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VABC's designing a specimen book--a typeface sample book--to creatively display the largest public collection of lead type in Virginia.
145 backers pledged $15,086 to help bring this project to life.

About

Speaking in Faces: A Letterpress Type Specimen Book project video thumbnail
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$15,086

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Speaking in Faces, a project begun at VABC in 2004 by Johanna Drucker with VABC artists, will become 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 325 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!

A team of accomplished printers and innovative designers is poised to undertake new introductory signatures and a blend of traditional and creative type specimens. We will add to the wealth of existing material left by dozens of printers who've touched this project, involving dozens more in printing this year.

We imagine a more visible catalog of this collection will inspire the next generation of artists, book makers, printers, and typographers who can use Speaking in Faces to let their own projects beam or glower or wink.

And we'll reward you handsomely with letterpress work if you back this project!

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.

Not only will a limited-edition artist's book be created and celebrated, but these thoughtful layouts and designs will be used in an affordable workbook that will help learners at any level understand more about the meaning and legacy of type.

Sketch for the new typography section
Sketch for the new typography section

REWARDS, REWARDS, REWARDS. Our rewards will include broadsides that highlight the treasures of our moveable type collection, a love of letters,  and the inventiveness of our designers. Also, a number of limited-edition sets from a decade-long legacy of collaborative projects. See full page HERE.

U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Wright; image by Josef Beery
U.S. Poet Laureate Charles Wright; image by Josef Beery
How to Draw a Cloud - Dean Dass, et al. Miniature Book
How to Draw a Cloud - Dean Dass, et al. Miniature Book
A Bookmaker's Dozen: 15 miniature books, limited edition set
A Bookmaker's Dozen: 15 miniature books, limited edition set
Translations of Sappho by Anne Carson
Translations of Sappho by Anne Carson
Poem by Jeanette Marie Sayers; design by Kristin Adolfson.
Poem by Jeanette Marie Sayers; design by Kristin Adolfson.
Poem by Hailey Leithauser; image by Frank Riccio.
Poem by Hailey Leithauser; image by Frank Riccio.
"Alphablock I" and "Alphablock II" by Angie Hogan (broadsides only)
"Alphablock I" and "Alphablock II" by Angie Hogan (broadsides only)

Risks and challenges

While we have samples of the collection captured from the project's progress over the last decade, we need a final, masterful, and totalizing effort to bring the book project together. Our goal is to complete the project in 18 months. This will take the coordination of a project manager and multiple lead artists--working artists and professionals who will receive payment--and dozens more who'll join the effort in our usual, communal outpouring of sweat equity. We expect members who know the project to continue their work, and we seek to engage forty new printers to come along on the journey with our master printers and members. The deluxe edition of the project will include a combination of new and old signatures, likely to be separately bound but slipcased together--still to be determined.

We also intend to improve our existing catalog of cases and make it available to further describe and publish the resource.

We have faced similar challenges in other successful Kickstarters (like the Miniature Book project) and have a ten-year track record of successful collaborative projects.

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Support

  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $1 or more About $1.00

    Pledge of support - any amount. Giving to the VABC is its own reward.

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    Two artist's postcards from 2011 VABC Collaborative project POSTMARK.

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    Blank letterpress greeting card 4-pack featuring type from the VABC collection. Four distinct cards/envelopes to share with friends.

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    Two artist-designed, Tarot-style cards from the 2010 VABC Collaborative project, INFINITE STAKES.

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    Speaking in Faces: A Printer's Workbook. Copy of offset-printed specimen book from hand-printed designs. We envision these as the affordable, in-shop resource to our classes.

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    Signed VABC Broadside: "From the Towers" by Heather McHugh, MacArthur Genius Fellow. Letterpress printed plate with 9/11 towers image by Kevin McFadden. Limited edition of 60.

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    Signed "Men of Letters" letterpress cartoon, image using Onyx typeface letters from plate by Kevin McFadden. Limited edition of 35.

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    Signed VABC Broadside: "Ode to My Right Knee" by Rita Dove. Letterpress printed plate with dancer image by Kristin Adolfson. Limited edition of 100 numbered and 26 lettered copies, printed for Furious Flower Poetry Conference. VABC has a few lettered editions available.

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    Poet-initialed "Pip, Mid-Sea" by Hailey Leithauser. Image by Frank Ricco. Limited edtion of 100.

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    "Taps" by Anne Harding Woodworth. Letterpress printed, ink drawing for plate by Frank Riccio. Limited edition of 100.

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    Jennifer Perrine's poem "If Life Gives You Lemons, Make" in letterpress broadside designed by Kristin Adolfson. Limited edition of 100.

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    Signed VABC Broadside: National Book Award winner Mary Szybist's "Girls Overheard While Assembling a Puzzle," from INCARNADINE (Graywolf). Typeset in lead with lithographic image by Kevin McFadden and Garrett Queen. Limited edition of 60.

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    L-O-V-E and the Other Twenty-Two, broadside by Jeanette Marie Sayers. Designed by Kristin Adolfson. Limited edition of 100.

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    VABC Broadside: "A Font of Type" and "On typesetting" by Walt Whitman. Two classics of alphabetical transcendentalism with Caslon letters forming an image of Whitman's face, by Kevin McFadden. Letterpress printed, limited edition of 100.

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    Signed VABC Broadside: "History Is a Burning Chariot" by Charles Wright, U.S. Poet Laureate. Signed. Hand-set in Centaur type by Josef Beery, whose three-block woodcut image graces the piece. Letterpress printed limited edition of 100.

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    Plunk down for a Printer's Proverb! If you have a letterpress aphorism for us, this is your time to see it in print. We are adding timeless letterpress wisdom like "Count your ees before your blessings" or "Take the time you thought it would take to print--and double it." Can you be our Poor Richard? Sponsor a maxim and we'll be in touch to see it come into Speaking in Faces with credit to you.

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    "How To Draw a Cloud" miniature book, by Dean Dass with drawings by VABC members. One book from the 2013 "Bookmaker's Dozen" VABC Collaborative project. 2" x 3".

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    Offprint of Speaking in Faces page design by one of the participating designer-printers. Each design will feature one typeface's letterforms imaginatively arranged by a VABC artist. Limited edition (forthcoming).

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    Alphablock I and Alphablock II. Two attractive alphabet broadsides printed from VABC wood type by Angie Hogan. Slim sans serif and chunky serif on Stonehenge paper. Limited edition of 12.

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    Complete set of VABC 2011 Collaborative project, POSTMARK. Collection of 26 postcard-influenced works in paper wrapper with twine. Limited edition of 65.
    http://virginiabookarts.org/2011/11/postmark-project/

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    Boxed set of 2010 VABC Collaborative Project: INFINITE STAKES. 43 Tarot-style playing cards by VABC members.Various traditional printing styles: block prints, lithography, letterpress. Limited edition of 80.
    http://virginiabookarts.org/2011/03/infinite-stakes-fall-2010/

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    Sponsor a free public workshop to watch and participate in printing a master printer's page. Part of our goal in is to expose new printers to the art. You will receive a copy of the completed Speaking in Faces facsimile edition and one artist's page offprint from the collection.

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    Letterpress portfolio, CHARLES W. SMITH, ACADEMICAL VILLAGER: Portraits of the University of Virginia Grounds by Its First Artist in Residence, contains sixteen prints from plates made for a subsequent publication of the 1937 classic, THE UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: THIRTY-TWO WOODCUTS. Black-and-white prints were restruck in 2014 with permission of the family. The collection is enclosed in a handsome wrapper; stunning individual prints of the U.Va. Grounds are well-suited for framing.

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    HESITANT RUIN, a stab-bound book created as the 2007 VABC collaborative project. All images were collected on the theme of time, decay, or ruin. A limited edition of 40.
    http://virginiabookarts.org/2008/09/heistant-ruin/

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    The ATLAS OF VANISHING KNOWLEDGE: 2012 VABC Collaborative project, 156 pages hand printed. Coptic style bound collection, cloth cover. Limited edition of 60.
    http://virginiabookarts.org/2012/05/atlas-of-vanishing-knowledge-2012-group-project/

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    NOTIONS: the 2014 VABC Collaborative Project. Twenty participating artists create "a novel in objects": 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. Linking stories of Triangle factory fire (New York, 1911) and the Tazreen blaze (Bangladesh, 2012).
    http://virginiabookarts.org/2014/11/notions-a-novel-in-objects/

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    Fragments of Sappho, translated by Anne Carson from her 2007 book, If Not, Winter. Fifteen unbound sheets in portfolio, with thirteen selections chosen and ordered by the poet. Printed by Karen Kevorkian in an oversized portfolio made by VABC artists. Limited edition of 10. You will be thanked as a Patron level in Speaking in Faces colophon.

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    "A Bookmaker's Dozen"--Collector's Edition of 15 Miniature Books from VABC 2013 Collaborative Project. Only 14 complete collections exist. You will be thanked as a Patron level in Speaking in Faces colophon.
    http://virginiabookarts.org/2013/10/2013-collaborative-project/

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    Completed cloth-bound, deluxe edition of Speaking in Faces book project: a combination of new and old signatures, likely to be separately bound but slipcased together. Featuring typefaces from VABC's collection, created by VABC members and workshop participants. Fewer than 20 deluxe editions will be made. Special Patron level of attribution in the colophon containing all backers of the project.

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    Angel Hero! In an offer available only to one backer, you will receive each of the last three VABC collaborative projects--Notions, A Bookmaker's Dozen, and the Atlas of Vanishing Knowledge in June 2015--and you'll receive a deluxe edition of the Speaking in Faces book project at the end of 2016. Get to know the wonder of VABC collaborative projects with this special combination. Angel level of attribution in the Speaking in Faces colophon.

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Funding period

- (60 days)