The official history of The Press, taken from the website, is as follows:
The Press at Colorado College, founded by Jim Trissel in 1978, is a letterpress printshop dedicated to the art of making limited edition books and broadsides. Under Trissel’s guidance, The Press became one of the finest letterpress studios in the country, producing stunningly beautiful books on a variety of subjects, from Color for the Letterpress, to Twelve Mammal Skulls, to A Selection of Poems by Helen Hunt Jackson and Emily Dickinson, and Silence. Since Trissel’s death in 1999, The Press has continued its work under the supervision of Brian Molanphy, Chris Forsythe, and Colin Frazer. Aaron Cohick is the current Printer of the Press.
From its inception, The Press has served as a classroom and laboratory for students interested in book arts and literature. Students can initiate their own projects, work on projects as part of a class, or participate in production of The Press’s books. They may learn to design books and broadsides, make polymer plates from photographs, set type, print on the letterpress, and bind books. The Press also creates “keepsake” broadsides for events in The Colorado College Visiting Writers Series, including work by figures like Seamus Heaney, Richard Wilbur, Anne Stevenson, Darren Wershler, and Billy Collins.
The short description of what we do, the one that I like to use is: “We make books. We teach people how to make books, by making books.” My main job here is to facilitate the making of as much stuff (books, posters, broadsides, etc.) in this space as possible.
All of the production and activities here at The Press center around the question, “What is the role of a letterpress and bookmaking studio at a liberal arts college?” Everything that we do is a provisional answer to that question. The Press is growing, its mission is changing and expanding, and this blog is here to document that growth and change.
We want this blog to be a living archive of the activities here at The Press. But this archive is not here for its own sake, and is not even here for the exclusive benefit of the Colorado College community. This blog is here for every person (student, teacher, professional) interested in the book arts. It is here for other schools that are running or building their own letterpress studios and book arts programs. We are in this together, and we want to share our thoughts, accomplishments, problems, and solutions with the rest of the book arts community.
There will be posts from myself, Aaron Cohick (the name at the bottom of my posts appears as “NewLights, et al.”) and from the students working here as well. The posts will document what we are up to, but they will do so, hopefully, in a reflective manner. Here’s this thing we did or are doing. How does it work? What was successful? What was problematic? How did we solve those problems? How will we do it differently next time?
And of course there will be the usual bloggish fare: announcements of events, announcements of publications, links to interesting goings-on about the web, and whatever else seems relevant.
Any posts preceding this one are from the first version of The Press Blog. The original author and date of the post is listed at the top. Extra special thanks go out to Colin Frazer and Katie Montgomery for their work to get that first version going.
So, as this blog, this Press, and this community grows, we are continuously thankful for the opportunity to do this work and to share it with you. Please stay tuned. It’s only going to get better from here. And, as always, thanks for reading.
“This Press has always depended on the kindness and devotion of students who want to help make books. What better environment is there for a student in a liberal arts college? What more encourages a range of inquiry, teaches crafts which ask the mind to work to the limits of the hand and eye, demonstrates the intersection of disciplines, the flights and vagaries of process, the focus of affection and all kinds of gratifications?” —Jim Trissel