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Paper for Pedagogy

Jessica Holada

Session IV, Panel 3. “Printing and Papermaking in the Ivory Tower: Carl Purington Rollins and the Origins of the Bibliographic Press Movement in America,” presented by Katherine M. Ruffin ¶ “Through the Lens of Paper: Using the Medium’s Cultural Significance to Introduce Freshmen to Higher Education Concepts,” presented by Jae Jennifer Rossman.

Carl P. Rollins, Printer to Yale University from 1920–1948, founded the Bibliographical Press in the Yale University Library in 1927. Rollins taught a course titled “Eighteenth-Century Printing Office Practice” at the press in order to provide graduate students, librarians, and faculty members hands-on experience with typesetting and printing on the hand press. In addition, Rollins taught his students how to make paper by hand. The handwriting is by Rollins. (Courtesy of the Carl Purington Rollins Papers, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Yale University)

I always hope that APHA conference sessions will reveal not just the ‘what’ and ‘how,’ but the ‘why’ of printing history and the allied arts, moving conversations beyond technical applications alone—always a deep well for practitioners—into the realms of significance. [Read more]

When the Paper is the Poem

Jessica Holada

Karla triple mould

Karla Elling makes sustainable keepsake paper from Hesperaloe funifera fiber at the Mummy Mountain Press studio in Paradise Valley, Arizona. (Wendy Burk)

Session II, Panel 2. “Contemporary Hand Papermaking and Letterpress at Mummy Mountain Press,” presented by Wendy Burk and Karla Elling and “Experiments with Paper & Print at Paperhouse Studio,” presented by Flora Shum and Emily Cook.

Before the conference, I had the chance to see a broadside of remarkable translucency by Karla Elling of Mummy Mountain Press. The poem was by W.S. Merwin and simply titled “Paper.” Printed in white ink on white Japanese kozo paper, the broadside was designed for hanging in a window, encouraging light to shine though the sheet and Merwin’s words. The objective was not to provide easy readability or frameablity, but a close, simultaneous reading of text and fiber. The paper was arguably the poem, and vice versa, just as this panel set out to explore. [Read more]

Rebecca Romney on Hand-colored Plate Books and the Documentation of Disappearing Native American Peoples

Jessica Holada


George Catlin’s North American Indian Portfolio, Plate No. 5, Buffalo Hunt, Chase.

In her survey of landmarks in ethnographic color printing, Rebecca Romney demonstrated that they all went big. And rather than go home, some authors and artists went into the field to record tribes of North American that were vanishing as the result of westward expansion and the devastating Indian Removal Act under President Jackson. [Read more]

Tour: Thomas J. Watson Library, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Jessica Holada

Watson Libray Tour

The Master Silk Printer, New York: Oriental Silk Printing Co., 1922-1927 (Watson Library Special Collections – 156.41 M39)

The Thomas J. Watson Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art comprises over 800,000 volumes focused on art documentation (just one of almost thirty specialized libraries at the Met). Our host, Jared Ash, discussed the significance of approximately fifty color illustrated books, folios, magazines, and trade publications, all of which were displayed for conference goers on well-spaced tables, enabling us to carefully turn pages and take many digital photographs. [Read more]