“This Press has always depended on the kindness and devotion of students who want to help make books. What better environment is there for a student in a liberal arts college? What more encourages a range of inquiry, teaches crafts which ask the mind to work to the limits of the hand and eye, demonstrates the intersection of disciplines, the flights and vagaries of process, the focus of affection and all kinds of gratifications?”
—James Trissel, founder of The Press at CC
The Press at Colorado College is a letterpress and book arts studio, dedicated to education through the arts and histories of the book. The Press is an interdisciplinary, imaginative, and creative enterprise. It is framed around the questions:
What is the role of a letterpress studio at a small liberal arts college in the Rocky Mountains?
How can our work utilize the strengths of immersive teaching on the Block Plan?
In our daily practice we address the minute and practical problems of the space between letters as well as the messy, theoretical questions around what it means to print and publish today. The Press at Colorado College is a resource for the CC community. It is a space to gather, a space to learn (in classes and out), and a space to give voice to our ideas and ideals.
Our work at The Press is composed of three entangled strands:
Teaching: We teach people how to make books and prints, and why those activities continue to be relevant and important. We offer full-length, for-credit courses in Studio Art and printing and bookbinding workshops open to the general public. As part of Colorado College’s Tutt Library, The Press works closely with Special Collections as a joint classroom and teaching resource for classes in the Book Studies thematic minor. The Press at CC also partners with faculty from across the college to enhance their courses through work in letterpress, bookbinding, and/or small press publishing.
Artistic Production: We make books and prints. The Press at CC is a publisher of fine press/artists’ books, broadsides, and ephemera. All of our projects are organized as teaching opportunities, involving students in all aspects: from concept to editing to production to marketing. The Press has collaborated with many authors and artists, including: Layli Long Soldier, Divya Victor, Seamus Heaney, Kay Ryan, Brian Evenson, Amitava Kumar, Billy Collins, and Darren Wershler. Work by The Press is held in major collections all over the world, including the Library of Congress, the British Library, the New York Public Library, the National Library of Australia, the Newberry Library, Yale University, and the Victoria and Albert Museum.
Making Space & Amplifying Voices: We are a resource for people that want to make books and prints, and that want to engage a public space through the medium of print. The Press at CC is a point of, place of, articulation—where ideas meet their material reality, and ultimately, their audience. As a complement to the work in the studio we also organize public lectures with visiting artists and scholars, open houses, workshops, and exhibitions.
The Press at Colorado College was founded by Professor James Trissel in 1978. Under Trissel’s guidance, The Press became one of the most notable academic letterpress studios in the country, regularly producing beautiful books on a variety of subjects, from Color for the Letterpress, to Twelve Mammal Skulls, to A Selection of Poems by Helen Hunt Jackson and Emily Dickinson. Since Trissel’s death in 1999, The Press has continued its work under the supervision of Brian Molanphy (from 1999 - 2004), Chris Forsythe (from 2004 - 2006), and Colin Frazer (from 2006 - 2010). Aaron Cohick has been the Printer of The Press since 2010.
This website was launched in September of 2018, and will be a constant work-in-progress, both adding new pieces as they are made, but also working back to provide a record of all of The Press at CC's major publications. The class projects and posters shown on this site are just a small selection of what has been made over the years, largely from 2010 and later. The complete Press at CC archive is housed in Tutt Library's Special Collections, where it is available to the general public.