Monday, September 5, 2011


[Today is the first day of the 2011-2012 academic year here at CC. But I am still catching up on last year’s goings on….]

In Block 4 of last school year The Press worked with Aubrey Hirsch’s Flash Fiction class. Going in, we knew that we were going to make something, but what, exactly, would be up to the students. The Twiction project (see posts below) provided the bar. I personally really enjoyed the very public broadside aspect of that project, so I was thinking along those lines at the beginning. Another thing that made this class special was that one of our Press Deputies, Eleanor Anderson, was in the class, and her presence greatly expanded our Printer Power.

The printers were many, the fiction was extremely short, and our ambition was high, so we went big: 16 individual broadsides plus one book in an edition of 100. A week to print all these? No problem.

To make it all work we came up with a modular design for the broadsides, which would allow us to rapidly switch between different lock-ups, and would also (along with a consistent color scheme) help to unite the individual broadsides as a related group. We decided on doing titles and names in wood type (composed on press) and each student set their piece in lead, in whatever size and face they wanted (but in pre-determined line lengths).

And each student also contributed a different piece of text for the book. They decided on a title and theme and got to writing. Eleanor designed the covers. I did the page layouts, based on the design of the cover. And somehow we kept the whole thing moving and on schedule.

The professor, Aubrey Hirsch, did a broadside and contributed a piece for the book as well.

And when it was all done, the entire class got together in the morning and bound 100+ copies in about 3 and a half hours. Not bad for a group who had never really done any of this before.

And some of them got really into it. This book was made by Neal From.

The one miscalculation that we made in planning this project had to do with the distribution of the broadsides. The original plan was to put them up as a complete set in as many different places on campus as possible. BUT we finished right at the end of Block 4, immediately before winter break. And if we put them up right then, they would have been up for only a day before everyone left, and before they all would have been removed (they clean the public bulletin boards at the end of every block).  But we all agreed that, yes, we would put them up first thing in Block 5. And of course that never happened. So much changes over that winter break. But lesson learned: always build distribution time into a project. Or bite the bullet and let them live for just one day. It is ephemera, after all.

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