Watershed Review

Est. 2012

Month: November, 2014

A Walk to Wild Ink Press

 

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In our English 415: Editing Literary Magazines course, we’ve come to the much anticipated point of the semester where we create broadsides from block prints and excerpts from our own work. After the hard work of researching literary magazines, completing our editorial process and collecting all the pieces that will comprise the upcoming issue of Watershed Review, we’re feeling ready to switch gears. Here, Sarah Pape walks students through some examples from last semester.

 

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Looking through various examples of letterpress broadsides, as well as “handmade” versions of peer’s work, English 415 students begin to think about choices they will make for their own. We consider the relationships between image, type, layout, paper, and color.

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In English 415, we cover a lot of ground, reading about the history of literary publication, the social and artistic importance of those early efforts, as well as the present day innovators in online publication. To get a better sense of the machines and processes necessary to produce early literary publications, we headed to a local letterpress studio, Wild Ink Press, where they produce sundry paper products–from cards to coasters to art prints.

 

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Upon arrival, Wild Ink’s pressman, Rik Pape, gave students a thorough overview of the parts and procedures involved in making a letterpress print. Here, he brings out examples of copper plates used for embossing.

 

 

DSC_0353English 415 Field Trip282014Wild Ink’s main workhorses (besides their dedicated owners and staff) are the Heidelberg Windmill presses. Nicknamed “The Prince of Presses,” when this one kicked into gear, we stood back in awe of the precision and power behind the whirring mechanics.

 

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Between ink color, locking the plate and calibrating for the exact imprint, Rik shows the class how little room for error there is when setting up a job. On this particular day, he was working on a custom Christmas card.

 

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We were given a sample print to inspect, looking specifically at the high quality cotton paper and how the silver ink creates a opalescent effect.

We learned so much on our field trip to Wild Ink Press. Most notably, we left with a genuine sense of wonder and admiration for those early publishers of literary works, laboring over handset type and big iron presses to bring those voices we now take for granted into the world for the first time.

Though we will be working with hand-carved blocks, brayers and a typewriter for our foray into broadside prints, we hope to import some of the precision, intention and beauty that resides in the Wild Ink products we explored.

Thank you to Matt and Rebekah Tennis for allowing us to visit during their preparations for the opening of Wild Ink Press’ new studio/shop space. Thanks, too, to Rik Pape for the tour of inks, plates, type and presses.

Photos by Sylvia Bowersox and Sarah Pape.

Writer’s Voice Spotlight: Wendy C. Ortiz

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CSU, Chico Writer’s Voice is proud to present author, Wendy C. Ortiz, Thursday November 6th at 7:30pm in Colusa 100A.

Recently, I picked up a copy of Excavation: A Memoir by Wendy C. Ortiz and was unable to put it down until I reached the end. In Excavation, Ortiz narrates the years-long relationship that she had with a teacher, starting when she was 13 years old. Her memoir flips the script on how society dictates someone in her position should act. In an interview with Hector Tobar in the LA Times, Ortiz says, “I’m writing about something that people prefer to see as black and white, but I really want to expose the grays.” The grays emerge in the way that her story is told, unapologetic and never shying away from taboo. Her story is about much more than her relationship with her teacher. It is also a coming of age story about a girl who is trying to find her place in the world. The raw and at times uncomfortably honest story kept me turning each page.

Memoir often relies on a dual perspective–the voice of innocence and the voice of experience. In Ortiz’ book, she accomplished this through mining journals from those years the relationship was happening and by creating formal elements that contain the adult perspective. While reading you feel as if you are inside the mind of teenage Ortiz as she is experiencing these events and grappling with what it all means. The soundtrack to this time in her life can be heard in the background with her use of song titles and lyrics to describe her moods. The second voice comes from the present-day Ortiz as she performs an archaeological dig on her past. This is the voice of experience that questions and tries to make sense of what happened. Those moments are presented as “Notes on an Excavation.”

The upcoming issue of Watershed Review will also feature a short creative nonfiction piece from Ortiz titled “Mud Myths.” It is a unique piece that stood out from the other nonfiction pieces because it is written in the third person. Like Excavation: A Memoir, the language in this story is very lyrical. We are honored to have a piece of her work to include in our Fall issue.

Wendy C. Ortiz is the author of Excavation: A Memoir (Future Tense Books, 2014) and the forthcoming Hollywood Notebook (Writ Large Press, spring 2015). She wrote the year-long, monthly column “On the Trail of Mary Jane” for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Vol. 1 Brooklyn, The Nervous Breakdown, and The Rumpus, among many other places. Wendy is co-founder, curator, and host of the decade-old Rhapsodomancy Reading Series. She is a registered marriage and family therapist intern in Los Angeles.

Check out her website and her Tumblr to read more about her current projects.

Please join us for an exciting evening with Wendy C. Ortiz, Thursday, November 6th at 7:30 pm in Colusa 100A. Thanks to contributions made by the Department of English and the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, Writer’s Voice readings are free and open to the public.

By Jill North