College starts the presses with new letterpress print shop

 A new letterpress print shop is opening at the Kalamalka campus of Okanagan College. - submitted
A new letterpress print shop is opening at the Kalamalka campus of Okanagan College.
— image credit: submitted

This fall marks the launch of a new endeavor at Okanagan College with the opening of The Bunker, a letterpress print shop with more than 20,000 pounds of vintage printing presses and metal type.

Located in the basement of the college’s  Kalamalka (Vernon) campus, the shop comes after three years of planning, renovations, equipment installation and set-up.

Okanagan College English instructor Jason Dewinetz, also the proprietor of Greenboathouse Press, has  loaned the college a wide range of letterpress equipment for student use.

The presses will be rolling this year with students in the writing and publishing diploma program setting type and pulling proofs by hand.

“The equipment includes a rare Westman & Baker press (one of very few letterpress platens made in Canada), a giant Chandler & Price platen press, an equally hefty Vandercook SP-25 Power press, an antique paper trimmer, and all of the other bits and pieces required in a shop,” reads Kalamalka Press’ website. “And then there’s the type, and there’s plenty of it, mostly collected from print-shops and newspapers long shut-down around the Okanagan, but also including a small gathering of newer types to be put to use on Kalamalka Press books.”

In conjunction with the launch of the print shop, Okanagan College’s literary publishing imprint, Kalamalka Press, has been restructured and revamped, with forthcoming titles to be  printed by students in the shop.

Kalamalka Press’ new editor is Okanagan College professor and author Kevin McPherson Eckhoff, while Dewinetz will be heading up design and production.

The first book from the new Kalamalka Press will be the winning manuscript of the inaugural John Lent Poetry/Prose Award, Ariel Gordon’s How to Make a Collage.

Over the course of the 2012-13 academic year, students will set the type for the book by hand, proof and correct the type, print the sheets and bind the books as part of their writing and publishing studies.

This intricate manual work, which introduces students to a wide range of production processes, is offered as a complement to the computer-based training that students receive throughout the diploma program, which includes classes in writing, editing, communications, typography and design.

The print shop will be launched as part of orientation day at Okanagan College’s Kalamalka Campus on Tuesday from 2 to 4 p.m., with a printing demonstration and display.

See www.kalamalkapress.com for more information.


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