Regional Chapters > Southern California
The Southern California Chapter
Welcome and Invitation to Join the Southern California Chapter of APHA
Dear fellow book arts enthusiasts, printers, bibliophiles, and friends of printing history:
The Southern California Chapter is made up of members representing the range of printing history and book arts interests. We are excited about the wonderful programs that we continue to provide for members of the Chapter and welcome all of you in the region who share our interests to become active with the group. You can watch this web site and/or contact any of the officers to stay informed about upcoming events. The current officers are Ethan Lipton, President; Nina Schneider, Program Chair; Jessica Holada, Membership Chair; Jane Carpenter, Secretary; Barbara Hauser, Treasurer. Contact information is provided below.
Other exciting activities are being planned, and we would love to have you join us at these events. We would very much like to hear from you about programs that you would like us to organize. Feel free to contact any of us. Also, please let us know if you are interested in giving a presentation for the Chapter.
The annual cost of individual membership to join the national American Printing History Association is $50; institutional membership is $75. Membership in the Southern California Chapter is an additional $15. Our area includes all of Southern California from the southern border up to and including San Luis Obispo County. We are working to provide programs across this area. Please visit the Join APHA page for a membership application and detailed information about this vibrant organization.
We look forward to hearing from you and meeting you at an upcoming event.
Ethan B. Lipton
Saturday, May 4, 2013
Hands-on Demonstration (4- 6 pm)
Gerald Lange is the proprietor and founder (1975) of The Bieler Press, a small printing and publishing firm specializing in studio letterpress, typographic design, and the publication of finely-printed limited edition books and related matter. Lange teaches at Otis College of Art and Design and the Art Center College of Design, and conducts workshops at the Irvine Fine Arts Center, California Institute of the Arts, Minnesota Center for Books Arts, Scripps College, Kent State University, and the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
He’s written numerous essays and articles on typography and the book arts which have appeared in Parenthesis (FPBA), book art object (CODEX), Ampersand (PCBA), Printing History(APHA), Guild of Book Workers Newsletter, Counter, Serif, Bookways, and The Typographe. From 1990 to 1996, Lange was the editor of AbraCadaBrA, the Journal of the Alliance for Contemporary Book Arts, an organization he co-founded in 1987. Now in its fifth edition, Lange’s monograph Printing Digital Type on the Hand-operated Flatbed Cylinder Press was first published in 1998.
In 2001, he founded PPLetterpress, an online forum on investigative, exploratory, and alternative printing and typographic techniques.
Saturday, February 23, 2013
Saturday, January 19, 2013
The day started at 11 am in which the Southern California chapter members met to review the year's activities and discuss possible programs for 2013, as well as to elect Jessica Holada as Membership Chair. We met at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library and had the opportunity to look at some of Paul Landacre's blocks, prints, and archival materials held there. We enjoyed an al fresco lunch on the Clark's western patio.
December 8, 2012
The day began at Occidental College with a chance to view the companion exhibition, “Where Bohemians Gathered: Print Culture on the Arroyo Seco, 1895-1947,” curated by Jessica Holada. This excellent exhibition, on display in the college’s main floor gallery, brought together materials related to the people and presses of the area. Items on display included books, photographs, and prints primarily from Occidental, with some items from UCLA Library’s Special Collections Department and the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. We then gathered in a nearby conference room for a talk by noted California historian, Gary F. Kurutz, entitled “A Southland Bohemia: Print Culture on the Arroyo Seco.” He gave a fascinating, informed, and entertaining account of individuals that helped shape the culture of the area. We learned about Charles F. Lummis, Idah Meacham Strobridge, Clyde Browne, George Wharton James, Maynard Dixon, Mary Austin, Lawrence Clark Powell, and others.
We then packed into cars and drove a few miles to El Alisal, the former home of Charles Lummis and current headquarters of the Historical Society of Southern California. The home, now a museum, hearkens back to the early 20th century and Lummis’ fascination with Old California. We learned, from the Society’s knowledgeable docents and curators, that the home was built entirely by hand, using river rock from the Arroyo, nearby oak trees, and materials appropriated from nearby structures. The home was a gathering spot for artists, writers, and intellectuals and one can still sense how welcome these activities were for area residents. After our tour (divided into three because of our size) and a delicious box lunch, we made the short trek to Abbey San Encino.
The Abbey, currently (as always) a private residence, was once the home of printer Clyde Browne. Severin Browne (Clyde’s grandson) is the current owner and resident and allowed a rare glimpse of a remarkable structure. Like El Alisal, the Abbey is also built entirely by hand and was designed to look like a California mission (cloisters, chapel, and campanile included). In what is now Severin’s bedroom is the rose window, a remarkable round stained glass from nearby Judson Studios, featuring a missionary and a Native American at a printing press. Once the printshop, this room has been slightly redesigned to accommodate a growing family. We were able to see a beautifully carved reed organ in the chapel, the architect’s rendering of the property hanging in the dining room, and visit the dungeon (where Severin confessed many childhood nightmares). Our day concluded with a bohemian gathering at a nearby pub.
Due to space restrictions, we were required to cap registrations at 45 and although participants were charged a fee to offset expenses, we had a waiting list of about 10 people. APHA members and students received a discount. The fee covered the full day including coffee, fruit and bagels in the morning, the box lunch, and the printed keepsake. Everyone who registered received a folder with the day’s program, a letterpress printed keepsake designed and produced by Occidental students, a full-color map and guide of local points of interest for individuals to use as a self-guided tour, and brochures from sponsoring institutions and collections. We were surprised at the Lummis home to receive a printed keepsake that they created for the occasion.
Much of the Chapter’s energy in 2012 was spent planning this event and we heartily thank everyone who was involved and gave generously of their time and expertise. We especially thank Dale Steiber and Helena De Lemos at Occidental College who made the day a success, Jocelyn Peterson and her students who printed a lovely keepsake, the staff and volunteers at the Lummis Home and Garden, Severin Browne who opened his home to 45 strangers, and of course, Gary Kurutz for a wonderful talk. A very special thanks to Kristina Vargas who designed the program and map for the self-guided tour pro bono and to Michael Druyen for printing the program materials and donating his labor and expenses. The chapter is very lucky to have so many friends.
December 13, 2012
In this lecture, Stan Nelson described his background and the many challenges of creating and manufacturing printing type. He brought examples of punches, tools, proofs, and final products for participants to examine more closely.
Saturday, October 6, 2012
Members of the Southern California chapter turned up at the 4th Annual L.A. Printers’ Fair, held the first Saturday of October at the International Printing Museum in Carson, CA. Our table, B42, drew many visitors interested in the organization, as well as our event in December, "Exploring Los Angeles Printing History Along the Arroyo Seco." The museum generously loaned us their tabletop Albion Press which gave visitors a chance to print their own souvenir bookmark (APHA-related, of course). Below are a few photos from the day.
From top to bottom:
June 20, 2012
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Eighteen members and their guests enjoyed spring-like weather at the Getty Center, where we received a curator-led tour of the exhibition The Getty Research Institute: Recent Print Acquisitions. Hosted by Marcia Reed, we took an hour-long gambol through the history of printmaking, featuring works by artists both famous and obscure. A range of printing methods were on display including woodcut, engraving, etching, mezzotint, aquatint, lithography, and letterpress.
We began the tour with Excerpts from the Story of the Holy Virgin Mary Presented in Pictures by Albrecht Dürer with Verses by Chelidonius; or, The Life of the Virgin (Epitome in divae parthenices Mariae historiam.), 1511. Each woodcut in the suite included accompanying letterpress on the verso, an example of which was placed in a double-sided frame for 360-degree viewing at the center of the gallery. Marcia explained how it is common to find Dürer sets incomplete, trimmed, bound, cobbled together from disparate sets, often a mixture of earlier and later impressions, but the GRI patiently waited for this pristine set to become available. She gave us insights about how the prints fit within an artist's evolving style, how the prints complement existing research collections, and explained how printing projects were financed and executed in the case of the Capricious Inventions of Prisons by Giovanni Battista Piranesi, printed from 1749-1750. Amazingly, the original metal plates survive, but at some point they were recklessly cleaned, eliminating Piranesi's burnishing details that give the first edition, first issue prints such gestural vitality.
April 28, 2012
We started with a tour of the printshop with Pall pointing out various presses such as a C&P platen press which he found in a backyard in El Monte for $60. After refurbishing it he admits that it’s the press he uses most often, although he also has a Washington Hand Press and a very early Vandercook made of cast iron that requires rolling the cylinder to the end of the bed and then inserting paper into the grippers for an impression on the return trip. He also uses an early 20th century Sigwalt tabletop press for some of his work with miniature books.
Pall proceeded to explain his method of producing miniature books. He’s discovered that the easiest and best imposition is horizontal. By printing on a sheet of paper large enough to make 16 pages, he uses half-sheet imposition to created 4 pages. As he explained in a follow-up email,
Wednesday, March 14, 2012
Eight APHA members and their guests attended the field trip to the Margaret Herrick Libraryat the Academy of Arts and Motion Picture Sciences. Led by Anne Coco, the Graphic Arts Librarian, and assisted by our very own Jessica Holada, the Graphic Arts Cataloging Librarian, we received the red carpet treatment during our two hour visit. We gathered in the main hallwayof the historic La Cienega site, formerly the City of Beverly Hills water treatment plant,
The Herrick Library is open to the public four days a week and the only requirement for access is a photo ID. There are seventy full- and part-time staff at the library as well as an in-house conservator. Salaries and expenses are funded through revenue from the broadcast of the Academy Awards ceremony.
APHA was there to see movie posters, so we were introduced to the library's online catalog, which includes preservation photography of much of the two-dimensional art, thanks in part to a large flat-bed scanner the photography department uses to digitize select the collections. Researchers can filter their search by format, whether they are looking for posters, scripts, books or periodicals. The library receives the papers of actors, directors, costume designers, and other creative professionals in the industry. The use of these special collections materials has increased tremendously in recent years.
The library has over 42,000 posters and most are stored flat in map drawers. They receive about 4,000 posters each year through donations, culled from collections, and the occasional purchase. If there are duplicates of posters in collections of recent acquisitions, they will suggest other repositories that are appropriate or will keep them to use as trade. They always keep two clean copies. As noted earlier, they are close to capacity since all of these materials (not just the posters but scripts, photographs, papers, etc.) are stored on-site. The Academy itself has three locations, the building on La Cienaga, film vaults in Hollywood, and offices on Wilshire in Beverly Hills. Plans are afoot to redesign the former May Co. building near LACMA and develop Los Angeles' first motion picture museum.
We were led through the development of movie promotion with an explanation of some interesting bits of ephemera, as well as early serial publications. These included, "The Lion's Roar" a house organ of MGM featuring artwork for upcoming movies that only appeared in that magazine, "The Plot Genie" a step-by-step formulary on creating the perfect screen play and character development, early fan magazines from pre-Bollywood India, playing cards with actors' head shots, and cigarette cards with caricatures of actors and the film's synopsis on the verso. We then moved on to posters, arranged in chronological order starting with a wood block type poster for an early W.C. Fields' vaudeville show, Edison's Passion Play, a press book for the Bride of Frankenstein(describing ways to market the film in theaters and samples of articles to plant in newspapers)and other works printed letterpress. Anne then discussed some of the posters printed from stone lithography including cartoon posters (which MGM continued to print from stone until the mid-1950’s, although live action film posters began to be printed offset in 1932. She showed us a collotype for Mae West’s “I’m No Angel, modern linoleum cut posters made by university students for a film festival in Colorado, and some recent acquisitions of limited edition silkscreen posters from Alamo Drafthouse. We got a chance to see many international film posters, including one for a Japanese monster movie, an interpretation of “The Godfather” from Cuba, a French poster for “The Day of the Locust,” the Czech version of “Cabaret,” and the original 1935 poster for Leni Riefenstahl’s “Triumph of the Will.”
Jessica then lead us into the administrative offices where we got to see some production stills, production design sketches for the Academy Award winning “The Artist,” and other staff-favorite movie posters. We had a chance to see where the posters are stored and the tour ended with a surprise, when Anne brought out an Oscar statuette that we all had a chance to hold. This particular statuette has been on a space shuttle flight, but it’s still heavier than you think!
Saturday, February 25, 2012
A Visit to the Library of the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden
Spring was definitely in the air, the trees were blossoming, the peacocks were strutting, and nine APHA members enjoyed a beautiful day at the Arboretum Library in Arcadia. Located near the front entrance of the 127-acrea Los Angeles County Arboretum & Botanic Garden, the library generously opened its doors to us and we were treated to a day of books and printing. The library actually got its start before the Arboretum and it is open to the public with most of the 20,000 items in the collection available for members to borrow. The first librarian was appointed in 1971, who believed that a reference library helps patrons with reference questions, rather than the original objective of creating a research collection for Arboretum staff—a philosophy that obviously continues. Our host and the Arboretum Librarian, Susan Eubank thoughtfully arranged collections in broad categories, medicinal, botany/horticulture, and California specimens.
Arranged in roughly chronological order, we were shown the earliest book in the collection, an herbal from 1578. Susan explained to us that it hasn’t been until her appointment that a “special collections” area of non-circulating books was moved to a secure area. Otherwise, all the materials are out on open shelves and available for browsing.
We were shown examples of early English horticulture and garden design books, eighteenth-century garden periodicals, a gorgeous elephant folio of full-color botanical illustrations from 1832, published from one of Captain Cook’s voyages of discovery, early and modern textbooks, citrus growers’ promotional literature, early California nursery catalogs (which are also available on the library’s website), and many other samples of historical subjects, plant lore, ethnobotany, environmental issues, and local history. Although we were only shown printed items, the library does collect slides, CDs, videotapes, DVDs, and photographs.
All of the library’s collection is housed onsite and the salaries and expenses are paid through a public/private partnership with Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation and the Arboretum Society. The Library welcomes volunteers and donations (both financial and in-kind), and they are open daily, except Monday.
As we were wrapping up, one of the arborists came in and gave an impromptu talk about the extensive damage the gardens has suffered during an intense wind storm in December of 2011. Hundreds of trees were either damaged or destroyed in what was estimated to be the “epicenter” of hurricane force winds. There was no evidence of destruction the day we visited.