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2018 Conference: Matrices: The Social Life of Paper, Print, and Art articles:

Life on Mars?

Zoe Webb

Thomas Bewick, “Cameleopard” block from A General History of Quadrupeds, eighth edition, 1824. (Special Collections, J. Willard Marriott Library, University of Utah)

Friday, October 26. “Imperfect Iterations: Duplicate Iconography in Wood Engraving Blocks,” Todd Samuelson ✧ “Postage Stamps on Handmade Paper: An Early Collaboration of Function & Necessity,” Robert Cagna   ✧ “Resisting Paradise: The Craftsman Press Archive,” Sonia Farmer 

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Brilliant Adventure

Charles Cuykendall Carter

Saturday, October 27. “The Papermaking Tradition in Central Asia,” Johan Solberg ✧ “An Enduring Master and a New Generation of Traditional Japanese Papermakers,” Rie Hachiyanagi

Johan Solberg shared his recent research on historical papermaking in Central Asia, the geographical conduit through which paper technology moved from the Eastern world to Europe over a thousand years ago. Few sources remain to shed any light on how paper was made in the region when it first appeared there in the seventh or eighth century; the lack of available scholarship led Solberg to plan a trip to Uzbekistan in search of answers.  [Read more]

Printmaking with Natural Dyes on a Vandercook

Amy Childress

Catherine Liu preparing dyes (Amy Childress)

Friday, October 26. A demonstration by Catherine Liu

Ms. Liu started her demonstration by showing participants previous printing experimentations she had created. To create her inks, Liu uses natural dye extracts, water, mordants and Akua Intaglio Transparent Base, which is a hybrid of water and oil based inks. Some of the collagraph prints she shared, showed how different natural dye and mordant inks react with different metal surfaces. It was really exciting to see her experimentations. Liu then showed participants how to prepare the dyes and mordants to create concentrated liquids that could then be mixed with the ink.   [Read more]

Keynote: Printing the Renaissance Pop-Up Book

Katherine M. Ruffin

Johannes Regiomontanus, Calendarium, (Venice:  Erhard Ratdolt, 1476), showing built-in paper instruments:  a lunar volvelle and a quadrant, and a sundial. (Art Institute of Chicago.  Gift of Emil Eitel in memory of Mrs. Emil Eitel, 1948.343.)

Saturday, October 27. Suzanne Karr Schmidt

Suzanne Karr Schmidt has conducted extensive research on the topic of Renaissance prints and the ways in which prints on handmade paper move from two dimensions to three dimensions. Due to this focus, Schmidt’s research and curatorial work address many topics that interest members of APHA and the FDH. [Read more]

New Definitions for “Watermark” and “Paper”?

Katherine M. Ruffin

National Printing Bureau of Japan. (T. Barrett)

Friday, October 26  Timothy Barrett (moderator), Cathleen A. Baker, Lisa Miles

This interactive conference session, which was facilitated by Timothy Barrett, professor and director of the University of Iowa Center for the Book, focused on reconsidering the definitions of watermark and paper. After brief presentations by Cathleen A. Baker, paper historian and proprietor of the Legacy Press, Lisa Miles, graduate of the University of Iowa and Fulbright scholar, about examples that might serve to challenge the traditional definitions of watermark and paper, attendees engaged in a wide-ranging discussion about the nature of paper. Baker presented the examples of papyrus, pith paper, and tapa. Miles shared examples of daluang bark paper made in Indonesia, and amate bark paper made in Mexico. [Read more]

Join the Gang

Robert Henderson

(Katharine DeLamater)

Friday, October 26. “Defining Collaborative Authorship in Book Arts,” Katharine DeLamater ✧ “Papermaking as a Socially Engaged Art Practice,” Drew Cameron ✧ “Survey of Modern Korean Print and Papermaking,” Steph Rue and Lars Kim

This session focused on identity within artistic practice and succeeded in delivering presentations that gave way to further thinking of ownership and appropriation. The placement of identity within arts/crafts works can be misconstrued based on the level of appropriation taken by artists/artisans relative to the participants of said work. Who gets the credit? Why does one person get the acknowledgement, but the ‘laborers’ none?  [Read more]

Young Americans

Jenna Bonistalli

Left: Mark is an Open Educational Resource card game centered on early modern printers’ marks. Logo by Amy Chen, founder of Human(ities) Game Lab. Right: A mobius strip from Emily Martin’s artist’s book what Desdemona Never Says, Naughty Dog Press, 2014.

Friday, October 26. “Teaching Materials: Book Arts, Card Games, & the Social Life of Early Modern Texts,” Margaret Sheppard ✧ “Youth Voices and Printing at the Phoenix Indian School,” E. Haven Hawley ✧ “Presence, Intimacy, and Rag Paper in 19th-Century America,” Jonathan Senchyne

Ms. Sheppard discussed the premise of books as inherently social objects and the promise of “doing rather than thinking” to better understand the social lives of book materials. She discussed empirical bibliographies (“the very act of turning the page can prompt reflection”), artist books (“performance rendered in print”) and card games (“adaptability, portability, collaboration”) as modalities for learning about the past as well as discussing our own “material moment” in the digital age. She showed examples such as where tactility lies in the digital interface itself, opening new, oblique perspectives and modes of navigation. Her work around an open source educational resource—the card game MARK—prompted much interest and many questions.  [Read more]

Ruth Lingen’s Keynote Address

Nina Schneider

Katherine DeLamater, left, assists Ruth Lingen in couching a pigmented black sheet of paper onto Leonardo Drew plates filled with ‘magnum’ bits.

Friday, October 26.  “Papermaking & Printmaking Collaborations”


Ruth Lingen introduced the audience to her decade-long work at Pace Paper—a satellite of Pace Editions and Pace Gallery in Brooklyn, New York—by showing examples of her collaborations with artists. To the amazement of the audience Lingen explained some of the paper and print requirements that constantly push the boundaries of artistic matrices. Shepard Fairey (perhaps best known for his Hope poster created for Barack Obama’s presidential campaign), the pop-artist Donald Baechler, painted pulp monoprints by Daniel Heidkamp, Leonardo Drew (sculptural prints on an enormous scale), Li Songsong’s dimensional work were discussed and explained during this lively plenary session.  [Read more]

Under Pressure / It Ain’t Easy

Nina Schneider

Katherine Ruffin demonstrates printing on an iron hand press in conjunction with the Protest in Print exhibition at the Davis Museum, Wellesley College, November 7, 2017.

Saturday, October 27. “Why the Whole Book Matters: Making Books the Hard Way in 21st Century America,” Katherine Ruffin ✧ “Chasing the Ideal Book,” Carolee Campbell


The standing-room-only crowd of over fifty attendees learned about the bookmaking practices, personal histories, and artistic philosophies of two book artists: Katherine McCanless Ruffin who shares her passion of print and paper with her students at Wellesley College and Carolee Campbell who realizes her vision of the ideal book through thoughtful concept and high craft.  [Read more]

Tour: Route 3 Press & Wapsipinicon Almanac

Isabella Myers

Left, Tim Fay demonstrates the Linotype. Right, a brass Linotype mat. (Isabella Myers)

Friday, October 26  Hosted by Route 3 Press proprietor Tim Fay


Tim Fay welcomed us into his shop in Anamosa, IA where he prints the Wapsipinicon Almanac. He’s been producing this 160-page, letterpress-printed publication featuring essays, fiction, and reviews since 1988. Before we arrived, Fay was working on the 25th and final volume of the  Almanac (published bi-annually in the 1990s). While he plans to continue printing under the Route 3 name, as he’s done since 1977, from here on he’ll focus on smaller projects.  [Read more]