Russell Maret at the Library of Congress gets the year going / March 13, 2011
Visionaries and Fanatics was a high-spirited rant about the need for new, proprietary type design for the twenty-first century private press. Leaping off from an investigation of proprietary type design as a distinguishing characteristic of the early private press movement, Maret examines the state of contemporary lettering through the lens of well-intentioned corporate hood-winking, megalomaniacal alphabetical Imperialists, and post-sovereign web-borne pixels. From this alpha-historical muck, Maret fashions a vision of the future private press.
10" x 22" keepsake printed by Lead Graffiti to celebrate the occasion.
Russell Maret (website | blog) is currently the Chair of the North American branch of the Fine Press Book Association. He began studying letterpress printing in 1989 in San Francisco. Initially studying with Peter Koch, he went on to be resident printer in Tuscany Alley, and to continue his studies at Firefly Press in Somerville, Massachusetts, where he worked as a Monotype and Linotype compositor, as well as a pressman. He returned to New York in 1993, and began printing and bookbinding at the Center for Book Arts where he was Artist-in-Residence in 1996. In the late 1990s, Russell became disillusioned with the printed, typographic book as he had been approaching it and proceeded to spend a decade devoted to the study of geometric and pre-typographic alphabetic form. These studies, combined with his drawings of the intervening years, have recently lead him back to the printed book. A few noted books Russell has produced include: Prometheus Bound translated by Henry David Thoreau, Floating Overhead, Mediaeval in Padua, and Aethelwold etc: twenty-six letters inspired by other letters and non-letters and little bits of poetry.
There are some photos that are nice to take. This is one of them with Russell and Chesapeake Chapter member Roland Hoover. Roland was the recent recipient of a Lifetime Achievment Award for his printing via letterpress from the Chesapeake Chapter.
And you get the idea of how Roland came to deserve that honor.
Tray Nichols talking with Mark Samuels Lasner.
Chris Manson listens intently with a group around an exhibition of Russell's work put on by the Library of Congress in the Rare Book's Rosenwald Room. It is hard to stand in this place and not be stunned by the significance of the surroundings.
Russell's talk was a show and tell about the significance of propietary typefaces with private presses such as Kelmscott Press, Doves Press, and The Golden Cockerall Press and why those of us with private presses should be encouraged to bring the issue back into play.
Tray Nichols, Roland Hoover, Ray Nichols and Chris Sweterlitsch talk over the 'Rant' keepsake.
Mike Denker and Jackie Coleburn watch as Greg Robison get into his own high-spirited rant.
Stan Nelson and co-host Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Rare Book and Special Collections Division of the Library of Congress share some conversation.
Greg Robison and co-host Jackie Coleburn of the Library of Congress share some time.
Chris Manson, Mrk Samuels Lasnter, and Russell Maret.
Roland Hoover, Greg Sweterlitsch and Jackie Coleburn.
Afterwards, 12 or so of us headed up the street for some Chinese food and another 90 minutes of high-spirited conversation.
It was a great way to spend the day.
Photos by Lead Graffiti.