Tryst Press and the Craft of Making Books
October 29, 2012
What one expects to find in a library are books. What one expects to find in a Special Collections library are old books made from old printing practices, preserving the beauty of the past. However, did you know that Special Collections also has modern books made from handcrafted material in the old tradition of letterpress?
A locally run printing press known as Tryst Press has been printing books for years in the tradition of 15th century printing known as letterpress. Letterpress is a printing practice in which inked, movable type is used as a relief while paper is rolled or pressed against it to create a printed page. This type of printing was invented by Johannes Gutenberg and was used until the mid-19th century. Today, Tryst Press uses this method to create custom, handcrafted books incorporating watermarks, and colorful, original artistic illustrations.
Tryst Press also creates its own materials for the books by hand, starting with making paper in their very own paper mill. They have maintained the tradition of western-style hand-papermaking using the plant fibers from hemp, cotton, and flax.
Many of the items mentioned on Tryst Press’s website can be found in Special Collections. Among them are beautiful, custom cards and many custom books.
A few books worth mentioning include an original printing of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, which displays enchanting images printed and designed by owner Rob Buchert. Another is an original collection of poems called A Harvest of Love, which is an endearing tribute from a husband to his wife throughout a lifetime of companionship. One final recommendation is a book of quotes titled Beauty: being several quotes upon the subject. The poetic charm of B. G. Jefferis, J. L. Nichols, Christopher Morley and Alexander Pope complement the artistic charm and quality of the book itself.
Taking the opportunity to view these items is well worth the visit. The craftsmanship of the paper, binding, printing and books will take your breath away as you turn each artistic page.
Upper left image taken from Leslie Norris, A Harvest of Love (Provo, UT: Tryst Press, 2003).
Lower right image taken from B.G. Jefferis, Beauty: Being Several Quotes Upon the Subject (Provo, UT: Tryst Press, 1995).