Happy Birthday, Paul Moxon, Vandercooks, Etc.

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This weekend, the Collective had the pleasure of meeting the master of Vandercook letterpress machines, Paul Moxon. Paul was in town for a week or so, offering demonstrations, workshops and a lecture on Vandercooks to the Book Art Collective, our ever-expanding club, as well as members from the community. All of this, it should be noted, was made possible by designer/educator Karen Zimmermann, whose excellent fundraising and organizing made the event possible.

It’s basically understood that Paul knows everything there is to know about Vandercooks, proof presses made by Vandercook & Sons beginning in 1909. In addition to working as a printer and artist, he maintains a website, VandercookPress.info, where anyone can access information about presses.

In the 59 years the company was in business, about 30,000 presses were manufactured; there are currently about 1,500 Vandercooks documented in existence. And what do you know, 23 of them are in Arizona; 4 are kept by the Book Art Collective. Last year was the Vandercook’s 100th birthday and Paul orchestrated a Centenary Print Bundle with lovely prints from shops throughout the country.

The workshop this weekend covered basic operating procedures of the presses and we brought him in not just to teach, but also to fix up our new machines. This summer, the Collective acquired three new presses, one of which seems to have been outside for, well, years.

Paul covered typesetting, adjusting furniture, proofing, measuring, inking and, finally, printing.

Paul was gracious enough to travel here from Alabama on the weekend of his birthday. So happy birthday, Paul! Thanks so much for spending some time with the Book Art Collective. We hope to have you back soon.