Currently at Pacific Lutheran University's Mortvedt Library is "Pressing On," an exhibition to celebrate 30 years of the existence of the Elliott Press. The exhibition consists of broadsides (hand-printed posters), hand-made books and other printed pieces by students who learn and work at the Elliott Press. Pieces include work by Oregon writer Kim Stafford and Copper Canyon Press founder Tree Swenson - both alumni of the Press, along with many other illustrious local artists, writers and editors, including yours truly.
"While some of the work takes a more traditional approach, some work is more light-hearted and playful," says Jessica Spring, artist and director of Elliott Press. "‘Divine Donut' is bound between stuffed fabric boards that includes pages with text set in circles celebrating the qualities of the beloved pastry. Another artist book, ‘Look' is actually a mask hidden inside a false book. The ribbons used to tie on the mask read - A book does not offer us passage to another world. It reminds us to look closely at the world we already have."
The exhibit will be up until Feb. 27. The Mortvedt Library is at the corner of 121st and Park Avenue on the PLU campus.
You may not know that Tacoma even has such a press as Elliott Press. That would be your folly because the Elliott Press is rockin' with a heaping side of awesomesauce. Granted, it's not exactly open to the public, at least not without an appointment. That's just how exclusive it is.
The fact is that Elliott Press is a teaching resource at Pacific Lutheran University - an operating press with hundreds of cases of typeface and several presses - a Vandercook Universal 3, two treadle-operated Chandler & Price letterpresses, and a tabletop Sigwalt Ideal #3. Students learn traditional letterpress techniques, how to make books of all shapes and styles by hand, and more. Work by the students has appeared at King's Books, Karpeles Manuscript Museum, and University of Puget Sound.
Members of the public can't just stroll on into the EP, since it is a classroom. But groups can tour the press and learn about its history and publishing abilities by appointment.
MORTVEDT LIBRARY, "PRESSING ON," THROUGH FEB. 27, 9 A.M. TO 7 P.M. MONDAY-THURSDAY, 9 A.M. TO 3 P.M. FRIDAY, CLOSED DEC. 22-JAN. 1, PACIFIC LUTHERAN UNIVERSITY, 121ST STREET AND PARK AVENUE, TACOMA, 253.535.7500