“Letterpress”: A Movie by Naomie Ross

This video is a short, simple, beautiful (and not overly romanticized) little ode to printing on a Vandercook press. From what I hear, it’s a finicky, infuriating machine that produces the most rewarding struggle most printers experience. The video’s a gem. I hope you like it.

My primary scholarly interest right now is exploring the future forms of the scholarly book. A comprehensive approach to that exploration would require innumerable fields of expertise and familiarity. No one should attempt that. I’m not stupid. At least not about that. But I also think it’s important for any scholar considering the future of the book to be familiar with at least a few fundamental facets of book culture: book history, printing history, economics of the publishing industry, etc. And those are just to enable book scholars to be able to cohabit some common ground. But if all book scholars have draw expertise from only a few areas, there’s not going to be a lot of energy to the discourse. Also, the ability for a discipline to be receptive to disruptive ideas, accidental discoveries, and corrections of misconceptions depends on the ability of those core scholars to bring in expertise from distinct fields.

I’ve been reading a lot of Johanna Drucker lately. She’s amazing. And she’s fascinated with artists’ books. Particularly, my interest in her work is where she focuses on book artists who explore the idea of the book through manipulations of the form and use of the book itself. Very self-conscious stuff. And really fascinating. I’ll write more on her work in another post, but I mention her because she’s the reason I’ve started reading more about letterpress and fine book printing.

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