erin beckloff

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Letterpress Anthropologist: Excursions of a Graphic Designer

The structure of my thesis is based on the chronological excursions of my becoming a letterpress printer, filmmaker, and graphic design educator. I formed a community of like-minded comrades who are introduced through stories of our interwoven journey; it is a record of my memories, my part of the collective historical memory of print culture. It is the manifestation of my motivation to preserve, document, and share the knowledge and history of letterpress printing. I aim to demonstrate how the letterpress printing process will survive through educating others in the craft.

Letterpress combines manual, mechanical, and technical processes—the craft has an inherent interrelationship of skill and material. The tactility and authenticity of the letterpress aesthetic has significant value, but the intangible effects of the process are consequential. Members of the community share a love of the craft; they play an invaluable role in keeping letterpress alive by passing on the love and transferring knowledge to younger generations. Through documentation, including co-directing and producing Pressing On: The Letterpress Film, I am making that knowledge widely available, beyond the design and art disciplines.

I believe that history is not linear, but rather a web of connections between people through time, like a star cluster, gravitationally bound, existing as a collection orbiting each other forever. That permanent orbit represents the letterpress printing community’s expansiveness through time. I feel the invisible threads that tie the letterpress community together and I help those connections grow and develop through my natural ability to introduce people, my desire to learn from others, and my drive to help build the body of knowledge of letterpress printing.

Erin Beckloff, APA member no. 885, is a graphic designer, letterpress printer, documentary filmmaker, and educator. She teaches at Miami University and resides in Springboro, Ohio.

 

http://www.erinbeckloff.com/