Published April 15, 2021

A Book Arts’ Online Presentation

For three-and-a-half centuries everything printed in the West was produced on a simple press of a common design. The University of Virginia has a full-size replica of an eighteenth-century press modeled after one that may have been used by Benjamin Franklin. Josef will introduce this press and its history and then give a detailed demonstration of the process of printing a small illustrated booklet on this press.

About the Speaker
Josef Beery cofounded the Virginia Arts of the Book Center as a public-access printmaking studio focusing on letterpress printing and allied crafts of bookmaking. Josef’s own work has focussed on letterpress broadsides for writers and poets. He has produced pieces celebrating the work of Gary Snyder, Wendell Berry, Charles Wright, Rita Dove, and Natasha Tretheway, among many others. Additionally, he publishes Flora Appalachee which celebrates the flowering plants of the Appalachian Mountains. His interest in 18C printing techniques led to his translation of the historic wooden screw press into a desktop printmaking tool which is used in colleges and institutions around the country. This small press, the BookBeetle provides a detailed introduction to the techniques of 18C printing for students without access to a full-size replica press. He recently designed and has begun cutting a 48-point original wood type design in beech which he calls BookBlossom. This type will allow the portable desktop press to be used with students of all ages to provide a completely lead-free letterpress experience.

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