Gutenberg's invention of movable type in the early 1450s might have been one of the most important inventions in Western history, but in the past 25 years alone, computers have made actual movable type all but irrelevant as anything but an art form. Though the process may have been all but commercially irrelevant in 1977, Colorado College professor Jim Trissel saw that the practice of letterpress printing could still be an important art form and a means to teach students a "natively interdisciplinary activity." And so he acquired several used presses and a variety of foundry types and began what became a great creative tradition: The Press at Colorado College.
Until he died in 1999, Trissel and his students created over 40 letterpress books and broadsides, most of which combined images, color and poetry. Because Trissel was trained as a painter, he encouraged and pioneered the use of color in the frequently drab art of broadsides and fine art poetry books. As Betty Bright notes in the catalog for the exhibition -- The Press at Colorado College: The Pressroom as Classroom, Trissel strove to "direct the elements of printing -- typography, image, and color -- into 'the reading of an individual poem,' but more than that, he hoped to create designs that would achieve an alignment with 'the experience of painting.'"
Among the many works on display at the Fine Arts Center will be Trissel's seminal Color for the Letterpress, The Printed Poem/The Poem as Print broadside series and The Cycle of the Day.
-- Noel Black
capsule The Press at Colorado College: The Pressroom as Classroom
Fine Arts Center, 30 W. Dale St.
Hours Tuesday-Saturday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m.
Admission $5 for adults, $3 for seniors 62 and older, $2 for children 6-16 and free for children under 6.
April 17 May 16 634-5583
Open house and demonstration at the The Press at Colorado College Jackson House, southeast corner of North Nevada Avenue and San Rafael Street
Saturday, April 24 at noon.
Free; R.S.V.P. to Brian Molanphy at 389-6376