The nation's oldest, continuously running letter press, Tribune Showprint, and Book Art Collaborative displayed some of their work in the Madjax studio on Feb. 2 as part of Muncie’s First Thursday. The Book Art Collaborative, recently founded by Ball State English professor Rai Peterson, teaches anyone interested about the art of book binding and press printing.
Local businesses partner to preserve lost art
Tribune Showprint and Book Art Collaborative opened their doors Feb. 2 at Madjax Studio as part of Muncie’s First Thursday.
The two businesses recently paired up to help preserve a fading art: movable type.
Ball State English professor Rai Peterson recently founded the Book Art Collaborative. The collaborative teaches anyone interested about the art of book binding and press printing.
If you are interested in taking the class, email Rai Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“There’s something really satisfying about working with this old-fashioned method,” Peterson said.
Peterson's bookbinding classes through Ball State fulfill English, immersive learning and internship credits.
“We take things that we teach on campus and apply them here in a real-world market,” Peterson said. “We find out real quick if our ideas sell or not because we have six retail outlets.”
The class uses printing presses on lease from the Tribune Showprint, the nation’s oldest, continuously running letter press shop. They make event-based posters for clients from all around the nation.
“People don’t realize it’s been in Indiana for its entire 138 years,” said Kim Miller, one of the owners of the Tribune. “A lot of people come in here and they step back into history.”
While the Tribune has not printed any posters for Ball State, they do open their doors to students wishing to learn about the art.
Miller said students of all disciplines come to tour the facility, and she regularly works with the Book Art Collaborative students.
One of the collaborative students, Rachel Harvey, a senior computer science major, got into book binding a year and a half ago.
“I think it’s nice because it’s a part of history,” Harvey said. “It’s cool to be able to say this is how they did it a hundred years ago.”
Also featured at the Madjax event were over 40 years worth of of Ball State student prints.
One of the attendees, Charles Jamieson, used to set type in high school and was excited to be in the Madjax studio.
“The whole concept of makers, to me that’s entrepreneurship,” Jamieson said. “That’s the future, and for a city like Muncie that’s trying to reinvent itself, I think this could be a catalyst to improve our city.”