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Below is a partial account of the events the Book Arts League has hosted or participcated in over the many years we have been established. The page is indeed, a work in progress and we aim to update and organize it as we have time.

Greeting Card Printing
Saturday, February 8, 2020 at 9 AM – 4 PM

Taught by Julia & Greg


Letterpress print a theme for your own greeting cards!

Let your creative side play in this fun class at the Book Arts League! Make your own greeting cards with a striking tile design from letterpress-printed sheets you set and print yourself. Each participant will decide a theme for their cards, (Valentine’s Day? Happy Birthday? Thank you? Pizza Party? or how about getting a head start on next winter’s holiday cards?)

Each person will set type for their text multiple times in a galley, a traditional metal tray for storing type. You can use different typefaces and font sizes, if you like, and don’t forget to include some of our old-time wood and metal ornaments! We’ll print your text several times on our Vandercook press to create the base for the tiles. Next we’ll cut the prints into one-inch tiles and affix them to the fronts of your cards in any order and orientation you like, letting your eye and serendipity reveal the perfect arrangement for your overall image. We will have different tones and colors of paper so that you can include some color variation, too.

Each participant will get to take home a set of twenty cards. Cost $120 for non-BAL members and $110 for BAL members. All materials are included in the fee!

Cartonera Commonplace Book

With Julia Seko and Gregory Robl

Cartoneras are books from small alternative publishers, in contrast to the large publishing corporations. Originating in Latin America, they come out of a history of political/social action, artistic vision, and making do with the resources available. 
 In this one-day class we’ll make a small cartonera-style book that will become your very own unique artifact to keep and use as a Commonplace Book.  The class will create and letterpress print a large broadside.  Each person will have a “panel” to design and print, and the broadside will have a common theme that we’ll select as a group.  We’ll fold the broadside to become one of the signatures in the book. The covers will be corrugated cardboard, in keeping with the tradition of cartoneras.  


Cartoneras are often hand-painted, so each person will create the art on the covers of their books.  Finally we’ll bind our books in the Coptic style, using the single needle method.  The size of the books will be about 6 x 4 inches, just the right size for carrying around, ready to receive your thoughts, quotes, drawings and anything else you want to put in your book. 
 Learn how to make a beautiful, low-tech book with sustainable materials.  No experience is necessary for this fun and playful introduction to printing and bookbinding.

DATE: Sat October 19, 2019 9am-4 pm
COST: $120 + materials fee

Letterpress Offrenda Altar

With Julia Seko and Brenda Gallagher

Create an Offrenda or mini-altar to celebrate the Day of the Dead (Dia de Muertos). Pressure print marigold textures and backgrounds to include with a letterpress printed name of your loved one.

DATE: Saturday, November 2nd,  2019 // 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
COST: $75 member/$85 non-member

The Upside Down:

A free-form letterpress workshop

With Brian Wood

 — {No-experience required} 

In this workshop participants will get to use antique wood and metal type to explore creative ways to letterpress print —using the type upside down!  It’ll make perfect sense once you can see the process. And you'll be hooked once you see how easy this technique is.

You’ll have the opportunity to create a series of prints using antique presses and type. We have several presses you’ll get to use, all the while creatively printing letter forms to make sayings or abstract art. There is no format or rules except letterpress + fun = the upside down of printmaking.

DATE: Saturday, Nov. 16, 2019 10:00 am - 2:00 pm
COST: $75 member/$85 non-member

Mini Pencil Book with Leather Covers

With Brenda Gallagher

Bind your very own miniature sketchbook with leather covers. This little gem holds your mini colored pencils and fits in your pocket!

DATE: Saturday, December 7, 2019 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.
COST: $120 plus materials

Call for Entries – Annual Ephemera Exchange

Deadline extended to Jan 31st 2019
Every year the Book Arts League hosts an Ephemera Exchange. You are invited to make an edition of 30 pieces and send them in.
Entries can be letterpress printed cards, hand made collages, potato prints or anything you can dream up!
Make 30 copies of your piece

Mail them to the Book Arts League:
Book Arts League EE 2018
c/o Brenda Gallagher
7963 Neva Road
Longmont, Colorado 80503

Please include a card with your full name, press name (if applicable), address and $6 for materials and return shipping.
In March you will receive the entire collection, one piece from every artist who participated.
Your piece needs to be 5 x 7″ or smaller (or folding down to that size.)
Extra collections will be available for sale to support the Book Arts League at open houses and community events.
Collections from previous years can be purchased at our events & open houses.


Holiday Open House & Sale!

December 2 // 1-4pm
Free and open to all!


Day of the Dead – Inky Fun!

Thursday, Nov 1, 2018
With Julia

FREE Inky Fun Night for the Day of the Dead! Julia has some serious fun planned at the Book Arts League.
Come get your hands dirty and enjoy the BAL experience!

Time: 6:00 – 8:00pm / Free!



Mother’s Day Inky Fun

Thursday, May 3, 2018
With Steve and Brenda

Print a cool card for mom using a flower wood cut and hand-set type from our collection. We’ll use two different presses in our shop – the Vandercook SP-15 and a small Pilot Platen Press to print two colors. 

Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm / Free!



Summer Open House

Saturday, June 2, 2018

Visit a working old-time letterpress printshop on a historic Boulder County farmstead. Watch the presses in action, participate in book arts demos, purchase locally-made book arts/letterpress items, and meet other book arts enthusiasts. See examples from our workshops and outreach and hear about our upcoming events. Learn about the history of a centennial farm and the family that settled there.  Refreshments provided.

Time: 1:00-4:00PM / Free!


APA Wayzgoose

Thursday, June 21-Sunday, June 24, 2018

Come join other letterpress and book arts enthusiatsts in Denver from Thursday June 21st to Sunday June 24th while we talk about type, ink, antique presses and everything in-between at the annual Amalgamated Printers Association Wayzgoose, or printer’s get-together. This event is open to non APA members as well as spouses. If you want to partake in the Thursday night happy hour, Friday open houses AND Saturday banquet, purchase a complete ticket. The Saturday AM swap meet and APA Auction are free to attend for the public. If you’d like to bid on one of 150 lots in the Jim Grisenti auction you must have a paddle which you can purchase here. Likewise, you can purchase a Saturday night banquet ticket and learn about the history of the Vandercook from Fritz Klinke at NA Graphics. Questions? Use the website contact form and we look forward to seeing you in Denver this summer! 

Lego Print Inky Fun!

Thursday, July 5, 2018 

With Julia and Brenda

 Drop in to the Book Arts League and try your hand at old fashioned printing—with a modern twist! For this free activity we will be experimenting with pressure printing Lego® brinks! You can design your own Lego® pattern and print lego themed pages at our free print class. If you are planning to sign up for the Lego® book binding class the following week, this would be a great time to print matching pages for your Lego® book! Children welcome. Come play with Legos at the Book Arts League!

Time: 6:30-8:30 pm / Free!


Pressure Print Inky Fun

Thursday, August 2, 2018 

With Julia and Brenda

Pressure printing is a fun, easy technique for beginning and experienced printers. In pressure printing, you create a low-relief collage image that is run through the press over a type-high inked surface, much in the same way a brass rubbing is made, creating detailed and delicately textured surfaces. Come and get creative on the press!

Time: 6:30-8:30 pm / Free!

Inky Fun Nights happen from 6 – 8 pm at the Ewing Farm in Lafayette. FREE and open to all.

All materials provided. Get a taste of Letterpress!

Oct 5th – The theme is Halloween! Perhaps you will meet our resident ghost, Goudy. Join us to make a card or other Letterpress keepsake.

Nov 2nd – Dia de los Muertos Theme
Will we be playing around with our collection of cuts? Wood type? Pressure printing? All three? Stop by to find out, and get inky!


Holiday Open House

December 3rd from 1 – 4 pm

Please join us at our last Open House of 2017 to celebrate the Holiday season. We’ll have Letterpress and bookbinding demos, Book Arts League merchandise, refreshments and good company! FREE and open to all.


Holiday Inky Fun! 

Dec 7 – 6 – 8 pm
Enjoy an evening of Paper craft with Brenda – make an ornament to give or keep! Don’t worry, there is always some INK around…


2017 August 19th –  Lafayette Peach Festival 9:00 am – 4:00pm

Old Town Lafayette on Public Road, FREE Event
Join the Book Arts League at Lafayette’s signature event! Demonstrations of Letterpress printing, bookbinding, and more. Peruse our broadsides and new posters, plus greeting cards and T shirts.

See you at Booth 19!




September 9th from 10 am – 12 pm

The Book Arts League is partnering with The Museum of Boulder to showcase the museum’s collection of letterpress metal cuts obtained from the Boulder Daily Camera. Please join us on September 9 from 10 – 12 at the Boulder History Museum, 1206 Euclid in Boulder.

Learn the basics of Letterpress! Learn how to print using a tabletop press, historical plates, and wood type. Leave with a few of your own prints!

Peruse the Museum’s collection of Daily Camera printing plates and learn about the Daily Camera’s printing over the years. Check out the Boulder History Museum before it moves and transforms into the Museum of Boulder (your ticket includes admission to these exhibits: Chief Niwot, Legend + Legacy and Storymakers – A Boulder History)

General Admission is $15.00. Museum Members $10.00


Open House this Sunday July 9th from 1 – 4 pm

Please join us for letterpress demos, bookbinding and light refreshments. 

See examples from our workshops and outreach, and hear about our upcoming events.

Tour the historic Ewing Farmhouse and Bunkhouse & learn the history of the Ewing family and their centennial farm located at 1915 N 95th St., Lafayette CO 80026.

Great company and light refreshments provided. All ages welcome!

Please park on Prairie Ridge Drive. We hope to see you there!


2017 Book Arts League Open Houses

Select Sundays from  1 – 4 pm
Join us  at the historic Ewing Farm for letterpress and book binding demonstrations, refreshments and socializing with Book Arts League members. Try your hand at running a press or another creative endeavor!

Call for Entries – Annual Ephemera Exchange

Deadline extended to Jan 31st 2017
Every year the Book Arts League hosts an Ephemera Exchange. You are invited to make an edition of 30 pieces and send them in.
Entries can be letterpress printed cards, hand made collages, potato prints or anything you can dream up!
Make 30 copies of your piece
Mail them to the Book Arts League:
Book Arts League EE 2016
c/o Brenda Gallagher
7963 Neva Road
Longmont, Colorado 80503
Please include a card with your full name, press name (if applicable), address and $6 for materials and return shipping.
In March you will receive the entire collection, one piece from every artist who participated.
Your piece needs to be 5 x 7″ or smaller (or folding down to that size.)
Extra collections will be available for sale to support the Book Arts League at open houses and community events.
Collections from previous years can be purchased at our events & open houses.


2016 July 21, 23, and August 6th –  All the Words a Page: Shakespeare and the Book Arts

University of Colorado, Boulder FREE
To commemorate Shakespeare’s First Folio! The Book that Gave Us Shakespeare, the Book Arts League will present 2 public opportunities to print a color page inspired by Shakespeares first folio!

BAL will also participate in a family fun afternoon of hand-on demos of the traditional crafts of the book.

July 21 – Colorado Shakespeare Festival at CU. On the green in front of Mary Rippon theatre 6 – 7:30 pm
July 23 – Family Fun event – FREE hands-on demos of book arts in the British Studies Room, Norlin Library, CU 1 – 4 pm
August 6th – Colorado Shakespeare Festival at CU. On the green in front of Mary Rippon theatre 6 – 7:30 pm

For more information on First Folio see this page.




2016 August 5 & 6 –  The Rocky Mountain Book & Paper Fair

August 5: 2pm – 8pm
August 6 10am – 5pm
The Book Arts League and other book arts groups will have demos, exhibits and sales.
For more information on the Fair, see this page.


2016 August 20th –  Lafayette Peach Festival 9am – 4pm

Old Town Lafayette on Public Road, FREE Event
Join the Book Arts League at Lafayette’s signature event! Demonstrations of Letterpress printing, bookbinding, and more.

For more information see this page.


2016 September 11th – Book Arts League Fall Open House 1 – 4pm

Book Arts League at the Ewing Farm FREE Event
Celebrate the traditional and contemporary crafts of the book at the Book Arts League Open House! We’ll have demonstrations in fine bookbinding, letterpress printing and other book arts. See examples from our workshops and outreach and hear about our upcoming events.

Tour the historic buildings and learn the history of the Ewing family and their centennial farm.

Great company and light refreshments provided. All ages welcome!


2016 Sunday June 5, from 1 – 4 pm

Join us for the Book Arts League Shakespeare Summer Open House

Celebrate the traditional and contemporary crafts of the book at the Book Arts League Open House!

We’ll have demonstrations in fine bookbinding and stone carving, and letterpress printing in our Bunkhouse Printshop.

See examples from our workshops and outreach. Hear about our upcoming events, including activities around the Shakespeare First Folio exhibition at the University of Colorado in Boulder!

Tour the historic buildings and learn the history of the Ewing family and their centennial farm.

Great company and light refreshments provided.

FREE ADMISSION! All ages welcome.
WHEN: Sunday, June 5 from 1 – 4 pm
WHERE: Ewing Farmhouse and Bunkhouse, 1915 N 95th Street, Lafayette

Please park on Prairie Ridge Dr. as indicated on map.


2016 April 15th – Special Presentation by Steve Matteson at the Nomad Playhouse in Boulder CO

Come out for a night of theater & typography and help the Book Arts League!
Type designer, typographer, and Book Arts League Board Member Steve Matteson will present a Q&A session with slides after the April 15th performance of the play Futura by the Catamount theater company at the Nomad Playhouse in Boulder.  He will also be giving out letterpress-printed keepsakes (see photo) printed with the League’s Futura wood and metal type!

On April 15th the Catamount theater company will donate $2 of each ticket to the Book Arts League. Please purchase a ticket for the performance at 
Simply follow these steps so BAL will receive a donation:
1. Select the date of choice and number of tickets for that date
2. Go to purchase those tickets
3. When asked “How did you hear about the show?” Answer “Book Arts League,” and give $2  to BAL.


2016 Book Arts League April Fools Open House Sunday April 3, 1 – 4 pm

Celebrate Spring and Surprises at the Book Arts League April Fools Open House. We’ll have book arts demonstrations, letterpress printing in the Bunkhouse Printshop and light refreshments, including some bookish silliness from past years.

Tour the historic buildings, see the recent renovations, and learn about the Ewing family and their centennial farm.
FREE ADMISSION! All ages welcome.
WHEN: April 3, 2016 from 1 -4 pm
WHERE: Ewing Farmhouse and Bunkhouse, 1915 N 95th Street, Lafayette. Please park on Prairie Ridge Drive.




Call for entries: Ephemera Exchange 2015

Every year the Book Arts League hosts an Ephemera playdate. This year we warmly invite you to play with us again! Make an edition of 30 pieces and send them in. These could be letterpress printed cards, hand made collages, potato prints or anything you can dream up! Make 30, send them in to the BAL, and then in March you will receive the entire collection, one piece from every artist who participated. Your piece needs to be 4 x 6″ or smaller (or folding down to that size.) The deadline has been extended to January 31, 2016 to invite more artists to contribute. All extra collections will be available for sale to support the BAL at open houses and community events. Did you miss last year’s collection? You can buy one the next time you stop in to the Ewing Farm for classes or artist events!

To play:

Send your edition of 30 pieces to:

Book Arts League EE 2015
c/o Brenda Gallagher
7963 Neva Road
Longmont, Colorado  80503

Please include a card with your full name, press name (if applicable), address and $6 for materials and return shipping.



2015 December 6th from 1 – 4 pm – BAL Holiday Open House

Book Arts League Holiday Season Open House

We’ll have book arts demonstrations, including hands-on printing  in the historic Bunkhouse printshop. Enjoy refreshments, tour the historic buildings, and come see the new improvements to the Farmhouse, all funded by the Book Arts League! All ages welcome.



November 1st from 1 – 4 pm – BAL Open House featuring Dia de los Muertos (Day Of the Dead).

Join us for this special Book Arts League Open House, when we celebrate the Mexican holiday, the Day of the Dead. We’ll have Day of the Dead-themed book arts demonstrations, including hands-on printing of letterpress posters in our historic printshop. German Murillo will offer for sale tintype portraits in the spirit of the day. Enjoy refreshments, tour the historic buildings, and come see the new improvements to the Farmhouse, all funded by the Book Arts League! All ages welcome.


WHEN: November 1, 2015 from 1-4
WHERE: Ewing Farmhouse, 1915 N 95th Street, Lafayette
Please park on Prairie Ridge Drive, see Map on website at


Tuesday October 13th 

We welcomed Steve Matteson who will present a lecture on Hermann Zapf. “Remembering Hermann Zapf” 6 – 7 :30 pm.


2006 Evetns


The BAL returned to the Lafayette Peach Festival again this August 19 and operated a lively booth featuring keepsake printing by the public on the Pilot press, free personalized calligraphic bookmarks, demonstrations of hand-sewn bindings, and display and sales of printed ephemera.


 From left: BAL member Jeff Becker sells his hand-bound books in the adjoining booth, Kay Moller. At the press: Julie Seko. Below, L-R: Visitor, Evert Brown, Betsy Dollar, Alicia McKim Tweed, Julie. David Ashley, Jill Berry, and Brenda Gallagher also helped.

Photo: Kay Moller

The BAL crew arriving to set up our booth at the Lafayette Peach Festival stood on Main Street, surrounded by boxes of supplies and the Pilot press, looking apprehensively at the early morning sky.

It didn’t look good. Memories of the biblical deluge that ended last year’s Fest were still fresh, the sky was an ominous gray, and the air felt pregnant with rain. By the time our canopy arrived and was set up, a thin drizzle was falling that somehow managed to infiltrate and dampen paper, tablecloths, even the ink on the press, but not Julie Seko’s cautious enthusiasm.

But this is Colorado! In a couple of hours, the sun was shining with all his might, and the few visitors in rain ponchos had been replaced with the customary throngs. All day long, thousands streamed by the booth, curious members of the general public, some who remembered a past experience with printing or book arts, friends of the League and book artists, and as ever, swarms of kids. Many took a moment to pull the lever of the Pilot press and print a keepsake, and many had a calligraphic book mark with their name ornately lettered by David Ashley, Jill Berry, or Alicia McKim. Many paused to watch and examine the bindings being stitched by Betsy Dollar and Brenda Gallagher.

Evert Brown alternated with Julie minding the press and brought delicious and restorative sandwiches for the volunteers to enjoy with Julie’s peach cobbler. Kay Moller and Earl Noe helped keep things organized and interacted with visitors, answering questions about the League and Ewing Farm. This hhyear, volunteers wore “Give Peach a Chance” T-shirts. As usual, past Ephemera Exchanges were offered for sale and many brochures and class information sheets were handed out. At the booth next door, Jeff and Katia Becker sold his hand-bound books.

As the annual festival wound down, the sky darkened again, a few grumbles of thunder began, and the air suddenly began to feel moist. In the entertainment area nearby, the band broke into Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams.” When they sang, “Thunder only happens when it’s raining,” the Book Arts League took the hint.

We folded our tent and stole silently away.



LOST . . . in a book


A dozen young adult readers at Mamie Doud Eisenhower Public Library got a hands-on experience with the BAL’s Pilot press in June. Kay Moller and Earl Noe took the small press to an artist’s book class taught by Gigi Yang, BAL member and librarian at the Broomfield library.

As part of getting “LOST in a Good Book,” the kids got a glimpse of how type is set and printed the book's cover on actual pieces of maps using the League's smallest, and most peripatetic, press. Gigi designed eight pages with various quotes on the theme of being lost, which the students folded and bound into a star book.

Each class member took home two books, and Gigi generously donated a number of the books to the League for fundraising.



Meanwhile, July 6, at another library, BAL member Jeff Becker was “Lost” with 12 young women. All were Lafayette Junior High students participating in the Lafayette Public Library's Summer Reading Program.

Jeff explored the “lost art of bookmaking” by starting with a short 10-15 minute history of the book. As examples he used bindings he made in workshops to show how bindings evolved as available materials changed.

Then the group made a 12 page leather-bound journal using the pamphlet stitch, Mowhawk Superfine paper, and some scrap leather Jeff bought from a company at Jefferson County Airport that upholsters private jets.

 But what the girls enjoyed most were the “Explosion Books.” Also known as a star book, this is a good binding to teach in an introductory class since it involves covering board with paper, folding corners, working with glue, paper grain and folding using a bone folder. It's also impressive as the “pages” expand to four times the size of original book. “A fun time was had by all,”Jeff said. “My gracious & helpful contact for the class was Patty Frobisher, a reference librarian at the Lafayette Library.”


2005 — {not many events listed on the old site, but it was at least noted BAL was at the Peach Fest.}

It was the Lafayette Peach Fest, August 20, and as usual, the Book Arts League was there ...
David lettered about a million personalized bookmarks ...
Betsy demonstrated bookbinding, observed by Kay ...
Julia helped visitors print a keepsake ...
Evert manned the Pilot press ...

The BAL booth was very popular because it was one of the few interactive exhibits. Then the sky opened up, and it rained buckets. Hundreds of strolling visitors vanished in an instant. The BAL members took refuge under our canopy ( L - R ) Brenda Gallagher, David Ashley, Some Weird Guy, Betsy Dollar, Kay Moller, and Evert Brown. Not pictured: Julia Seko. She was wearing her party dress, which was soaking wet from dancing in the rain. It seemed like a good idea at the time.


2004 Events

YES! A photographic report of the extravaganza is NOW available!
To view all Edible events, please visit the Tea Pages.

    ...was held Saturday, April 3, at the Boulder Museum of Contemporary Art. The League would like to thank: BMoCA, the Dushanbe Teahouse, Panasia Fusion, Juanita's Mexican Food, The Ideal Market, King Soopers, Henry Wurst Incorporated, Repeat-O-Type Manufacturing Corporation and all the people who came to see and partake!

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No. 219 Big Type Fest & Party
Jeff rolls one, under the direction of Julia

Printing a 23 1/2" by 18" poster with 720 point type is beyond the reach of most letterpress enthusiasts, but it was child's play on the League's massive Vandy 219, currently stored in Julia's barn while awaiting a home with really strong floors. Kay Moller brought the king-size wood type, and partiers brought favorite cuts, supplemented by ones from the BAL collection, to assemble the final design.
David rolls one, with an assist from Linda

    The barbecue was ablaze for grilling brats supplied by BAL and chicken brought by Kay, with an array of goodies brought by the participants ranging from deviled eggs, pie, the ever-popular chocolate brownies, and North Denver tamales. A lemonade stand run by the kids next door did a brisk business, maybe because everyone thought someone else was bringing the beer, and it was Sunday. "Next time, I'll bring beer," promised Julia.

Kay, Linda and Jeff confer: "Is it art?"

 Everyone took a turn on the crank of the big press and helped hand-ink the form. Two- and three-color versions of the poster were produced, each impression slightly different, with everyone taking a copy home. Participants were David Ashley, Jeff Becker, Linda Bevard, Bonnie Mettler, Kay Moller, Earl Noe, Julia Seko, Andy Schwartz, and Laura Tyler.

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The Peach Festival

 President Julie works the crowd.

 Ten thousand people ambled through the Lafayette Peach Festival, Saturday, August 21, according to the Boulder Daily Camera.

At times it seemed as if they all stopped, at least briefly, at the Book Arts League booth. This was the third year the League has demonstrated book arts at the annual peaches-and-antiques festival. Over 300 visitors printed a keepsake on the League's recently-acquired C&P Pilot press. A hundred of them took one of the new brochures designed by Brenda Gallagher. Dozens had their name beautifully lettered on a bookmark designed and printed by David Ashley. Lisa de Young helped David in lettering the bookmarks. Many printers' hats were folded.

David Ashley practices his art, supervised by Brenda Gallagher and Rowan Pearl Osgood.
Top photo: Evert Brown

Though few items were sold, hundreds paused to curiously examine the Ephemera Exchange and other examples of BAL workshops and classes. As usual, the old fashioned book arts technologies, the one 500 years old, the other 5,000, had a peculiar fascination for a wide cross section of people, including lots of kids. A few people recognized the old printing press from school or work earlier in life. One was Robert Sterett, of Louisville, whose family has been involved with letterpress printing since 1893.

The Peach Festival was the maiden voyage for the League's Pilot press, which has been repaired and adjusted by Rob Slentz, known in the BAL as "Dr Science." Rob built a special lift/dolly for the press by modifying a wheelchair lift he found at an auction. The Dr Science Press Lifter allows the press to be safely loaded and unloaded into even small vehicles where there is a sill enclosing the cargo space.

 Evert deploys the Dr Science Press Lifter under the watchful eye of the inventor.

Say "ah!" Open wide!

Ready to ride.

 BAL members visiting and staffing the booth were David Ashley, Evert Brown, Lisa de Young, Brenda Gallagher, Bonnie Mettler, Nancy Missbach, Earl Noe, Louise Padden, Julia Seko, Rob Slentz, and Nan Wigington.

"So who's the funny-looking man with the camera?"
-=- -=- -=-

Jeff Becker taught the Coptic Stitch Binding at the Lafayette Art Center, Sunday, June 27, 1 - 4 pm. Though this is a non-adhesive binding, PVA was used to adhere paper to the cover boards. A small recessed area was cut into the front board before it was covered allowing for a decorative insert on the front of the book. Paper was then folded, torn and nested into sections for the text block, holes were punched in the sections and cover, and finally the book was sewn.

Participants were Carly Greto, Letitia Hess and Monalisa Hess.

Said Jeff, "Since the library is only open 4 hrs on Sunday, we were short the extra half hour needed for a comfortable class; Considering how much was to be done, Carly, Letitia, & Monalisa made a valiant effort and all were 'mostly done' by closing time. I believe a good time was had by all."

Photos: Carly Greto
-=- -=- -=-

BAL members met Saturday, June 26, at picturesque, eccentric Limbo Ranch to discuss, dine, and elect officers at their Annual General Meeting. Julie Seko was reelected president, David Ashley became treasurer, and Jeff Becker will serve as secretary.

-=- -=- -=-
-=- -=- -=-
Evert Delivers
Photo: Linda Peterson
  BAL member and award-winning animator Evert Brown's carousel book, The Brown Boys, was one of 52 works chosen from over 200 entries for the traveling show, "Stand and Deliver: Engineering Sculpture into a Book Format."

The show opened at the Brookfield (CT) Craft Center on April 11, and will be at the Denver Public Library June 3 to July 29, 2005. The show's Denver appearance is sponsored by the Book Arts League, Rocky Mountain chapter of the Guild of Bookworkers, Special Collections Department of the University Libraries, University of Colorado at Boulder.

Evert's book was selected for the show's "Revealing Folds" category. According to the Stand and Deliver website, "These are books of transformation. Pages burst from ingenious containers or elegant covers and evolve into complex three-dimensional sculptural shapes. The innovative accordions, carousels, Hedi Kyle-inspired flag-books, shadow boxes, and honeycombs are a festival of folds."

See a slide show of The Brown Boys.
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A New Home for BAL Website

The Book Arts League website has moved to a new home, sharing web space with the site of BAL member Brenda Gallagher. This should provide for increased ease in managing our website and in faster-loading pages. Our thanks to Brenda for offering the new location.

The League wishes to thank the Boulder Community Network for hosting our website for the past several years. We continue to encourage our members to visit the Boulder Community Network, via the BCN links on this and other pages.

NOTE: You may wish to re-bookmark the BAL home page and other individual pages that you have bookmarked. At present, many old files remain on the BCN server, which we are trying to have removed.
Letterpress Printing Class

Julia Seko and David Ashley led seven participants in printing and binding a small artists book on the theme "Guilty/Secret Love" Saturday and Sunday, February 7-8 at David's studio.

Letterpress printing and foil stamping were employed, and it was "more work than we thought," according to Julie. Six separate print runs including foil stamped title and binding were required to finish the project.

The finished product is an accordion book with hard covers and handmade envelopes glued in. "We only got it done because David and I worked ourselves into complete exhaustion," said Julie, "but it is a cute little book." Extra copies may be sold to raise funds for the League.

Participants were: Zoe Amrein, Ann-Marie Fleming, Melissa Gray, Marylu Lee, Rachel Olson, and Dorothy Tobe. David Ashley also participated in the book.

Photos: Melissa Gray

2003 Events

Die Cutting Class
I spy... Gail Watson looks through her work while Nancy Missbach looks on.

Photo: Kay Moller

Gail Watson taught an exploration of the "dry" processes of embossing/debossing, diecutting, and foil stamping at her studio in Golden Gate Canyon, Saturday, October 11.

Cut to the chase... The die cutting was done on Gail's Pearl Press.

Photo: Kay Moller

Besides die cutting on the platen press, the group explored using dental polymer to make "counters" for embossing, which was done on using the foil stamper.

Two to Make Ready... Linda Bevard (L) and Alicia Bailey watch as Gail prepares the platen.

Photo: Tracy Bellehumeur

And after all the work and experiment, a birthday cake for Julia, baked by Linda Bevard. Workshop Attendees: David Ashley, Alicia Bailey, Tracy Bellehumeur, Linda Bevard, Nancy Missbach, Kay Moller, Julia Seko, Nancy Warnke.

And one to blow... is that sixteen candles?

Photo: Tracy Bellehumeur


Day of the Dead

The first and second days of November mark the Day of the Dead, widely celebrated throughout Latin America as a time in which the dead have permission to visit their relatives and friends on earth. This custom derives from ancient times, when the Aztecs devoted two full months of their calendar to the dead. Throughout Mexico, the observance involves the cleaning and decorating of grave sites and home altars, and colorful food offerings including sugar skulls and los panes de muertos, the "bread of the dead."

This holiday also has a tie with printing, in the custom of calaveras, or "skulls," described by Cloë Sayer as "witty epitaphs written for friends and celebrities while they are still alive." These were often circulated as broadsides, and often featured skeletons. This November 1, a group of BAL members and friends met at Julia Seko's home to sample mole, tamales and each other's potluck delicacies and to play with printing techniques employing collage.

They made whimsical "tombstones" in the form of a pressure print (similar to doing a brass rubbing) and experimented with collographs, a collaged surface that was inked and printed. The tombstones were made into a "cute little accordion book," said Julia. "Some were silly, too, I think."

Attendees included Jill Berry, Alice Turak, David Ashley, Terry Kasperzak, Nancy Warnke, Linda Bevard, Earl Noe and Brenda Gallagher.


Lafayette Peach Fest

Linda Bevard and Alan Warner man the press at the Lafayette Peach Fest in August. Visitors could pick a cut and have their name set in metal type and printed. As is so often the case, this was a big hit with the kids. Kay Moller, Julie Seko, and Earl Noe helped out. Photo: Kay
Annual General Meeting

League members met at Limbo Ranch in June for the organization's Annual General Meeting, to plan, socialize, and choose officers. Shown above (L-R) are: Nancy Warnke, Alan Warner, Janet Kiota, David Ashley, Alicia McKim, Julie Seko, and Brenda Gallagher.

Linda Bevard and David Ashley engage in blatant levity.

Members and guests dined alfresco on a sumptuous potluck, and experimented with Gyotaku, Japanese Fish Printing, using a real, redolent, and not rubber, fish provided by Gail Watson.

Julie Seko was reelected president, Laura Tyler was named vice-president, and Linda Bevard continues as secretary-treasurer.

Photos: Kay Moller
Wood Engraving Lecture and Workshop Complement Monthlong Exhibit

The technique of wood engraving was one of the key technologies that led to our modern, graphics-rich modes of communication, Diane Wray said at a Book Arts League sponsored talk on "The History of Wood Engraving." Early illustrated printed works usually relied on either wood blocks or etchings for images. Wood cuts could not reliably stand the pressure of printing in a press, and etchings are an entirely different process, so illustrations had to be tipped in separately and could not be produced as rapidly as the text could be printed from movable type.

In contrast to wood blocks using the plank or long grain, wood engraving relies on the dense, fine end grain of woods such as maple or boxwood. This allowed for durable, type-high blocks that could be freely mixed with type. In addition, the dense end grain allowed the development of a very detailed white-line technique that could portray fine detail and yield dramatic illustrations with a full range of tonal values.

Hence, wood engraving prefigures the halftone process that is today universally used in printing continuous tone images. With an affluent middle class hungry for printed material and improved distribution through the railroads, the 19th century saw the rise of elaborately illustrated periodicals that provided dramatic coverage of news such as the Civil War and the Gold Rush. Ultimately, thousands of skilled engravers worked to produce the images for periodicals. As the cheaper photoengraving process became prominent, wood engraving persisted for a time in the form of illustrations for catalogs. Today, it is practiced primarily as a form of fine art printmaking and for illustrating limited-edition books.

Ms Wray's March 11 talk coincided with a monthlong exhibit of wood engravings, blocks and tools in the main lobby of the Lafayette Public Library and a March 15 "Wood Engravings Basics" workshop taught by Laura Tyler. Last year Ms Wray donated a collection of historic tools and engraved blocks to the League. She studied printmaking and holds a degree in fine arts from the Art Institute of Chicago. She worked three years for the Sander Wood Engraving Company in Porter, Indiana. There, she assisted with the preparation of a book on the history and technique of wood engraving and a mail-order catalog of wood engraving supplies. She was also involved in the organization of a gallery devoted to wood engraving prints and a library of historic wood engravings. She now works as a historic preservation consultant in Denver.

Laura Tyler (above, center) guided a varied group including both experienced book artists and beginners through "Wood Engraving Basics" in a March 15 workshop in the Lafayette Public Library's Art Center Room. Making use of the vintage engraving tools donated to the League by Diane Wray, the group covered basic theory and types of wood used for engraving, how to select a design and prepare the block, the different types of engraving tools, how to size the tool for the individual hand, sharpening, and holding the tool and cutting.

The class then spent most of the remaining time engraving and proofing a "sampler" block of parallel and curved lines and a simple, three-dimensional shape. It was a challenging and interesting introduction to a historic art that gave the participants a deepened appreciation for the virtuosity of the thousands of vanished 19th century wood engravers, many of whom practiced their trade in anonymity. Several people who took the class expressed an interest in continuing with this difficult technique, and the League may hold additional wood engraving workshops.

Participants in the class were: Alicia Bailey, Rob Barnes, Gail Jennings, Mark Lacey, Nancy Missbach, Kay Moller, Earl Noe, Sherman Sipe, and. Rob Slentz. (photo by Kay Moller)
 Decorative Box Making Workshop

Laura Tyler led a class in making beautiful decorated boxes from the humblest scraps of paper, beads, and pressed flowers.

The February 1 class at the Lafayette Public Library's Art Center was just in time for Valentine's Day.


2002 Events

Rocky Mountain Book Festival

The 9th Annual Rocky Mountain Book Festival was held at The Ritchie Center at the University of Denver, Saturday and Sunday, April 13 and 14. Participation by the Book Arts League in the popular demonstration area was coordinated by Emily Epstein. Tom Parson, Ray Tomasso, Yunn Pann, Alicia Bailey, and other area book artists participated.

Home is Where the Book Is

Julie Seko taught a spring letterpress class in three evening sessions, with seven students, on the theme, "Home." The class briefly covered typesetting and letterpress printing with the Eaves type, some collage techniques, and in the last class, held in the art room at the Lafayette Public Library, bound the flag book structure that lay on its side and had little houses and quotes about home. "It seemed like folks liked the class," said Julie. "A modest class, but I wanted to do something before Eaves went into storage."

How to Fix Books

Carey Peck, noted book and bible restorer, taught a May 4 book repair class for the BAL. Subjects included glues, paper tears, finding the grain and how to "tip in" a page. Carey regaled the group with cautionary tales and practical tips. "Don't ever take a book apart in front of a client," she warned, before she told a tale of an evangelist with an elephant hide bible who thought she was destroying his best and most precious book. Don't have a bone folder? Carey might suggest firm pressure on the wide bottom of a plastic spoon. There was also a lively discussion of wheat paste recipes. Carey prefers a smaller batch with a dash of oil of cinnamon or oil of cloves used as a preservative.

—Nan Wigington

Just Peachy!

The Book Arts League joined other peach-crazed Boulder County residents Saturday, August 17, at Lafayette's annual fruit fest, crafts fair and antiques extravaganza. Kay Moller, Tom Parson and Julie Seko manned the League's table under the Lafayette Cultural Arts Commission tent to dispense info about the BAL, small printed bijoux, and to provide festivalgoers a chance to get ink on their hands.

Tom brought a proof press and large assortment of old-fashioned cuts from which passerby could choose and print on the spot. As usual, the printing activity was an interactive highlight of the crafts fair, and proved as popular as always with kids of all ages.

Sewing the Coptic Binding

Jeff Becker taught Sewing the Coptic Binding at the Lafayette Art Center, September 21. Seven people from Golden, Boulder, Niwot. Denver, Arvada and Montrose made a twelve section, 196 page, 10 x 6 1/2 inch book.

Steps included: Gluing the cover paper and paste downs to the cover boards tearing the paper and folding it into sections, making the template and punching holes in the sections and the covers, and finally, sewing the book.

Though the class was scheduled to last three and a half hours, it took longer than expected. Next time it wll be scheduled for four and a half hours. Attendees were: Patricia Cuttriss, Nancy Warnke, Deborah Horner, Brenda Gallagher, Christine Hurley, Gail Watson, and Ann-Marie Fleming.


BAL In the Community

Gail Watson taught a hands-on photo album workshop to residents of Balfour Retirement Community, 1855 Plaza Drive, Louisville, September 27. One participant was 100 years old. Materials and instruction were provided by BAL as part of our community education initiative.

Another Moving Experience

The League moved Eaves Press from the Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts the weekend of July 27—28. Volunteers packed the tons of BAL's type, equipment and the two presses that were in the RMCMA studio, then hauled them down one flight of stairs and up another to a waiting rental truck.

Chief engineer and crew foreman Rob Slentz constructed a sturdy ramp and a capstan device to allow the heavy presses to be safely lowered down the first flight of stairs before being winched up another ramp to the waiting truck. Eaves Press will be stored while the League pursues plans for a new, larger, and more stable location.

Louise Padden and Evert Brown kept the workers supplied with abundant food and cooling drinks throughout the day-long move. Nancy Warnke also brought food for an appreciative crew.

The League enjoyed its stay at RMCMA, and we hope to have Eaves operating again soon in larger quarters. There are exciting prospects for a new, long-term studio, but there are also many challenges to be met. BAL will need the continued support of book artists and letterpress enthusiasts more than ever.

Helping out with the move were: David Ashley, Jeff Becker, Linda Bevard, Evert Brown, J.K. Emery, Emily Epstein, Chris Hurley, Norma Johnson, Kay Moller, Earl Noe, Louise Padden, Tom Parson, Julie Seko, Rob Slentz, Chris Torrence, Mia Torrence, Nancy Warnke, Gail Watson, Nan Wigington, and Gigi Yang.

PHOTOS--> Above: President Julie Seko removes the Eaves press sign from the door at RMCMA. Below, left: (L-R) Tom Parson, Nan Wigington (partly hidden), Rob Slentz (bending over), Unidentified Weird Guy, Linda Bevard, Julie Seko, and Chris Torrence escort the S&L Old Style Gordon from the truck. Below, right: Rob Slentz operates the winch. Bottom: Linda Bevard, J.K. Emery, Chris Torrence (in truck), Nan Wigington, Norma Johnson, and Kay Moller carry equipment into our storage space. Top three photos by Evert Brown, bottom photo by Gigi Yang.



Creating With Paste Papers

paste paper by Susan Booker

The paste paper method of making beautiful decorated papers was developed over two centuries ago primarily for use in bookbinding. Jeff Becker, local bookbinder, led an enthusiastic BAL-sponsored class of eight in exploring techniques that lend a contemporary feel to this traditional paper craft. The resulting papers can be used in a variety of projects.

Said paste-paperer Nan Wigington, "Frederick Nietzsche, chaos and dancing stars were all topics in this class. With a delicious assortment of paints and two heaping bowls of wheat paste, Jeff helped his students to large servings of experimentation and play. Broken popsicle sticks, wind up toys and elliptical bottle tops were all used to help make patterns in the paste!"

Jeff's class, which was filled, met in June at the Lafayette Art Center in the Lafayette Public Library. Jeff and the BAL thank the Lafayette Art Center for the generous use of their studio space. RIGHT: (L-R) Jeff Becker, Janet Kiyota, Alan Warner. BELOW: A variety of tools can be used to control the effect. Lisa DeYoung (L) and MaryLu Lee (R) experiment with the brayer. Photos by Nan Wigington.


2001 Events


East meets West

ON SATURDAY, October 6, 2001, the Book Arts League held a papermaking class at the Art Center in the Lafayette Public Library. The paper was made from the boiled fibers of a Thai kozo plant (related to the mulberry bush), which the group beat and mashed. The papermaking techniques, taught by instructor Betsy Dollar, were a mixture of Eastern and Western methods.

The class was well attended but small enough that everyone had plenty of time at the vats. All the participants came away with half-size and full-size sheets of beige paper made from the kozo fibers, as well as blue-dyed paper and blue-dyed envelopes. A highlight of the day was the rare opportunity to carelessly fling around the word "couching" (pronounced "kooching") a technical papermaking term.

--Christine Hurley


TOP: Instructor Betsy Dollar arranges a newly-formed sheet for drying. BOTTOM: (L-R) Betsy Dollar, Emily Epstein, Richard Hurley, Christine Hurley, Ann Marie Fleming and Robin Lacey examine the kozo they will use to make paper. Photos: Jeff Becker

Showing our stuff

A DISPLAY of varied work by Book Arts League members plus miniature presses and tools of "the black art" captured attention at the Boulder Public Library's Meadows Branch throughout August, 2001. Featuring works as varied as a long garland of printed prayer flags, carousel books, broadsides, and items from the Ephemera Exchange, the exhibit was installed by Kay Moller in a tall glass display case just inside the library entrance. With glass on two opposite sides, the case invited looking through the display as well as detailed viewing from both sides. It was well received by library staff, and produced enquiries about the League from the public. The League has produced similar exhibits for Norlin Library, BPL Main Branch, and the Lafayette Public Library.

It was intense!


And in tents! The temperature, and the Lafayette Art Fair, respectively, that is. Book Arts League members braved 90 degree plus temperatures to share space with other arts and crafts exhibitors under canvas on Saturday, June 30, 2001. With bands playing nearby and bicycle racers whizzing around Lafayette streets in a criterium, downtown Lafayette took on something of a circus atmosphere.

Tom Parson brought a tightly-packed carload of presses, cuts, and printed items in support of the League's display. As is often the case, the presses, a Pilot press and a small proof press, proved popular, allowing the public a chance to interact with the exhibit by printing keepsake items for themselves. And as is also not unusual, there was the one kid who was completely mesmerized by this oldfangled technology. One 9 year-old whose parents were also exhibitors at the fair gave Tom's proof press such a workout that by the end of the day he was peddling his creations around the tent for quarters.

The League's exhibit was organized by Kay Moller and tended by Julie Seko and Emily Epstein who stayed all day; Nana Mizushima, Nan Wigington and Rob Slentz, Earl Noe, and Louise Padden and Evert Brown, who also lent tables.

Above: Ben Franklin? No, that's Tom Parson with his trusty Pilot press, and a potential apprentice.

Left: An enthusiastic young printer shows off his work. Photos: Kay Moller.


It was pop-ular!

POP-UPS, those playful papercraft constructions that bring animation to the printed image, were explored in an introductory class led by Kay Moller. Nine people joined Kay at the Lafayette Art Center, May, 2001, to cut, paste and improvise. “I loved the variety,” said one participant following the class, “from Christene’s elegant botanical card to Nan’s flying head of Rob. I also liked the way we each did as much as we could; some did more complex pop-ups or added to the basic design.”

2001 Vandercook Cleaning

 ITS TEETH were blackened with grime and needed a good brushing. Its bed was untidy and its chains were a bit rusty. So a crew of grunge-busting BAL members gathered at Julie Seko's barn in Longmont to give the League's Vandercook 219 Proving Machine a thorough refurbishing. This 2400 pound press, far too big for the current cozy studio location, has been biding its time in the barn since it was acquired by the BAL in 1998.

A big brother to the workhorse Vandercook SP-15 in the BAL pressroom, the 219 began its career in 1938 at Drent Engraving in Omaha, Nebraska. It would up in Lyons, Colorado, by way of a Denver printing equipment dealer, where a local artist used it as part of an ingenious method of printing his lithographs. But he needed the space and was willing to help the League move the massive machine. For diehard Book Arts League letterpress enthusiasts the offer of a scarce and unusual press so close at hand was too good to pass up. Finally, with the long-awaited move to the new studio in The Rocky Mountain Center for Musical Arts completed and the pressroom in operation, volunteers were free to turn their attention to a close examination and cleanup effort for the 219.


SO ON A FINE AUGUST AFTERNOON, the cleanup team met in Julie's backyard to fortify themselves before approaching the scene of the grime. There were spicy tamales and ribs, zesty cider and the traditional malt beverage printers have used for generations to ameliorate the effects of ink in the bloodstream. The crew armed themselves with rags and solvent, steel wool, emery cloth, and toothbrushes. A popular tool was the rotary wire brush mounted in an electric drill, a device which works by transferring grime from the item being cleaned to the face and clothing of the person operating the drill. Gradually, the surfaces of the press began to take on the dull glow of polished steel and bronze.

THE MASSIVE press was found to be in excellent condition, needing only minor repairs. A drive belt was replaced. Mysteries were explored: Why was an automotive lug wrench found suspended from the interior mechanism of the press? Answer: to provide just the right amount of tension to a balky drive chain. The feedboards were removed for varnishing. The climax of the afternoon came with the replacement of the massive cylinder which had been removed for transport. Several struggling printers managed to lift the awkward, heavy cylinder and crank assembly high enough to set it on the press bed. To operate properly, the gear teeth on the cylinder must engage the rack gears along the bed exactly, and the printers braced for further struggles. But when the crank was turned, the cylinder was found to be in exactly the right position, a cause of much wonderment and celebration.


THE 219 NOW STANDS READY for action. A workshop using this press with its 18 x 24 printing area at its present location will have to wait until early next year, unless some volunteer steps forward to insulate Julie's barn against cold weather.

The afternoon also marked the debut of the Official Book Arts League Tent, a canopy which will be used for shelter when the League participates in outdoor community events and festivals.

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