Ham at 20 is a collaborative poster project celebrating the twentieth anniversary of The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. For each month of 2019, a new poster (or two!) will be released via the Hamilton website shop in an edition of 50; 25 will be reserved for year-end portfolios that include all prints. The posters are being created by a roster of accomplished letterpress printers and promising up-and-comers starting in the field.
Tracy Honn is a printing history educator, curator, and letterpress printer living in Madison Wisconsin. She is senior artist emerita from University of Wisconsin-Madison where she directed the Silver Buckle Press, a working museum of letterpress printing. Honn oversaw the transfer of the Silver Buckle Press collection to Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum in 2016. She serves on Hamilton’s Executive Board of Directors.
Honn is currently co-curating an exhibition for the Chazen Museum of Art on the Madison campus that will open in February 2020. “Speaking of Book Arts: Oral Histories from UW-Madison” will feature artists’ books from the Kohler Art Library with audio excerpts from recently conducted oral histories of book arts students and instructors from UW-Madison.
What Hamilton means to me:
Twenty years ago I was working on a specimen book of the SIlver Buckle Press’s wood type collection at UW-Madison when I learned that the Two Rivers Historical Society was planning a museum about Hamilton wood type. My co-worker and friend, Rachel Davis, and I drove up from Madison and met Jim Van Lanen who gave us a pre-opening tour. It was love at first sight.
After Hamilton opened, when I gave printing history tours at SBP I’d tell visitors about the museum. For the first ten years or so hardly anyone I met had ever heard of it. After Jim and Bill Moran came to Hamilton (around 2009) Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum entered a period of tremendous growth. I knew things had dramatically changed when many visitors to SIlver Buckle Press started to tell me about Hamilton.
At times Hamilton and its annual wayzgoose gatherings have felt like the epicenter of a cultural happening. For many, me included, it is a treasured nexus for work and friendship.
My print is a callback to the anniversary poster I designed at Silver Buckle Press for Hamilton’s tenth anniversary. That was a specimen sheet of wood type figures. (Because I had often been frustrated while doing type research to find good images of wood type figures, printing a bunch of them was a happy indulgence.) For Ham@20 I wanted to do a specimen sheet again, and Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum kindly let me use types from their Wood Type Legacy project so I could show them off in a celebratory broadside.