CU Boulder and the Book Arts League collaborating in October 2017

Beginning in mid October, the Book Arts League will team up with Thora Brylowe’s CU Boulder English class titled “Advanced Topics in Media Theory – Technologies of Text in Print”.

The goal?  Constructing a book and making an edition of 40 copies.

2017 is the second year that CU professor Thora Brylowe has collaborated with the Book Arts League. 

The students in this upper-division course have read and studied William Blake’s poetry and have anthologized some of the poems for their own book. They have heard presentations about the history of the book, and how the production of the parts of a book add up to the finished product.

The students will consider how every step in production affects the finished book: colors of endpapers and bookcloth, head- and tail-bands, the weight and color of the paper for the pages, the size (Octavo? Quarto?), the layout of the poems on the pages, the point size of the typeface, and the typefaces themselves.

Materials have already been prepared by the class for building the book. They’ve been cutting bookcloth, board thread, preparing endpapers and sheets of paper for printing. They have even carved linoleum blocks for images on two of the pages.

The students also had the assignment of naming their press, titling their book, and writing the colophon.

During the past two weeks the class has paged their book, deciding which poems will fit within the margins of their pages (based on line count and point size of their typefaces). These decisions affect the thematic flow of the poetry in their book, or the “journey” they want their readers to take when the poems are read.

Starting the 3rd week in October the students will spend five days setting type and printing their folios at the Ewing Farm in Lafayette (home of the Book Arts League). In November they will sew their text blocks of six folios, which are signed and include catchwords. Finally, they will case them in hardcover. 

In January 2018, three members of the BAL (who are also librarians at CU Boulder) will present at the 2018 College Book Arts Association conference about the collaborative project. 

We can’t wait to see their edition! Best of luck the class on its project.