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On Tuesday March 5th, the day of our little snowstorm, my Illustrated Victorian Poetry class made our way down Wabash, all the way to 1104 Wabash to visit the Book and Paper Center. For our class, each one of us has to make a broadside with a poem and an image. We have to typeset it old-school style and then carve our image into wood. This experience is meant to offer a hands-on look at how Victorians might have done it back in the day.
I grew up around printing stuff (my dad works in printing), so the certain chemically smells and whatnot, the sound of a press running, and all the old type and lead and wooden box thingys really brought the nostalgia.
This is just one example of the awesomeness offered at Columbia College Chicago. I mean, for a Graduate Lit class, we get to MAKE things. And the fact that there is even an MFA program in Interdisciplinary Book and Paper Arts is just amazing.
It’s so funny to look at a book and just see it as this finished thing. A lot of times we don’t think about how it’s made or what went into it, or even how the paper was made. And today with digital printing (which is a great thing that allows indie presses to release work that might otherwise be ignored or forgotten), the book is just the final product. So, it was nice to actually begin the steps to MAKE something in the way one would go about making a book. It’s nice to see that a lot of these old machines are still around so that artists can hone their craft, creating ephemera, posters, chapbooks, books, pamphlets, etc, etc. Just from the examples we saw, there are some amazing artists working in that department.
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We get to go back in month or so. I’m looking forward to it!
Now, AWP—expect a post or two about that. Coming soon…