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Rare Books Room: Local Artists & Authors

Mare Blocker (M Kimberly Press)

Mare Blocker, located in Seattle, WA, is an artist and founder of M Kimberly Press. Her works, while mostly books, have been found in over 85 collections throughout the world. Currently, she is an assistant professor of art and design at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, WA. 

Within our collection, we are glad to have some of her works. Featured are “A Thirteen Day River Trip” and “Mermaid Rodeo,” both made by Blocker. “A Thirteen Day River Trip” consists of 8 giant envelopes containing art and poetry, all sewn into the book and bound by ribbon. “Mermaid Rodeo” is a pop-up book containing the daily activities of mermaids, including doing makeup and luring sailors to their death. 

Catherine Alice Michaelis (May Day Press)

Vashon, WA's very own Catherine Alice Michaelis and her May Day Press have been a pillar in the book arts world for thirty years. With an eye always on experimentation, she is fearlessly printing on just about anything she finds from paper to film to fabric. Her books are in over a hundred collections, and she has also been a brilliant educator all over the Pacific Northwest. 

Catherine Alice Michaelis create dynamic and arresting books, but she has also helped usher in beautiful objects from crucial voices in projects such as Soil Dwellers by Emily Van Kley to Our Dead Never Forget the Beautiful World, a speech from Chief Seattle. She brought even more voices together in the Stack The Deck project, a collection of cards for women's health and healing created by twenty-two artists. She not only brings artists together in the community, but also pushes the boundaries in what a book can be, such as Herbal First Aid, which pushes through new doors, changing the way we see and interact with books. 

Lucia Harrison

Lucia Harrison is not only an incredible book artist, but she is also an important part of The Evergreen State College heartbeat. She is Faculty Emeriti, where she helped students bridge the points of science and art. She believes that "combining visual art, science, and environmental education is a vehicle to win hearts and minds for conservation." 

The Harrison books that live in the Rare Books Room, offer vibrant and dynamic art, busting out with rich natural colors. The form of the book feels hand built, handwritten and offers its reader a chance to explore and observe the richness of the South Puget Sound in Washington State. If you'd like to explore Harrison's work further, her website offers the viewer free downloadable interactive artist books. 

Joe Feddersen

Joe Feddersen is an artist based in Omak, WA. As a member of the Coville Confederated Tribes, focuses on producing works based in Indigenous culture and native symbolism. He works with multiple mediums, ranging from paper to glass.  

Two books within our collection, Bestiary and Anthropomorphic Consciousness, contain his art. Bestiary contains his print work of ‘Butterfly,’ paper and glitter being the main mediums used. His piece in Anthropomorphic Consciousness contains a pop-out of an antlered creature, cut out of construction paper and put against a grey backing.  

His work, while not only available to read within our room, is also on display on the 2nd floor of the College Activities Building on campus. Feddersen himself worked at The Evergreen State College from 1989 to 2009 as a professor of the arts.  

Copper Canyon Press

Copper Canyon Press is a seminal poetry publisher from Port Townsend, WA. They originally began in 1972 in Denver, CO after leaving University of California at Santa Barbara, where they had received an award for the best college literary magazine in the nation. They took that prize money and bought printing equipment. Smart move! In 1974, The founders moved to Port Townsend. In those early years, they constructed small editions of handbound, and letter pressed books. They operated this way until 1983, when they turned their focus to publishing trade books, but continuing with a high standard of design and typography. 

Copper Canyon Press published remarkable and handsome small books by some of the fabulous poets like Gary Snyder and Sam Hamill. When holding one of these early books, the reader can see and feel the thoughtfulness that the press bestowed on each title, from the texture of the cover to the line edits of the poetry. Even though Copper Canyon has moved away from the small batch poetry and into more trade publications, they still, to this day, publish excellent and vital contemporary works of poetry from authors such as Chris Abani and Nikki Wallschlaeger. 

Danger Dot Publishing

Danger Dot Publishing is a publishing house located in Olympia, WA. The publisher is focused on releasing books by and for marginalized groups, especially books based in anti-oppression and transgender liberation.  

Danger Dot prioritizes fair labor practices and environmentally friendly behavior when it comes to printing their books. A portion of funds from their releases go back to Black community members and other marginalized groups. 

Holburne Press

Holburne Press, located in Seattle, WA, interprets the old poetry and writings of authors into works of art that puts their words into a new, unique way to interpret them.  

The two books in our collection, To A Gravel Walk by William Mason and Mending Wall by Robert Frost, both turn these writings into art. To A Gravel Walk follows the text along a trail – as if the reader is going on a walk with the author. Mending Wall folds out to become a wall as you read, as intended by the printers. Both utilize creative ways to expand reading comprehension and to allow the reader to engulf themselves in what they read. 

Sherwood Press

Sherwood Press is a legendary institution of Olympia. It was founded in 1940 by besties Jocelyn Dohm and Betty Fultz in the basement of Dohm's family home. A little while later Jocelyn and her father literally built the building to house the press. After a few years, Fultz left the press, and Jocelyn soldiered on. She printed everything from wedding invitations to matchbook covers to record sleeves for some of Olympia's coolest indie-rockers, using metal type set by hand. Through the years, Jocelyn would employ the young people of Olympia and train them in the art of printing. Eventually, one of these young "printer’s devils", Jami Heinricher, became Jocelyn's successor. Today, Heinricher and her partner Terry Bunce have carried the torch and even added three more Heidelberg Windmill presses. 

One only needs to take a quick peak at A Type Specimen Book from Sherwood Press to understand that what they are witnessing is not only an incredible resource on all things type, but a portal into the possibilities of the book arts. This book's pages flow like water in your hand and the metal binding is the perfect alternative to your standard bookbinding. Here’s to another 82 years of Sherwood Press. 


Springtide Press (Jessica Spring)


"Founded in 1999, Springtide Press is located in Tacoma, Washington. [They] design, print and bind artist books, broadsides and ephemera incorporating letterpress printing and handmade paper. Small finely-crafted editions and one-of-a-kind books explore historical topics, popular culture and typography from a unique perspective. [Their] shop motto, “where we always print damp” recognizes the Pacific Northwest as a fine place to print, where the damp climate helps make a good impression."

MalPina Chan

MalPina Chan is a prolific artist located in the Pacific Northwest. From "Her primary method is mixed media collage incorporated into prints, glass works and artist books that reflect on cultural inheritance and societal effects on personal culture. Immigration, cultural shifts, and current discourse propel her work."

Her work has been featured in many collections museums, and displays, including our own Rare Books collection.

Brooding Heron Press

From the beautiful and mysterious Waldron Island comes the seminal Brooding Heron Press & Bindery, founded in 1982 by Sally and Sam Green, who was also Washington's first poet laureate. The family team have been printing and binding books for over thirty years, completely off the grid, and all power arrives from solar panels. 

Publishers of incredible poets such as Denise Levertov and Judy Lightfoot, every book in the Brooding Heron Press catalog shines with not just poems, but as beautiful objects created in small editions. Several of these books are printed on Rives Lightweight paper, handbound into cloth & paper over boards, lettered A-Z, & signed by the author. A true PNW treasure. 

Daniel J. Evans Library - MS: LIB2300 - 2700 Evergreen Parkway, NE. Olympia, WA 98501 - 360-867-6250