Virginia Arts of the Book Center ~ Virginia
(Kevin McFadden, Virginia Foundation for Humanities)          
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VABC: "The Virginia Arts of the Book Center is a community of artists exploring books, paper, and printmaking through a hands-on studio of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities. We cultivate an appreciation of the arts of the book, visual and verbal literacy, and creativity while fostering traditional and contemporary skills.

“To this end we operate a working studio and print shop to which community members may gain access and through which they can gain training in the art and crafts of printing, printmaking, and book arts. We strive to bring professional artists into contact with students, interns, and community members.”


Speaking in Faces
A Type Specimen Book

By Virginia Arts of the Book Center
Charlottesville: Virginia Arts of the Book Center, 2017. Edition of 25.

8.9 x 11"; 112 pages. Printed letterpress on Crane's Lettra paper (300 gsm). Body text in Garamond. Labels in Gill Sans. Boards covered in marbled paper crafted by Lindsey Mears with cloth spine. Numbered. Designer and printer -Lucas Czarnecki. Editor and printer - Kevin McFadden. Master printer - Garrett Queen. Consulting compositors - Bonnie Berstein, Richard Cappuccio, and Aurora Nichols.

Virginia Arts of the Book Center, Project Background: "The first pages of this volume were printed more than a decade ago in a daunting attempt to produce a complete reference to the entire collection of the movable type available to VABC printers.

"Speaking in Faces, a project begun at VABC in 2004 by Johanna Drucker with VABC artists, is a unique specimen book, a creative resource for exploring letterpress printing, typography, and the treasures of our large and unique moveable type collection. VABC holds cases of Baskerville, Bernhard, Bodoni, Caslon, Garamond, Goudy, Franklin, Kennerly, Lydian, Spartan, and Stymie faces, among a diversity of other display fonts, dingbats, and wood type.

"The VABC collection (at more than 375 cases) is the largest collection of moveable type accessible to artists in Virginia; it is also among the largest collections in the Mid-Atlantic. Yet printers and artists who come to use the studio's type lack a basic resource to see printed letter forms at work and play -- no simple way to pick one face from a crowd!

"Typefaces in the book will be treated as a nexus of function (letters, words, and meaning) and form (visual and artistic display) that operate in a blend of verbal and nonverbal communication, just as human faces do."

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The Bad Quarto
By Virginia Arts of the Book Center
Charlottesville: Virginia Arts of the Book Center, 2015. Edition of 55.

8 x 10"; 68 pages. Printed on Mohawk Superfine, softwhite eggshell. Images from first folio Hamlet, British Library C.34.k.1. Numbered. Red cloth over boards with titles in black on front cover. Edition of 55: 5 deluxe leather copies, 45 cloth copies and 5 unbound signatures.

Virginia Arts of the Book Center: "In celebration of 20 years as a community of artists exploring books, paper, printmaking, the Virginia Arts of the Book is proud to debut its latest collaborative project, The Bad Quarto. The handbound artist’s book is an exploration of the first publication of Shakespeare’s Hamlet.

"The VABC's creation is a 68-page, cloth-bound production of the play featuring digital and traditional printing methods. No words appear except those that graced the original pages of the 1603 publication (alias Quarto 1 or Q1).

"Early scholars disdained this version as one of the 'stol’n and surreptitious copies, maimed and deformed by frauds and stealths of injurious impostors.' Today’s scholars are more inclined to regard Q1 as either an early draft of the play or a 'tourbook copy' edited for production by a small company of actors. In creating our own version of The Bad Quarto, we will be visually and textually exploring this controversial artifact." blog: "When we hold a VABC collaborative project like The Bad Quatro in our hands, we see the product of many hands and many hours of creative labor. More than twenty VABC artists spent this spring and summer in meetings, studying the facsimiles of the Q1 text available online from the British Library to understand not just the variations of the text, but the eccentricity of the very copy we were looking at. Marginalia, notes, conventions of seventeenth century printing.

"We met with Washington & Lee professor Hank Dobin to talk about how such an early and variant copy of Hamlet might have come into existence. Usually, it’s a bibliographic convention to give some primacy to the first published edition. But that wasn’t the way it worked for the curious case of the bad quarto. This text likely spent a lot of time away from the Bard, perhaps as a traveling company’s version. Many believe it was reconstructed from memory and a few actors’ 'sides' and prefer Q2 or the 1623 First Folio.

"Then came the planning and design for an artist’s book. We made four printing teams that each took a number of signatures and began to work with the following constraints: the only words that could appear on any page had to be from the assigned page in Q1; they could be re-arranged, excerpted, or cut ; we limited the color pallete to red, black, white (or variations of those colors) and then a little silver for panache; facsimile versions of the page could appear (beautifully produced with a digital printer) but other design/traditional methods must appear in the spread."
$500 standard
$650 deluxe

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By uzanne McClelland
Charlottesville: Virginia Arts of the Book Center, 2013. Edition of 100.

Paper clamshell box (6.5 x 4 x 2.5”) containing unbound pieces. 4 (6.5 x 19”) accordion pages , 4 folded broadside sheets, 40 (6.5 x 3”) cards, 6 (3.25 x 6.5”) lightweight papers forming a text. Signed and numbered on the colophon card by the artist.

G.S. Queen supervised the printing, Kristin Adolfson provided layout and design. Student research and printing teams: Mary Wells Ball, Courtney Dobrucky, Kate Farrell, Will Frazier, Elise Virginia Heartwell, Alli Herget, Caleb Jang, Victoria Kornick, Elizabeth Y. Pak, Thomas Pierce, Kana Saechout, Kiyoko Timmons, Alessandra van der Meulen, Alison Westfall. Printing and collating was concluded during the summer of 2013 by Shailagh Kennedy.

Virginia Arts of the Book Center website: "Suzanne McClelland worked closely throughout the spring semester with the class taught by Professor Dean Dass –Special Topics in Printmaking: The Artist’s Book – to create CEDE. The collection is exploration in images, superimpositions, and text of the ways we demand and surrender space. Among its themes are peace and aggression, handshakes and fists, soft vowels and hard liners."

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The Atlas of Vanishing Knowledge
By Members of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center
Charlottesville: Virginia Arts of the Book Center, 2012. Edition of 60.

4 x 6"; 156 pages. Handbound, cloth covered, coptic stitched. Printed pages on Rives Lightweight paper. Numbered on the colophon.

Virginia Arts of the Book Center website: "The Atlas of Vanishing Knowledge is the VABC 2012 Collaborative project. It is the work of 28 member artists and binders using traditional printing methods in what appears to be part-reference work and in part-commonplace book for a vanishing world — backlit by the prospect of a 2012 apocalypse — a flawed but urgent bulwark against the erosions of time and human memory."

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By Members of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center
Charlottesville: Virginia Arts of the Book Center, 2011. Edition of 40.

4 x 6.5"; 26 postcards. Laid in paper wrapper with twine closure. Numbered.

Virginia Arts of the Book Center website: "Postmark, 2011, collection of 26 postcard-influenced works in paper wrapper with twine. Featuring works by Katie Barr, Josef Beery, Bonnie Bernstein, Jennifer Billingsly, Addeane Caelleigh, Janet Eden, Stacey Evans, Leigh Freilich, Matthew Gibson, Angie Hogan, Sarah Knorr, Nancy Kober, Lana Lambert, Melanie Lower, Kevin McFadden, Kirsten Miles, Amanda Nelsen, Barbara Payne, Charles Peale, Laura Pharis, Jeff Pike, Garrett Queen, Frank Riccio, Joan Schatzman, Rachel Singel, and Michael Swanberg.”

The introduction asks a number of question about the role of postcards in our culture. "What do you want to remember? Can postcards tell history? History or art? … In our brave, new oversaturated digital age, in which communication is excessive and so highly ephemeral as to exist only 'virtually,' will printed ephemera become quaint and collectible, or will it be elevated to an art form and therefore lose its original ephemeral quality?”

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Infinite Stakes: A Contemporary Cartomancy Deck
By Members of Virginia Arts of the Book Center
Charlottesville: Virginia Arts of the Book Center, 2010. Edition of 75.

4.5 x 7"; 45 cards. Printed on both sides. Numbered on the artists' attribution card. Laid in handmade paper-covered wrapper with ribbon and metal slip closure.

Virginia Arts of the Book Center website: "Our group project for the fall 2010 Auction was a magnificent deck of 43 cards."

Introduction: "Once upon a time, a few dozen artists met together to consider ENDLESS WAR, GROWTH, and POWER – among other topics of their times – which they printed and sealed in a box. The box was small, but it had SEX enough for EMPIRE. They called it INFINITE STAKES. They proposed to all who opened the box that they first ask themselves a question only they could ask, and to pull a card which would present some response to that question."

Card back design by Frank Riccio. Participating artists include Kristin Adolfson, Josef Beery, Bonnie Berstein, Patrick Costello, Dean Dass, Stacey Evans, Matthew Gibson, Barbara Heritage, Angie Hogan, Nancy Kober, Sarah Knorr, Ashley Malcolm, Kevin McFadden, Lindsey Mears, Mark Meier, Catherine Moore, Charles Peale, Frank Riccio, Garrett Queen, Joani Schatzman, Rachel Singel, Kristin Smith, Maggie Sullivan, Michael Swanberg, Jesse Wells.

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Hesitant Ruin
By Members of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center
Charlottesville: Virginia Arts of the Book Center, 2008. Edition of 40.

12 x 11"; 22 leaves. Letterpress printed. Bound in paper wraps with stab binding. Signed and numbered by the artists on the colophon.

Virginia Arts of the Book Center: "Hesitant Ruin, a collaborative bound book created by the artists of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center, Charlottesville, 2007. All images were collected on the theme of time, decay, or ruin. The title and direction were supplied by randomized pairings of adjectives and nouns. . . . Hesitant Ruin was selected and parameters for the collection were set. "


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Virginia Arts of the Book Center SOLD / Out of Print Titles:

By Members of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center
Charlottesville: Virginia Arts of the Book Center, 2014. Edition of 100.

Hand-crafted ephemera in a sewing box. Processes: Giclée, watercolor, embroidery, letterpress, quilting, digital print, offset print, photocopy, decoupage. Numbered on lid of sewing box.

Virginia Arts of the Book Center website: "Imagine that a sewing box belonging to a young garment worker named Rosie, who perished in the New York City Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire in 1911, has been passed on through four generations of women in her family. A century later it belongs to her great-grandniece, Katya, who designs low-cost clothing that is manufactured overseas for the U.S. retail market.

"In November 2012, flames raced through the Tazreen Fashions factory outside Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, killing 112 workers under circumstances uncannily similar to the Triangle fire. The workers were sewing clothing for several global retailers, including Walmart.

"The Triangle and Tazreen fires are emblematic of the dangerous, inhumane working conditions and deprivations that many workers continue to endure in order to scrape together a meager living and support their families. They move us to look more carefully at lives that intersect with ours but have become almost invisible to us.

“The members of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center asked this question: What can the contents of a sewing box—a collection of 'vintage' notions used to stitch and mend, saved scraps, cached papers, and other seemingly arbitrary objects—reveal about the personal history of the young immigrant who first owned it, the social history of her time, and the lives of others who have added their own artifacts along the way?

"A family sewing box, passed on through four generations, reveals a story of factory girls, fatal fires, and the common threads that bind us all."

Postcard from Rosie’s fiancé. Artist: Yolanda Merrill. Antique postcard giclée printed on Arches watercolor paper, hand-tinted with watercolors, and letterpress printed on back.
Rosie’s ruined piece work. Artists: Lotta Helleberg and Dorothy Smith. White cotton shirtwaist collar, machine-stitched, with hand-embroidered inscription.
Rosie’s charm string and button jar. Artists: Janet Eden and Frank Riccio. Buttons strung and knotted onto a string, saved in a jam jar with original label art.
Smocking for Mrs. Vanderbilt. Artist: Barbara Payne. Cotton embroidery floss on muslin
Sewn in my own heart’s blood. Artist: Dorothy Smith. Letterpress printing on newsprint with hand-sewn embellishment.
Smoldering fire. Artists: Barbara Payne and Laura Sprung. Reprint of historic New York Times article accompanied by song lyrics typed on manual typewriter.
Rachel’s yarn card. Artist: Janet Eden. Letterpress printed card with vintage yarn.
Lue’s letter to Rachel. Artist: Rachel Singel. Original letter printed on letterpress, vintage photo enclosed.
Betsy McCall moves forward. Artists: Dorothy Smith and Cecilia Sorochin. Vintage Betsy McCall paper doll enclosed in a cardstock folder imprinted with an original story and art.
Mill migration postcards. Artists: Kristin Adolfson and Lotta Helleberg. Letterpress printed duotone images on Crane’s 90# Pearl White Wove and Rives Lightweight papers
Déjà vu: 9/11 and 1911. Artist: Michael Swanberg. Reprint of the a newsletter chronicling the experiences of former Peace Corps volunteers teaching in New York City public schools during 9/11
Something old, something new. Artist: Ceci Sorochin. Hand-quilted pieces of lace sewn onto a card; the original art and calligraphy were letterpress printed.
Tazreen redirect. Artists: Garrett Queen and Lana Lambert. Digital designs and original artwork offset printed and photocopied.
Tazreen button card. Artist: Angie Hogan. Letterpress button card with water color, Lennox and Lama Li Lokta paper.
Mourning our loss. Artist: Ceci Sorochin Recreated historic newspaper articles printed on hand-stained paper with decoupage roses and black lace embellishment.
"Plus ça change” mourning card. Artist: Donna Knoell. Offset printed.
Rosie’s needle book. Artist: Kevin McFadden. Letterpress needle book with tea-stains, hand sewing, and a hidden message.
Kate’s matchbox catch-all. Artists: Bonnie Bernstein and Yolanda Merrill. Letterpress printing on die-cut matchboxes.
Conscience pin cube. Artist: Bonnie Bernstein. Letterpress-printed labels on wrapped cardboard cube studded with ball-headed pins.
Red Threads care instructions. Artist: Bonnie Bernstein. Xerox color-printed on canvas and machine-stitched in red thread.
Old Wavy hang tag. Artist: Kristin Adolfson. Letterpress printed on a C&P Pilot on Crane’s 100% cotton paper.
Mayn Rue Platz/My resting place. Artists: Bonnie Bernstein, Stacey Evans, Nancy Kober. Letterpress printed cabinet card with photograph and music CD.
Lives beyond measure. Artist: Nancy Kober. A timeline of events in family history and labor history in the form of a measuring tape.
The sewing box. Artists: Bonnie Bernstein, Janet Eden, Lana Lambert, Yolanda Merrill, and Garrett Queen. Kraft papier mache box painted with red acrylic, wrapped with a giclée-printed band of advertising art, and decoupaged with sewing pattern tissue; original art on lid is letterpress printed.

(SOLD/Out of Print)

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Pack of Lies
Exploring the History and Phenomenology of Untruths

By Artists of the Virginia Arts of the Book Center Charlottesville: Virginia Arts of the Book Center, 2017. Edition of 65.

3.5 x 5"; 56 cards (including 4 jokers, one of which is "No Trump.") Letterpress printed. Individual concepts, designs, and printing by individual artists from Virginia Arts of the Book Center. Housed in handmade letterpressed cardbox. Card back design by Lana Lambert. Numbered.

Virginia Arts of the Book Center: "The 2017 VABC collaborative project, A Pack of Lies, is an exploration of the history and phenomenology of untruths. This 52-card playing deck – with four jokers tossed in -- was letterpress printed by 25 participating artists with special suits (stars, arrows, bangs, question marks). Explore a list of fabrication forms, historical hoaxes, infernal liars, and logical fallacies!"

A Pack of Lies: A Full Deck of Half-Truths: "A sign of our troubled times when the distinctions between fact and fabrication, reality and distortion, honesty and bunk seem sinisterly shuffled. We might as well then acquaint ourselves fully with the lie in its many forms, its argumentative acumen, is historical high tides, not to mention its infernal and eternal legends."

The suits : Stars - Types of Lies; Question Marks – Hoaxes; Bangs – Fallacies; and Arrows – Falsifiers.
(SOLD/Out of Print)

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Page last update: 02.06.19


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