and local printers and guests will display their work. My hunch is that you need to apply for admission to this, too, but I didn’t see specific instructions.
March 27th, 2013
In the Alcuin Society awards for best Canadian books of 2012, Parenthesis designer Andrew Steeves won two first and two second prizes for books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. Current FPBA board member Jason Dewinitz won a second prize for limited edition books. Other limited edition book winners included Susan Colberg, Margaret Lock, Larry Thompson, Natasha Herman, and Holly Dean. The complete list of winners is here.
March 16th, 2013
The deadline has come and gone on the FPBA’s Student Type Design Competition. In all we received thirty-six designs from thirty-four designers, attending nineteen different colleges. We received submissions from Germany, Austria, France, the Netherlands, Spain, India, and the United States. Judging will begin this weekend!
March 15th, 2013
Just heard about an exhibit in special collections at the University of Maryland in College Park. It opened way back in September, but it will be there until July 13, so you still have plenty of time. It’s unclear from their web site exactly how much they have on display, but you can tell that they have a tremendous depth of material in their collection, so it seems as if it ought to be an interesting exhibit.
March 11th, 2013
The Wood Engravers’ Network Summer Workshop will be held at the Museum of Printing in North Andover, Massachusetts from July 9 – 13.
Miriam Macgregor, engraver at the Whittington Press, will be the guest artist. Beginner’s instruction will be offered during the workshop. See attached flyer.
March 5th, 2013
Betty Bright’s occasional blog has a thoughtful post about Codex.
March 5th, 2013
The Print Networks conference series, formerly the British Book Trade History Seminar Series, announces an essay contest on any aspect of the History of the Book Trade in the Anglophone world during the manuscript and print eras. Prize is £150 plus free entry (including food, drink and overnight accommodation) to the annual conference in Chichester from 23-25th July 2013. You need to be a postgraduate student, or recent postgraduate, or independent scholar, to enter. The fine print is here.
February 11th, 2013
See them on our Facebook page, here, with a second set here. More people attended the book fair on the first day than had attended the whole previous fair.