The Friends of Dard Hunter and the American Printing History Association had their annual meeting as joint gathering this time. That means about 150 printers and handmade paper artists met in San Francisco to talk about the ways their crafts work with each other. As a letterpress printer who makes her own paper whenever she can, this was like a nerdy dream weekend for me.
First, I knew I would see former classmates from Louisiana, May Babcock and Megan Singleton. May is now based in Providence and curates the blog paperslurry, an incredible resource of paper making ideas, technical advice, interviews, profiles and process information. Megan was on her way home, in a pane-trip-out-of the-way sort of manner, after a residency at Great Sand Dunes National Park.
There was much to talk about and see, including a talk from Howard and Kathryn Clark, the retired dynamo of Twin Rocker Papers. They told stories about the history of Twin Rocker, and how they grew. I heard a panel about the different uses of handmade paper in artist's books, explored the Internet Archive, and saw an exhibition of work by members of APHA and the FDH.
Even if you don't know much about paper or print, you could see why getting all these artists and crafts people together for 4 days was exciting. My favorite stop was 8 blocks from my home in West Oakland--Magnolia Editions. They work with artists to create fine art reproductions based on the need of the arttist. Their work is incredible and varied--ceramic tiles of Chuck Close's work for the New York subways, box edition prints of Squeak Carnwath's paintings, tapestries and a 3D printer creating complicated watermarks.
By dinner on Saturday we were tired, and excited, full of ideas and a pocketful of business cards. Luckliy, I thought to bring examples of the Keep Writing Project and have some new penpals so I will be able to keep in touch with new friends.