Curating the 2020 APA Border Relay Poster Collective

Before delving into the Collective, I want to thank a few people (actually everyone) that I met when I randomly showed up at the Wayzgoose in St. Louis in 2016. I did not know anyone, but you were a most welcoming and encouraging group. So, in no particular order, thanks to: John Horn, Jason Wedekind, Adam and Tammy Winn, Jeff Waldvogel, Stephanie Carpenter, Mark Barbour, and Scott Moore . . . you all kindled the fire of my smoldering, creative soul at the Wayzgoose. Thanks for the addiction.

The 2020 APA Collective. In June of 2020, I sent to the APA membership a Call for Interest to contribute to a poster collective. Nothing unusual there, as poster collectives and exchanges are common within letterpress communities everywhere. The challenge was to create something unique—something that would allow me to engage with contributors throughout the duration of the collective calendar and not just at the beginning and the end.

At the time, I was at the end of curating another poster collective within a Texas-based letterpress community that featured a border set I acquired in the Grisenti Auction at the 2018 Denver Retro’goose. I organized that Collective to run in a relay format where the Grisenti (Wm. H. Page, ca. 1880) border set traveled across the state from studio to studio. It ran so well with the eleven Texas studios who participated that I decided to utilize the same format for the APA Poster Collective.

The logistics of three relays running at the same across the United States required some thought and planning on the front end, specifically identifying a border font that I had enough sorts in to split across the three regions. Thankfully, I had a large font of Hamilton’s Minneola Wood Border (ca. 1905). Minneola proved to be an ideal border, lending itself to a seemingly unlimited application in illustrative and decorative design.

The Scope of Work for the APA collective included: using an English Idiom as the theme prompt; using, at a minimum, the common required sort from the Minneola Wood Border; and adhering to the tone and dimensional outlines. Each of the contributors combined the required elements from the Scope of Work with assets in their own studios to create their posters. Even with the common sort from the border, there were no repeated idioms or creative concepts duplicated. The contributors embraced a broad range of approaches and creative interpretations.

I initially estimated fifteen APA members might be interested in this collaborative, but when the interest grew, I got a little nervous. I thought a relay with two-dozen legs would take way too long to finish, threatening to lose momentum. So, instead of a single relay, I came up with the idea for three separate relays that would run concurrently across the United States geographically. Crazy, I know, but the relays ran wonderfully thanks to the disciplined and creative APA members who participated. I cannot thank you enough.

The resulting Collective is a wonderful portfolio of creativity and craft. The plans are for the Collective to be displayed at the 2021 MOP Wayzgoose in August where there will be a Collective auctioned off for the benefit of the APA! Hope to see you there.

About the Minneola Wood Border used in the Collective: The Hamilton Mfg Co. produced the Minneola Wood Border as it was advertised in a 16-page circular series Specimens of Hamilton’s Wood Type Cut on End-grain Rock Maple published (likely) early in 1905, but no earlier than December 9, 1904. 
Additionally, though it is not clear what connection this border design may have to its name, Minneola is a town in eastern Minnesota, whose name is derived from the Dakota language. Minneola is also the name given to a hybrid cross between a Dancy tangerine and a Duncan grapefruit, developed in the early 1930s. According to Google’s n-gram, the word hit its peak usage in English in 1907.
— as dated by wood-type researcher Professor David Shields

President’s APA March Bundle Honor Roll

I’m a little late posting my Honor Roll for the March bundle due to a 3 week trip to New York for a rental of printing equipment from the Printing Museum for an HBO series, “The Gilded Age”; we set up a full 1880’s working newspaper shop. Look for on the small screen next spring!

My highlights of the bundle each month is purely personal and subjective, with the overall hope that all of us would reach out to fellow APA members whose printing impresses or inspires us, whether in a postcard or by email or by phone. If you don’t have the necessary contact information, just reach out to Katie Roeck, Secretary or by checking the online member database on the members-only group website

Click on any image for a larger view

1. Nils Young #537: 90th BIRTHDAY CARD

Ornaments, borders and vintage type has always been a fast way to my heart. I can curl up in bed with bed with a BB&S Type Catalog while my wife looks at me puzzled with some novel in her hands! Nils did a great job with the use of the ornaments in a way not to overwhelm the design (look at those corners!), and the hierarchy of the information is maintained with the the other decorations and changes in type styles along with the subtle use of color (5 colors!). Excellent letterpress printing as well… great job Nils!

2. Rich Hopkins #226: WRONG FONTS

Rich is one of our oldest APA members, now celebrating 60 years of active membership. Besides being an excellent letterpress printer, his design work and typography is always first-rate. And as the Godfather of ATF and all things Monotype, virtually everything he prints is from type he has cast himself at his Hill & Dale Type Foundry. This piece is no exception and is a beautiful and creative way to express a needed message to the membership; “Wrong Fonts” is full of history and wisdom from one of our letterpress elders. Thanks Rich, and I do love those ornaments!

3. Gregory Jackson Walters #777: ANNUS HORRIBILUS

The simple but powerful design of Gregory’s piece made me stop and think about the year 2020 that we have all just experienced, with its emptiness on many levels reflected in his use of outline type. Now that we are in 2021 and things continue but with a bit more hope, maybe it will be shaded. Please take the time to read his card and his personal note inside. I know that 2021 continues to be a challenge for our dear printing friend. Gregory, you were able to say so much with so little, and without using the word COVID.

4. And for my Jim Daggs Refrigerator Award
Jeff Walgren #975: LAZY PEOPLE COASTER

This actually made it to my kitchen counter rather than my fridge, but I have entertained quite a few people with it… haven’t decided what drink to put on it (maybe I’m just being lazy about the decision!).

Mark Barbour
2021 APA President
Email Mark Here

Note from Lance Williams, #785, Web Manager: As I keep posting these for Mark, I hope I am getting a little better each time…  Please let me know what you think with the changes in format from month to month and any suggestions for improvement….

APA President’s February Honor Roll

Now that it is the time to honor St. Patrick, thought it would be a good time to give some presidential honor to the February bundle submissions. One of my goals as president is to recognize the letterpress efforts of our members and hopefully encourage a pursuit of excellence, or at least improvement, in our design, typography and printing. And that feeds into my other goal, which is to dialog with each other. These are my choices for the February Honor Roll and I admit they are subjective to my humble opinions, but don’t hesitate to reach out to a fellow APA-er that inspires you, with an email or a postcard or a call.

1. Carol Clifford, Orange House Press #948: For her striking 2-color Tomato Print. I really love the bold, rich red and the woodcut style of the overlapping black and red that gives the feel of a third red-tint color. Great job Carol getting a large solid red that makes this tomato so appetizing; it’s on my fridge now! And your ornamental Hope is a Good Thing was a runner-up… I’m a sucker for ornaments and filigree!

2. Chris Bayley #923: Every submission by Chris features his amazing wood engraving skills and deserves recognition. The smallest details in the stonework and the plants really pop with Chris’s excellent printing. Well composed design with my eye starting at the top of the columns heading left and down through the type to Chris’s name in the lower right then back up with the neck of the stork to the right; all of this adds subtle visual movement and meaning to the text.

3. Michael Grossman #958: Cease to Be A Drudge is a fun use of a rule form and used simply and creatively to graphicly illustrate the text. Nothing exciting about a rule form but printing it in four colors to create an interesting, vibrating but subtle background makes a great use of an otherwise useless cut! Michael, in the spirit of Mary McLeod Bethune, you are indeed an artist.

4. And for the Jim Daggs Refrigerator Award this month, I couldn’t stop laughing at Michael Addison’s #819 "Prayer in School" card. As I walked toward the fridge, I shared it with my wife Lori who also laughed with a smile. That’s a winner! I left it up for one night so that my 22-yr old daughter would enjoy it when she walked in around 2 am. Thank you, Michael!

Mark Barbour
APA President
Director and Curator,
International Printing Museum

President’s APA January Honor Roll

At the core of our purpose in the APA is fostering an interest in the art of letterpress printing and to encourage excellence in printing. This is what our monthly bundles are meant to achieve, filled with a plethora of printed pieces, many of which rise to a level of excellence that should be noted and honored. All of us as amateur printers (and a few professional) should be encouraged by such wonderful examples of fine printing and design, and challenged to improve our own printing and design skills. That is the other goal of the APA, the improvement of printing skills and the impartation of techniques.

So as the APA President, I want to begin a new monthly posting of bundle submissions that have impressed me in some way, and put them in my Honor Roll. In the interest of brevity, this certainly doesn’t mean these are the only pieces I found interesting, beautiful or technically excellent; just ones that I have placed at the top of my subjective list.

And in doing so, may I encourage all of our members to develop their own Honor Roll and take the personal effort to send the honored printers a short note of your appreciation, whether by a snail mail (letterpresses) postcard or an email; everyone loves a bit of love and some accolades! And that is our other purpose as a hobby organization… to promote mutual communication. Let’s talk to each other and encourage each other and learn from each other.

So here are my first Honor Roll designees for the month of January.

1. Top of my list is Lawrence Peterson #878 with his multi-color (four) THANK YOU CARD. Lawrence hand sets all of his type and borders, has a keen sense of design and style. His printing on an 1887 Pearl Press is always excellent with both impression and inking. This is an excellent example of both letterpress printing and design. Great job Lawrence! You are consistently among our finest letterpress typographers and printers.


2. Jim Horton #622 WE WILL COME REJOICING seasonal card, featuring a wood-engraved background image created by Jim, of course, and a calendar for the year. Besides being well printed with a subtle background color, Jim managed to round-hole perforate the calendar in the middle of the card, not an easy feat! Very creative and excellent job, Jim!


3. Richard Kegler #913 NEW YEAR folded panel card. An innovative design that allows the reader to play with the folds and create different readings of the design, from Happy New Year to 2021 A Year to Start ANEW. And Richard manages to put a little humor in the piece as well. Nice colors and typography.



4. Mark Sableman #598 CHRISTMAS CAROL, a Christmas Card printed letterpress with a four-color engraving of young Dickens’ carolers. As all of us know, printing four-color letterpress images raises the bar for all of us. Great job Mark, and I appreciate your colophon describing the process, its history and the encouragement to consider printing four-color. And I happen to love Bernhard Modern!




5. The Jim Daggs Refrigerator Award goes to Scott Howard #960. Our beloved, departed member Jim Daggs always printed pieces so well, but with such pithy humor that they made it to my refrigerator for the greatest honor. Humor and cleverness were always critical, as well as good printing. Scott’s piece on Gym Membership reached this pinnacle and is now magneted to my fridge!

Print often, print your best, and print to impress! That’s the APA way….

In the service of Gutenberg,

Mark Barbour
2021 APA President

Ben Franklin, Printing Week and Your APA Dues Notice!

With today being the auspicious birthday of BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, Printer, and the beginning of International Printing Week, this provides me a great opportunity as your new APA President to welcome you to the New Year! May this be a year full of beautiful letterpress printing each month, arriving each month thanks to the postal system, set up by Ben Franklin and aided by our current mailers, Troy and Lisa Groves


International Printing Week was created by the International Association of Printing House Craftsman (IAPHC). The week surrounded the birthday of Benjamin Franklin, Printer, on January 17th. Printing Clubs around the country, as well as printers in general, celebrated the week with special activities, public events, newspaper articles on the printing industry and a good banquet. The IAPHC often issued special stamps for envelopes, posters, and even books to support the weeklong celebration across the county. The illustration above was from the Louisville Craftsman Club in 1958, the year APA started. I was a member of the Santa Monica, CA, Chapter; our distinguished Tramp Printer, Paul Aken, was a member of the Chicago Club and has quite a bit of memorabilia as well. It would be nice to hear who else was a member!

Membership dues are currently due. If you haven’t paid them yet, we have set up an ONLINE DUES option this year through this website by CLICKING HERE.

You can now pay by credit card, bank transfer through Zelle, or mail a check to Katie Roeck, the Secretary-Treasurer. Also, you can make an Additional Donation to help cover additional costs not covered by your nominal dues.

A few reminders and encouragements for 2021 for all of us in APA:

  • Print Early, Print Your Best & Print Often. 
  • Stretch your Printing and Design Skills this Year. 
  • Print to Inspire! Jim Daggs, our dearly departed Tramp Printer, accomplished this often, testified by my refrigerator which is still decorated by his printing. Personally, I want to print something that my fellow members think, smile and reach for a magnet on their refrigerator!
  • Communicate with Courtesy and Respect, whether in print or online. At the end of the printing day, we are a hobby organization made up of diverse members, but we come together to enjoy letterpress printing and friendship.

I am looking forward to a successful year full of ink, type and the sound of presses cranking! Ben Franklin would certainly approve. So lift a glass of Franklin’s favorite, Madeira wine, in his honor at your press. And get some ink on your fingers…

In the service of Franklin,


Mark Barbour
2021-2022 APA President
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