Ewing Farm Today
The Ewing Farm buildings are all that remains of a historic Boulder County homestead settled over 125 years ago at what was then called “Eight-Mile Corner,” now 95th and Arapahoe streets in Lafayette.
The Book Arts League has partnered with the City of Lafayette to preserve the historic structures and provide for their maintenance while using the Farm as headquarters and studio. The League worked with the Lafayette City Manager and Historic Preservation Board to secure Colorado State Historical Society grants for the rehabilitation of the Farm.
This partnership with the City allows the League to continue its mission as a community resource for the traditional and contemporary arts and crafts of the book while providing a permanent home for our antique letterpress collection.
The League holds Open Houses, when the Ewing Farm buildings are open to the public. All are invited to come see the restoration efforts, enjoy book arts and letterpress demonstrations, and peruse items for sale.
The Book Arts League would like to thank the following partners and supporters of the Ewing restoration:
The Flower Bin
Garden Country Nursery
Ute Trail Greenhouse
Budget Home Center
Boulder Valley Paint
Sherwin-Williams, Boulder and Longmont
Kim and John Reinhold
Louise Padden and Evert Brown
SF Foundation II
Berkelhammer Tree Experts
Cutting Edge Tree Care
Walker Tree Care
Tree Care, LLC
Diz Duz Handyman Services
All the wonderful Book Arts League Volunteers
The Ewing Family
The City of Lafayette
The Lafayette Historic Preservation Board
The Ridge at Cross Creek Homeowners Association
The Colorado Historical Society
The Collaborative, Inc.
Art of the Land/On the Prairie
Bill De La Cruz
The Book Arts League and the Eaves Press trace their beginnings to the Little Press of Este Es, founded by Dr. John Evans, a Denver physician, and his wife, Thelma. Dr. Evans’ love of Persian art and poetry drew him to Boulder and to Mehdi Nakosteen, an education professor and an Iranian scholar, says J.K. Emery, “ who knew more rubaiyat than Shakespeare knew sonnets.” Emery, then The University of Colorado’s director of publications and a current member and adviser to the Book Arts League, describes with affection the little circle that began meeting at Dr. Evans’ Black Forest home, south of Denver.
“We spent delightful evenings discussing our passion, beautiful books. We examined John’s complicated letterpress, looked at his priceless book collection (including one of Dard Hunter’s famous works on papermaking on original handmade sheets), and listened to the organ recitals with which he accompanied his rich Welsh baritone. Thelma gave demonstrations of her binding techniques and Medhi provided Middle Eastern food well sprinkled with saffron.”
Before Dr. Evans’ death in 1967, he had started printing Nakosteen’s work, Dust and Destiny, completing only the color printing and gold stamping. Emery volunteered to finish the printing and typesetting, “probably foolishly and definitely naively,” he says. It took months of setting and redistributing from the limited sorts and printing only four pages at a time. The book was completed, and the experience gave Emery an idea: Why not move the Este Es Press to Boulder and give it a home at the university?
Nakosteen, his wife, and Mrs. Evans arranged to have the press equipment donated to CU and moved to Norlin library. The Este Es Press was rejuvenated, and the Colorado Typographical Society was born. The society, with about six members, was active until the early 70s. The Este Es Press continued to publish occasional works under Nakosteen’s leadership until his death in 1982. The pressroom remained dormant until 1983 when Nora Quinlan became head of Special Collections at Norlin. Her interest in rare books and letterpress printing led to the creation of the Eaves Press, named for its location under the eaves of Norlin’s third floor.
Around 1990, Julie Seko and Brian Allen led a resurgence of interest in the book arts, particularly the operation of the Eaves pressroom. This led to the formation of the present organization, the Book Arts League (BAL). Allen served as the League’s first president.
In 1996, Norlin Library decided it could no longer house Eaves Press. Concerned that the Eaves equipment might be disposed of, BAL reached an agreement with the University in which the League assumed ownership of the Eaves Press collection and moved it into storage. Operating under the auspices of Friends of the Libraries, BAL continued its educational and creative activities during the multi-year search for a permanent home.
On February 6 2007, the Lafayette City Council adopted a lease agreement between the City and the League for the use of the Ewing Farm as the League’s long-term headquarters and studio. The culmination of five years of patient work and cooperation between the League and the City of Lafayette, the agreement establishes a permanent home for the League’s valued collection of type and old presses. This partnership with the City allows the League to continue its mission as a community resource for the traditional and contemporary arts and crafts of the book while helping preserve a historic Boulder county homestead.