Saturday, October 20, 2007

Oak Knoll Fest XIV

As I'm writing this, I'm listening to the audio stream of "The Book Guys" interviews from Oak Knoll Fest XIV that took place October 6-7, 2007 (you can get to them under "archives"). I'm reminded of the amazing people I met, beautiful books I held in my hands, and invigorating discussions about fine press. As a first time participant, it was overwhelming to soak everything in, and here I am, 2 weeks later, still catching up. (I represented University of Iowa's Center for the Book as a current certificate student.)

The guest speaker this year was Johanna Drucker, and she gave an insightful talk about the growing interest in letterpress printing, at colleges and universities in particular (the theme of this year's fest). According to Johanna, these are some of the benefits of letterpress printing:

> benefit of authority (transformation of manuscripts into something that resonates with authority)
> ownership (owning the means of production)
> community (shop culture as a something different from the classroom and the lecture hall)
> pleasures of camaraderie (the fun of exclusivity, being a part of a "secret club", an underground society)
> cultural legacy (the passing on of knowledge and an appreciation of literature and art)
> physicality, tactility (the impact of working with physical objects in a computer-based, digitized world, especially for a generation now deprived of that physicality)
> pleasures of sustained work (sticking with something that takes an extended period of time from beginning to end)

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