7th Annual Edible Book Festival

By Richard Wade, WNYBAC intern blogger


Individuals across the world enjoy reading books. They also partake in eating everyday, as it is an essential function to sustain a healthy life. While reading books nourishes the mind, food provides sustenance to the body, allowing it to grow.

One would never imagine eating a book, but that is precisely what some people around the world have been doing since the first Edible Book Festival took place in 2000. The festival was created by Judith A. Hoffberg and Beatrice Coron to honor French gastronome Jean Anthelme Barillat-Savarin (1755-1826), famous for his book “Physiologie du gout”, which translates to Physiology of Taste. The event is usually celebrated on or around April 1st each year as this is the birthday of Barillat-Savarin.

Western New York Book Arts Center will be celebrating their 7th Annual Edible Book Festival on Sunday April 12 from 4:00pm to 8:00pm. The event, located at 468 Washington Street in downtown Buffalo, will bring aspiring chefs together to cook, compile, and conjure up book-related creations. Entrants will be judged by a panel of local celebrity judges in the following categories: best tasting, most creative, and best book. Judging will commence from 5:30pm to 7:00pm, after which we will all get to enjoy eating our words. Additional festivities will take place, such as a basket raffle and a free edible book kids craft.

If you are interested in participating, please visit our registration page to submit an entry. If you’re looking for inspiration, check out past entries at http://wnybookarts.org/edible-book-festival/. All ticket sales, basket raffles, and entry fees will benefit ongoing programming at WNY Book Arts Center, a 501© 3 non-profit organization.

Richard Wade is the Intern Blogger at WNYBAC. He is a May 2009 graduate of Buffalo State College, earning his bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He has previously written for Sports Media 101 and Buffalo Rising. He enjoys collecting vinyl records and attending concerts.

In Anticipation of Sunnyoutside

By Richard Wade, WNYBAC intern blogger

As a society, we read books for a variety of reasons. To learn something new or to escape from the routine of everyday life are often why we pick up a new hardcover or paperback. All good and (sometimes bad) literature transports you to another place, away from your worries, allowing you to relax.

Upon reading Our Rarer Monsters by Neil Sloboda, the words contained on the 106 pages invoked a great sense of imagery. Each sentence gave me the feeling as if I was in another world. The first poem in the collection, Bequest Narrative, conjured up similarities of literary classic Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury.

One passage was particularly vivid. In the poem titled “Community Arts,” a group of young boys roams around the neighborhood, rearranging letters on mailboxes. The “new” act of vandalism was enacted, hoping chaos would ensue the following day. Much to their dismay, the residents hardly noticed the change. Within three days, all of the letters had been changed back to their original configurations. As his cohorts complained about a lack of results, the narrator opined that they shouldn’t have listened to him in the first place. He then added, “as if manipulating a bunch of letters ever really mattered.”

This manipulation of letters does matter, as Noel Sloboda so expertly crafts. His bachelor’s degree in English and Philosophy is quite evident, as he splices in philosophical references. Linocut illustrations by Marc Snyder accompany the poems.


Our Rarer Monsters is one of the many exceptional titles published by Sunnyoutside Press since their official inception in 2005.  To celebrate the small press’ ten-year anniversary, the WNY Book Arts Center will be holding a retrospective of their work opening this Friday, entitled Sunnyoutside: Ten Years of Good Books Done Well. A large number of Sunnyoutside titles will be available for purchase, as well as hand-printed ephemera & artwork, including Marc Snyder’s woodcuts commissioned for Our Rarer Monsters.

Join us for the opening reception this Friday, March 27th at the Western New York Book Arts Center, 468 Washington Street, Buffalo, New York 14203 from 6-9pm. The event will feature short lectures on the bookmaking process by Sunnyoutside contributors & contemporaries Richard Kegler, Brian Mihok, Nathan Pritts, Kyle Butler, and David McNamara. Each of the speakers will touch on their expertise and experiences regarding design, publishing, bookbinding, and much more.

Sunnyoutside Press was first founded as an online literary journal by Publisher David McNamara in Seattle, Washington in November of 2000. Aching to reinvent themselves as a print medium, plans were made to reinvent Sunnyoutside as an independent press in Somerville, Massachusetts. More planning and preparations took place, with their first sale happening on May 5, 2005, marking the inception of the small press.

The opening event is free and open to the general public. A cash bar will be available throughout the night. Stop in and join us!


Richard Wade is the Intern Blogger at WNYBAC. He is a May 2009 graduate of Buffalo State College, earning his bachelor’s degree in Journalism. He has previously written for Sports Media 101 and Buffalo Rising. He enjoys collecting vinyl records and attending concerts.

Maude White: Birds I’ve Been

Maude White: Birds I’ve Been

September 5th-October 10th, 2014
Opening September 5th, 2014 6-9pmResized Maude WhitePlease join us for the opening reception of Birds I’ve Been, a new exhibit by Maude White. Birds I’ve Been is a series of cut paper art that examines both women and birds; as observers witnessing the intimacy and action of others, and as participants experiencing and processing events.

Maude White is a papercutting artist living in Buffalo, NY. She loves the great strength, yet delicacy of paper. Her work is done on the macro as well as the micro level. Every cut is exact and meaningful. She enjoys playing with positive and negative space to create fantastic scenes and stories. She considers herself a craftsperson and has a deep respect for the paper she transforms. In pursuing her work, she hopes to make visible to others the immense world of possibilities that every piece of paper holds.

White’s show is the fourth in the 12 x 14 series at WNYBAC, which features 5 artists over the course of twelve months; Maude will also host a free collaborative event that will give insight into her process on Saturday September 20th, 2014 from 12-5pm.

Tapestry Charter School Graduates!

Last week we had the pleasure of again assisting Tapestry Charter School’s graduating class in printing their own diplomas.

Students were given a brief crash course in letterpress printing and typesetting and then invited to handset their name using a select portion of our metal type. From there, they brought their names over to the press and placed them into a pre-set form. They were then assisted in printing off one copy of the diploma to keep, and a second copy that would be signed and presented on graduation day.

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The Fountains Gig Poster!

Local Buffalo band, The Fountains, came to WNYBAC recently for a gig poster commemorating a 20th anniversary show that they’re doing at the Alt Theatre. If you’re around tonight (May 24th, 2014), be sure to check out the show, and be sure to pick up one of the awesome neo-traditional split-fountain (ha!) Fountains poster!

Check out pics of the process and the product:

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Professional Development with Gelia Design Agency

This past Thursday, WNYBAC welcomed the digital advertising agency, Gelia, to learn about the art of letterpress printing.

The group participated in a professional development activity that involved a crash course in letterpress design (the analog counterpart to digital design) and the production of their own prints.

The studio was organized into 4 stations, each containing a press and a palette of ink. Our participants were able to tour the studio and pick out their own wood cuts, metal cuts, or type to use in designing their print.


An assortment of wood cuts from the WNYBAC collection


To start, our guests would place one (or an assortment) of their cuts on a press. They’d quickly lock them up with magnets and ink them using a hand brayer. Our guests would then overprint their original print until they had achieved a colorful, dynamic design.

The results were impressive!

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The Buffalo Small Press Book Fair 2014 and more!

This weekend was a lively and exciting one for WNYBAC. As in year’s past, we participated in the Buffalo Small Press Book Fair, an annual, nationally recognized fair, organized by our Studio Director, Chris Fritton. This year was bigger than ever, with the fair spanning two days and a handful of free events to compliment the big weekend.

Perhaps the loudest and most exhilarating event was the arrival of our good friend, Amos Kennedy.

Amos Kennedy, an energetic letterpress printer, left his job as a computer programmer to become a humble letterpress printer and bookmaker in the tiny town of Gordo, Alabama. He currently resides in Detroit, MI.

His prints defy the traditional conventions of letterpress printing, often appearing haphazardly done and without regard to precision or neatness. The result is a series of bright, bold, and truly unique prints that boast blunt, comedic, and inspirational quotes.

Amos taught a delightful letterpress demo in our studio, resulting in a finished print that read: “GOATS”.

To learn more about Amos, follow the link! http://www.kennedyprints.com

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Later that night, WNYBAC hosted a showing of “Sign Painters” as apart of the pre-fair festivities.

“Sign Painters,” the first anecdotal history of the craft, features stories and photographs of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the United States. To help promote the event, our new friend and sign painter, Christian Shaknaitis, crafted this amazingly gorgeous hand painted sign!

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The next morning we woke up bright and early to prepare our table for the fair! Taking place again on Saturday and Sunday, was a giant success. As always, it brings booksellers, authors, bookmakers, zinesters, small presses, artists, poets, and regional cultural workers together in a venue where they can share ideas and peddle their wares. It is held in Buffalo’s beautiful Karpeles Manuscript Museum, a giant church like cathedral, perfect for bringing thousands of people together.

We met old and new friends, recruited some new members, and showed off our newest prints and merchandise!

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During the fair, several free workshops were held for attendees looking for an introduction to printmaking or bookbinding techniques. Maude White dazzled her students with an intricate paper cutting demo, while photographer Max Collins showed onlookers how to wheat paste. Artist Kate Parzych shared her knowledge of the Japansese stab-binding technique in her bookmaking demo.

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The night concluded back at WNYBAC with a “Pop-Up Press” Workshop where the staff of Sunnyoutside Press (Buffalo) and InkPress Baltimore (Baltimore) taught how to create a chapbook from scratch.

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Until next year!



What’s new and cool and WNYBAC? Lots!

But the coolest and newest is our most recent batch of make-ready notebooks.

Make-ready is an inherent result in the process of letterpress. Every project includes trial and error in the positioning of the text, the pressure of the blocks on the paper, the registration of multiple colors and much, much more. Each project is guaranteed a several proofs before the final print is perfect and ready to be run off. We save these proofs and over print them 2 – 3 times, until they become a canvas for intricate overlapping colors and shapes.

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The coolest part about these prints are that they are virtually impossible to re-create and feature several different prints in one. Our most recent batch of make-ready books are our best yet, featuring our most popular prints such as: “There’s Always Money in the Banana Stand,” Maker Faire, Roald Dahl Quote Print, Game of Thrones, and dozens of other cards and prints.

We sell our make-ready notebooks in small (4” x 5”) and large (8.5” x 11”) sizes. Stop in today to pick up a few of your own!

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Mail Art & Creative Correspondence!

At WNYBAC, we’ve always been enamored by alternative economies and populist media. Lately, we’ve been paying a lot of attention to mail art. But what on earth is mail art? Quite simply, it’s any artful object sent via the postal service. There are no real restrictions on media (except what the postal service allows), but mail art often takes the form of 2d work: collage, illustration, painting, rubber stamping, etc.

Correspondence art is a great way for artists to share their work directly, and to foster creative collaborations. Pieces are sometimes sent from one artist to the next, with each adding his/her own unique style and medium to the assemblage. These collaborations allow artists who don’t live near one another to “work together,” pulling together something akin to an exquisite corpse.scannen0012DesktopResolutie

The origins of mail art are difficult to distill; Italian Futurists experimented with correspondence, polymath Bern Porter was making and sending pieces throughout most of his long life (and was the self-proclaimed “inventor” of mail art), FLUXUS artists during the 1960s and 70s focused a lot of attention on collaborative works sent via the post, but American artist Ray Johnson is often given credit for being the first “mail artist.” Johnson also reportedly sent the most shocking piece of mail art ever made: a postcard that arrived in his own mailbox a few days after his suicide that read “If you’re reading this, Ray Johnson is dead.” (For more on Johnson, we recommend a great documentary called How to Draw a Bunny).howtodrawsm

Intrigued yet? You should be! Mail art is fun and easy (who doesn’t like  surprises?), but it’s also meaningful – it facilitates a direct connection between the person who made the object and person who receives it. With that in mind, we’ve created a little Mail Art Starter kit here at WNYBAC to get you going. It contains lots of letterpress offcuts, paper ephemera, small objects for collage, and even a little glue to stick it all together. E-makes-further-ZALOP-Fluxus

If you’re looking for a little inspiration, our friend Ross Priddle from Calgary, AL, has been keeping a blog about mail art called bentspoon for over 10 years!

For more general info, the Wikipedia write-up on mail art is pretty comprehensive as well. Happy making, and keep your eye on your mailbox!

WNYBAC Visits Virgin Wood Type!

This past Thursday, WNYBAC Studio Director was lucky enough to visit Virgin Wood Type, in Rochester, NY. Virgin is producing wood type for letterpress printing the old-fashioned way, using a pantograph router to cut the characters in end-grain maple.IMG_3207Virgin Wood Type started in 2010, when the Bill Jones and Geri McCormick bought the pantograph and the original letterforms from the American Wood Type Manufacturing Company. They started out by producing 23 of American’s original typefaces, and eventually moved on to offer revival and specialty faces as well. In addition to full fonts of type, Virgin also offers catchphrases and ornaments – many of proprietary design.

The price of antique wood type has increased wildly in the last few years, due primarily to a burgeoning letterpress market that induced scarcity. For letterpress printers who don’t have access to a large collection of wood type, and don’t have the means to acquire it, Virgin provides an affordable alternative.

Here’s to Geri and the late Bill Jones for having the heart to start it all, and here’s to Derek Crowe, Paul Jones, and Geri for keeping it going. Check out the pics and the short video below!

Cutting wood type with a pantograph router involves tracing an original letterform with a stylus that’s attached to mechanical arms. The mechanical arms scale down the movements (say from 1″ to 1/4″) to a router bit that they control, allowing the operator to cut small pieces of type precisely. In this example, Derek is following the form for the letter C with the stylus, and the pantograph scales down those movements while cutting a correspondent letter C in the blank piece of end-grain maple. This process is repeated, one letter at a time, until the entire font has been routed – then each piece that requires sharp angles in hand-finished.

WNYBAC Visits Virgin Wood Type from Chris Fritton on Vimeo.