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