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Spring into Type Founding with Micah Currier

Micah Currier
Micah Currier and his partners at The Dale Guild Type Foundry.


Micah Slawinski Currier is a journeyman type-founder and letterpress printer. He is co-owner and operator of The Dale Guild Type Foundry.

Click here for a more in-depth (and aesthetically relevant) look at Micah Currier, in his own words.


foundry Nicolas
The first setting of Russell Maret’s foundry Nicolas, cut and cast by Micah Currier at the Dale Guild Type Foundry.


“The craft of type founding is one of the most secretive disciplines within the history of printing. In the mid-19th century two technological advancements within the 400-year-old craft created a revolution that would begin to modernize typography and printing. David Bruce’s pivotal caster was first patented in 1834, mechanizing the type casting while allowing for more complex designs and better type. Along with the pivotal caster the process of electro-depositing matrices had become a viable means for matrix production.

Type Founding: An Introduction is a hands-on class with historical lectures and discussions focusing on the two primary elements of type production: casting and matrix production. Students will learn to operate, maintain, repair, and cast type from The Dale Guild Foundry‘s Bruce and MacKellar, Smiths, and Jordan pivotal casters. The type cast during the class will be put to use in Penland’s print studio and fonts will be made up for all students to take back to their print shops. In addition to learning to cast and hand-dress type with the pivotal casters, students will learn the invaluable skill of making electro-depositing matrices, and how to set up this process at home. Being able to make replacement matrices for characters that are running low or even making an entire font of matrices is a skill that will benefit any printer’s type collection.


Dale Guild Type Foundry
Type casting equipment at The Dale Guild Type Foundry. Photo by Scott Lowe.


“Pivotal casters are hand-operated casting machines that require a bit of strength to turn over. Students should be able to do 10 pushups without too much difficulty to be comfortable casting type by hand. Students will be encouraged to spend as much time casting as they feel comfortable, but it is not a requirement of the class to be able to crank the handle for hours and hours every day. There will be many other aspects of the craft of type founding and printing to learn. In addition to working with the various disciplines of type founding, students will learn more advanced typesetting using a mortising machine, miter saw, and other type altering tools. There will also be open time each day for students to work on printing projects with assistance from an instructor throughout the class, up to final group project in the last two weeks.


Benton engraving machine at The Dale Guild Type Foundry. Photo by Scott Lowe.


“Given the limited availability of type founding equipment throughout the world, no previous experience is necessary to sign up for the course. The foundations of setting type and printing with a proof press will be reviewed a the beginning of the course, although letterpress printing experience is suggested.”

You can click here to visit The Dale Guild Type Foundry’s website for more information about Micah and his work.

And you can click here for more information about Penland’s spring concentration workshops.

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Photo of the Week: Iron studio panorama

This picture is a 360-degree panorama of the Penland iron studio. If you click on it, you can navigate around the image–left, right, up, and down. It was made by photographer (and Penland student) Christopher Ellenbogen–one of a series of ten Penland panoramas that he made this summer. You can see all of them (in a bigger, wider window) on our page at 360 Cities.

Special note: If you have an iPad, you can stand with it in your hands and turn your whole body around and watch the panoramas swirl across the screen.

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Robert Fulghum at Penland

Painting by Dimitris Katsigiannis

Imagine our surprise when we discovered that Robert Fulghum, author of  All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, took a woodworking class at Penland with his son this summer. It seems he kept a low profile vis-a-vis his fame and we didn’t notice that we’d had a celebrated literary personage in our midst until he wrote about the experience on his blog:

“Back after a two week adventure at Penland. 
If you are involved in the world of crafts, you would immediately recognize that I’ve made a pilgrimage to the heart of the world of fine crafts…
“My son, Hunter, and I decided to do something together this summer, and instead of a road trip somewhere to look at someplace, we would go somewhere and learn something. We’ve both long been amateur carpenter-woodworkers, so we chose a course at Penland called Screw It – focused on alternative methods of wood joinery. The class of twelve students made tables, experimental croquet mallets, and small sculptures.  The wood studio was huge – a wood workers dream – containing every kind of tool and machinery to do almost anything to shape wood.
And the studio was open and in use 24 hours a day…”

Click here to read the full article, plus Clothes Pin Meditation, an original short story.

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Spring into Book Arts with Bridget Elmer

Bridget Elmer
Bridget Elmer (in black & white and green) and her studio mates at 7 Ton Letterpress.


Book Structures: Innovative Forms with Bridget Elmer
March 10 – May 3, 2013 in the books and paper studio

Bridget Elmer is an artist, bookmaker and letterpress printer currently working in St. Petersburg, Florida. Bridget is the proprietor of Flatbed Splendor, an independent press that she founded in 2007, through which she produces artists’ books, prints, broadsides, and ephemera. Flatbed Splendor is a member of 7 Ton Letterpress, a collective devoted to letterpress printing, graphic design, calligraphy, paper goods, invitations, and shenanigans. In addition, Bridget is the co-founder of Impractical Labor in Service of the Speculative Arts (ILSSA), an organization for those who make experimental or conceptual work with obsolete technology, and the co-owner of The Southern Letterpress, providing letterpress artwork, products and printing to the Southeastern United States. Bridget has studied book binding, letterpress printing, printmaking and paper making at the Cooper Union, Center for Book Arts, Penland School of Crafts, Asheville BookWorks, and the California Rare Book School. She received her MFA in the Book Arts from the University of Alabama in 2010, and graduated with a second Masters degree in Library and Information Studies in 2011. She has taught book arts in a variety of educational settings, including Asheville Bookworks, Ox-Bow, Florida State University, and the Press at Colorado College.


Bridget Elmer, “We Can Go Beyond It,” letterpress-printed artist’s book, non-adhesive accordion with removable pages (Photo by Matt Rose for BoldLife)


“My love for books began in my mother’s library, when I first grabbed a volume from the shelves and breathed in the comforting aroma of old ink. Before I could even decipher the strange yet familiar symbols on the page, I was at once lost in a foreign land and completely at home.

“Bookmaking, for me, is a public act of communication. My work explores reading as a generative, creative act, and engages the book’s potential as a persistent information technology. In addition to artists’ books, I make ephemera for public events that is produced collectively, distributed freely, and whose fate is completely out of my hands. As such, much of my work is social in its conception, production and reception.


I Open the World
Bridget Elmer, “I Open the World,” photopolymer- and letterpress-printed artist’s book, handmade hemp and Mohawk machine-made papers


“I am a lover of obsolete technology. I print using antiquated presses. I bind my books by hand. I make paper from old cloth and natural fibers. I am also a lover of new technology. I design not only in the bed of the press with lead type and rubber ink, but on my laptop with pixels and Pantone. I am not interested solely in preservation or innovation, but in the relationship between the two. I am not a Luddite, nor am I a technophile. Instead, I aim to choose technologies that best serve the idea.

“My ultimate goal is to ensure that the book, regardless of its fate, can always be found in many good hands.”


Bridget Elmer, “Troubled Lyricist,” letterpress-printed artist’s book, kozo and handmade paper


“In this class, students will learn to make a variety of book structures and enclosures, from historical to contemporary, with a focus on creating innovative forms that successfully embody their intentions. Beginning with simple, non-adhesive book forms, including the pamphlet, accordion, link stitch, and long stitch, we will progress toward more advanced structures, exploring variations on the case binding and crafting a variety of handmade boxes.


Fibre Libre
“Fibre Libre,” collaboratively-produced, letterpress-printed artist’s book, hybrid accordion/pamphlet stitch (Photo by Matt Rose for BoldLife)


“Through demonstration, experimentation, and discussion, students will develop a strong book-making foundation. From this foundation, each student will be encouraged to experiment and innovate, creating hybrid forms and structures unique to their chosen purpose. Students will become self-publishers, craftspeople, conservators, librarians, and artists, all in pursuit of understanding the creative potential of the book as both an information technology and an art form.”          – Bridget Elmer

You can click here to visit Bridget’s website for more information about her and to see more of her work.

And you can click here for more information about Penland’s spring concentration workshops.

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Bobby Kadis Throws Himself Into the Arts

Bobby Kadis
Photo by Chris Seward, Raleigh News & Observer

Long-time Penland student and former trustee Bobby Kadis was recently profiled in the Raleigh News & Observer:

Bobby Kadis, head of the state’s arts council and a potter himself, had no interest in art for more than half of his life. Now 76, he was in his 40s when his wife signed him up for a pottery course, a diversion from his work as a developer and the stress of building a new home for his family.

That class led him to the Penland School of Crafts in Western North Carolina – the first of 35 annual trips to the intense school for artists in disciplines from paper to iron… “I fell in love with it immediately,” he says of pottery. “It was therapy for me….”

Click here to read the full article.

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What’s in Mark Warren’s Toolbox?

Core fellowships alumnus Mark Warren, a founding partner in Haand ceramics, was recently profiled by Design Sponge as part of their What’s in Your Toolbox? interview series.


Core fellowships alumnus Mark Warren, a founding partner in Haand ceramics, was recently profiled by Design Sponge as part of their What’s in Your Toolbox? interview series.


Mark Warren's toolbox
Photo by Taylor Ghost.


So what’s in Mark’s toolbox? How does he keep himself organized? And what does he read for inspiration? Click here to find out.

And if you’d like to know more about Mark’s Penland experience, you can click here to read his profile on our core fellowships page.