Adventure and Art the fine press book from 1450 to 2011

Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne

About the Exhibition

Leigh Scott Gallery, Level 1, Baillieu Library, 1 March to 27 May 2012

Adventure and Art, curated by poet and fine press printer Alan Loney, is about the printer’s craft, evidenced from the first printed books in the 15th century, and given a hugely influential impetus by William Morris and the Arts & Craft movement at the end of the 19th. This exhibition will show how a number of technologies that are obsolete in commercial terms are still current in creative & craft terms in the 21st century. Exhibited will be books from the Baillieu Special Collections from Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia.



A Symposium discussing the nature and definition of fine press books will be held from 2-5pm on March 9th 2012 in the Leigh Scott Room in the Baillieu Library. Each of the speakers at this Symposium, has arrived at the fine press book in different ways. It is hoped that the symposium will inform as much as interest and delight those who see the exhibition and attend the day’s discussions.

The speakers at the symposium are Alan Loney, Andrew Schuller, Peter Vangioni, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Carolyn Fraser and Caren Florance.

Attendees at the Symposium are invited to the exhibition opening following the symposium.

Date: March 9th 2012, 2-5pm

Venue: Leigh Scott Room, Bailleau Library, University of Melbourne, Parkville

Bookings: All welcome

Symposium speakers

Chris Wallace-Crabbe AM has a worldwide reputation as poet, while his most recent books of verse include Telling a Hawk from a Handsaw and the forthcoming New and Selected Poems. He chairs Australian Poetry Limited and is a Professor Emeritus at the University of Melbourne. Also a public speaker and commentator on the visual arts, he specializes in ”artists’ books”, and all that they might mean. Read It Again, a volume of critical essays, was published in 2005. Among other awards he has won the Dublin Prize for Arts and Sciences and the Christopher Brennan Award for Literature.

Caren Florance Free-falling through the space left by the demise of Australian private presses, Ampersand Duck is an art-oriented letterpress imprint that produces work across the spectrum of book arts and fine press work. Based in Canberra, Caren Florance prints independently or collaboratively, sometimes jobbingly. Her particular area of interest is technological obsolescence and re-purposing. Caren has studied visual arts and English.

Alan Loney’s first book of poems was published in 1971 and he began printing in 1974. He was co-winner of the poetry prize in the New Zealand Book Awards in 1977, Literary Fellow at the University of Auckland in 1992, and Honorary Fellow of the Australian Centre at the University of Melbourne 2002-2006, and Convener of the Conference on the History of the Book in New Zealand at University of Auckland 1995. He also received the Janet Frame Literary Trust Award for Poetry in 2010. Loney has published 11 books of poetry, and eight books of prose with a recent emphasis on the nature of the book. His latest book of essays, The books to come, was published by Cuneiform Press in 2010. He will be one of six international speakers at the Codex Symposium in California in 2013. His latest press is Electio Editions.

Carolyn Fraser is a Melbourne-born letterpress printer and writer. In 2005, after eleven years in the US, she shipped a 20ft. container of letterpress equipment to Melbourne and re-established Idlewild Press in the Nicholas Building. She has published three titles under the Idlewild imprint: Seventeen Reasons, The Extinguishing of Stars and Envelope. Seventeen Reasons was the recipient of a Rounce & Coffin Club Award for Book Design in 2000. These fine press books are in national and international collections, including the State Library of Victoria, the New York Public Library, Yale University and the Library of Congress. In addition to publishing artist books, Carolyn teaches letterpress printing and is a regular contributor to Uppercase.

Andrew Schuller is a retired book publisher. He worked for Oxford University Press in Oxford for over 30years, is a member of the Oxford Guild of Printers and occasionally prints under the WordWynker Press imprint. He now lives most of the year in Canberra, where he spends some time as a publishing consultant and researching private presses in Australia and the impact of digitization on scholarly publishing. He has delivered papers at the conferences of the Bibliographical Society of Australia and New Zealand and the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing.

Peter Vangioni is a curator at the Christchurch Art Gallery Te Puna o Waiwhetu and has curated exhibitions on Ralph Hotere, Petrus van der Velden and British modernist prints from the mid 20th century. In recent years he has been instrumental in establishing the acquisition of artist’s books for the Gallery’s collection. He has a keen interest in hand printed books and operates his own private press, the Kowhai Press, from home.