Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The picture at left shows some of the people in the standing-room-only crowd that came to hear our panel called, Risk & Renewal in Letterpress, at the inaugural conference of the College Book Art Association (CBAA), at the University of Iowa-Iowa City in January 2009. Inge Bruggeman (partially viewed at left, in front), Harry Reese and I talked about the changes that we see happening in letterpress today. I led off, describing historical influences that have affected letterpress since 1980. Inge followed, and then Harry. Each spoke eloquently about how their work in letterpress has developed throughout their careers. But the reason that I've started my blog off with this picture and this conference, is because, before things got started, the three of us had wondered just who would show up. There were plenty of people in at the conference--240 attendees, to the excitement of the planners--but with three panels running concurrently on very different topics, we had no idea what would be the interest level in our letterpress panel. We couldn't believe it when people kept coming in, and we were only disappointed that the discussion period at the end was too short to allow comments by only a few of those who wanted to speak. Clearly, we had hit a nerve. Letterpress--that bastion of tradition, so many would have us believe--was generating a lot of interest among artists of all ages. Clearly, it was going to continue its role as a lightning rod for discussion and debate in the book art field.