Book/Walking Tour of Sebastopol & Iota Press (letterpress shop)

What a fun idea the Sebastopol Center for the Arts and Copperfields Books came up with — a walking tour of several local book-related venues, as part of their Celebrate Book Arts! program. Usually book related stuff involves a lot of sitting around — so combining books with walking is really rather brilliant. Here’s a link for all the Bibliophoria events (great name by the way, for those of us who feel euphoria about books!)

About 20 of us started at the downtown plaza and walked to Iota Press, our first stop. Below are some pictures with Eric Johnson demonstrating and explaining letterpress setup, and various printed works around the shop, including a tribute wall to Sonoma County poet Don Emblem. Iota Press offers classes.

We then made a brief stop at Many Rivers Books & Tea. I had no idea this bookstore was even here! Sonoma County has such rich variety. They have monthly tea tastings among other things, so I’ll be going back.

Then it was on to the Sebastopol Library for a display of Patrick Reagh’s beautifully designed letterpress work (more about this in another post).

Next stop was at favorite indie bookseller Copperfield’s Books for a talk about Artist Books. (A few doors down, the Sebastopol Gallery is hosting these talks in June and July.)

Many folks then went on to O’Reilly Media for a tour. Surprisingly for me (I do a lot of walking/hiking) I was kind of pooped — wearing new walking shoes that aren’t quite broken in yet — so I missed out on visiting O’Reilly.

The tour ended at noon and I’m sure many stayed in Sebastopol to have lunch. What a fun tour and a great way to showcase and market Sebastopol & local businesses — truly a win-win!

PS — As a graphic designer who can spend way too much time on the computer — and not enough creating things by hand (which is part of the reason I got into this profession) — it was inspiring to be around the beautiful results of letterpress — it’s so tactile, the type/forms and overlay of colors are just so fulfilling. Some may argue with me, but there is something about creating by hand that you cannot access by creating on the computer. The results are just fundamentally and qualitatively better — my guess is that a different part of the brain is being accessed. When I teach, I encourage students to start projects with hand-drawn thumbnail sketches.

Design Tip: If you’re not creating thumbnail sketches by hand at this time, try it. If you find it hard to get started, find some examples of printed work you like and make pencil sketches of them — about 2 inches is a good size.  Make lots of them. You’ll find that your design abilities improve.

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One Response to Book/Walking Tour of Sebastopol & Iota Press (letterpress shop)

  1. Christine Walker June 28, 2011 at 5:20 PM #

    Hi Moira,

    Thanks for joining the walk and for the lovely report & photos. I’ve linked your post to the Bibliophoria home page.

    Sebastopol is perfect for Bibliophoria because the town is physically compact, yet artistic and mind-expanding. It’s book-ended by traditional letterpress Iota to the south and leading-edge technology publishers O’Reilly to the north. With two independent bookstores — Copperfield’s and Many Rivers — and the Sebastopol Center for the Arts (SCA), plus the library and wonderful merchants, Sebastopol is a gem at the crossroads of the creative, sustainable-focused culture that is Sonoma County.

    And there are many July events: a Children’s Book Writers Conference, Youth Book Camp, and Writer’s Samplers at SCA, the Moveable Type van from Portland at the Farmer’s Market, presentations at the Sebastopol Gallery, teen events at the library and SCA, and many Copperfield’s events, plus participation by local merchants.

    This was the first year for two-month celebration that is “Bibliophoria.” There were a few events we couldn’t tuck into the summer, so I imagine more will be on the horizon — all “for the love of books!”

    Good wishes,

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