Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Squared Away

The dry asembly is mostly complete. We're putting together the pieces of the Letterpress Shanty--hanging our walls, and installing the counters and shelving. It's starting to turn into a real structure--a tiny workshop that will live on the ice.

The shanty will break down into 8 sections for transport to the ice for final assembly. We just hope there's ice on the lake come early January.

Come visit our shanty: open weekends, January 14-Feb 5!

Follow @shantyquarian on Twitter. Tag your tweets with #shantyQ to get published on an old-fashioned press on the ice.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Things we like: The Internet

Something we've been thinking a lot about lately is the way that printers/writers/artists/media types cross-pollinate between the internet and print media. We thought we'd pass on some of the exciting things we found--like this super-cool chapbook by K. Abigail Walthausen, published by Fractious Press.

On each page of the poem, there's a long, hand-cut rectangular hole--it's like one line of that page’s poem was removed, and a line from the next page’s poem is drifting up to replace it. These holes are erasures (or they're pretending to be erasures), but they also create a different kind of path through the book than we're used to, where you get to re-read the same line in different places.
The book’s colophon says that “K. Abigail Walthausen wrote The Internet to test her faith in things.” The press’s website adds:
The Internet is a series of poems, connected both physically and thematically, that explores digression of thought. The (actual) Internet, its hypertext, its menus, its links have supported the aimless navigations which act in caricature of the human brain's unexpected associations of ideas. In trying to learn about specific words and terms, the resulting answers sometimes broaden, sometimes dampen the spectrum of connotations. Meandering searches divert to unfamiliar reframings and reflect back again on familiar territory. Words can fit exactly where one expects them, as in a search for a famous quote or a plagiarized phrase, or find new meanings in diverse and surprising jargons.

The idea that someone could "test [their] faith in things" by trying to simulate the experience of “linked” digital reading in a printed book is exciting: a lot of the theoretical writing about print culture emphasizes how "stable" and "closed" printed books look: tidy pages, indexes, etc. Some people (like Walter Ong) have even pointed out that printed books seem so "complete" that it can sometimes be hard to imagine there's information about their subject that they don't include or acknowledge. That The Internet is full of holes is the whole point: there's no final product--there's only the process of reading, changing things (ideas, understandings, and actual arrangements of words) as you go.

Follow @shantyquarian on Twitter. Tag your tweets with #shantyQ to get published on an old-fashioned press on the ice.

Sunday, December 18, 2011


We finished framing the Letterpress Shanty this weekend. Now onto hanging the walls and building the shelving.

Jon, hanging.

Jeff rough-cuts the skids.

Jon attacks.

Jeff is too old for this crap.

Follow @shantyquarian on Twitter. Tag your tweets with #shantyQ to get published on an old-fashioned press on the ice.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Liberated From the Cloud

The idea of curating a physical publication pulled from internet media--this is what Letterpress Shanty is about. Of course, we're not the first. There is a growing aggregation of web-savvy artists, DIY enthusiasts, and publishers that are not just returning to physical publications like zines, artist books, and letterpress chapbooks, but who are creating new ways for seemingly disparate online and physical media to interface and interact.

Which is why we noticed this little gizmo, from the design consultancy, BERG. It's a micro printer and a personalized publishing service that allows users to create their own receipt-sized newspapers, culled from social media sites like Facebook.

Of course, we're less interested in marketing a consumable product then we are in creating a temporary interactive art form, tied to a specific location and event, the 2012 Art Shanty Projects. But BERG's ideas around Little Printer resonate with us. BERG's CEO, Matt Webb, was recently interviewed by Fast Company, and had this to say:
But why paper? Isn't that so 20th century? Webb disagrees--in fact, he thinks that paper is an ideal interface for social media. But not the kind of "social media" that pings you with meaningless updates about people you're not sure you even care about; Webb's talking about social interactions between small groups of real people in the physical world, like families. "We love physical stuff. What's great about paper is that it's made for sharing," he explains. "You can scribble on a puzzle and give it to a friend, or stick birthday reminders up on the fridge for your family to see. Paper is basically a technology tailor-made for a home full of people."
All of us, by degree, are becoming more acclimated to online socialization and production, but we are no less physical beings for it, and we delight in processes that express the physical and that make a special connection to our minds through the tactile. That's why we're doing what we're doing out on the ice this coming January.
"What we concentrate on now is density of information or delight."
That sounds about right.

We hope to see you on Medicine Lake. We'll print for you our little broadside newspaper of liberated tweets form the cloud.

Follow @shantyquarian on Twitter. Tag your tweets with #shantyQ to get published on an old-fashioned press on the ice.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

I Heart Paul Renner

Futura is pretty much the awesomest.


We love Big Jump Press. Movement, line, depth--the confluence of information, place and connection--these works are like reference guides for the imprint that comes before the dream. Check out Sarah Bryant's letterpress book, Biography:

Sarah's books are cerebral, but her conceptual mapping draws us into a very tactile space that is emotionally satisfying.  We're also fans of her book, ab[landmass]:

We'd also like to congratulate Sara for winning the 2011 MCBA Prize.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Construction Begins!

Jon gets all medieval on this lumber.

Jon occupying Bedlam Theatre.