in our own ink-drenched way

Today we’re talking about Julia Seko! (If you’ve encountered Julia in the print shop, you understand the exclamation point; she is a whirlwind of creative energy.) Julia is a book artist who teaches Letterpress at Naropa University, and she is one of FOUR printers featured in Bombay Gin 38.1.

In honor of Alice Notley’s residency at Naropa this week as our 2012 Allen Ginsberg Visiting Fellow, I give you this sneak preview of the broadside Julia’s class printed last fall, using Notley’s poem, Two of Swords.

peeking inside

As you can see, this is not your standard (flat and frame-able) broadside. At our first Monday night meeting in the shall-we-say warm Harry Smith print shop last August, Julia introduced the 7 of us– eager new printers– to Alice Notley’s poem.

The title comes from the two of swords tarot card, and if you’ve spent enough time at Naropa (with, for example: Bhanu Kapil or Selah Saterstrom) you know tarot cards are an art form of their own; some designer decks are intricately handcrafted. Our class brainstormed: how could we incorporate strong tarot card imagery into the piece, without being too literal?

We settled on using a tarot card shape with rounded edges, and we printed bold red X’s on the interior to symbolize crossed swords.

Two of Swords, inside detail

The X is mimicked on the cover of the piece by the diagonal lines of the title.

front, Alice Notley broadside

For about a month, we worked together as a class to decide on the paper, ink, alignment, and other design details– but the overall peek-a-boo format was Julia’s idea, and I’m glad we followed through with it. The finished product is certainly unique. And now you can have your own copy, signed by Alice Notley!

Two of Swords, detail

Jade and I will be selling this broadside at Alice Notley’s reading on Friday night, along with new copies of Bombay Gin. Our local poetry bookstore, Innisfree, will be there selling Notley’s books.

letterpress detail

Alice Notley at Naropa University:

Tuesday, February 21 @ 8:15 pm: Lecture, Shambhala Hall

Thursday, February 23 @ 3:15 pm: Poetry Chat, Performing Arts Center

Friday, February 24 @ 7:30 pm: Reading (and signing), Performing Arts Center

On your way to these nighttime events, be sure to look for our unofficial print shop mascot, Rocky, near the compost and recycling bins.

-Stephani Nola

Rocky supervises

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2 thoughts on “in our own ink-drenched way

  1. Chris Mares says:

    An elegant and pleasing design. Great talent out there …

  2. Annie Maier says:

    Great photos, and I love the broadside. Rocky hanging outside the window made me smile, and your post made me miss Naropa even more!

    I hope all goes well on Friday, and that all of the events are amazingly successful!

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