Book Arts

underground_ink_logoThe UAFS Art Department maintains a fully functional letterpress and book arts studio/classroom, known as Underground Ink. The letterpress shop and book arts studio, located in the basement of the Gardner Building, is currently equipped with
• two Vandercook proofing presses;
• a Chandler and Price platen press;
• facilities for storage and cutting/handling of paper and binding materials;
• a finishing area/worktable that can fully accommodate up to 8 students;
• 200+ fonts of metal and wood type.



Letterpress, which was once considered outmoded technology, has now become a premiere educational tool among some of the top graphic design programs in the world for teaching about typography, paper, book arts and fine letterpress printing craftsmanship.

Book Art (or Book Arts or Artists’ Books, as the genre is sometimes called) is different from book design or book illustration. Book art is actually a term for the exploration of books, not just as vehicles for information, but books as an expressive art form. In Book Arts, every aspect of a book—size, format, materials, shape, weight, even how it opens (or not) and is read—all these elements are intentionally chosen to help convey the content. Usually the printed edition is small (many are hand printed and bound), or book art works may also be one-of-a-kind, and some include altered books as sculpture.

In addition, letterpress and book arts are an important part of combining the development of critical hand skills and cognitive development with literacy, history, and alternative art-making. Students who get letterpress and book arts experience are not just working with their hands; they are using their hands and their art in the service of communication with words, sentences, poems, stories, and sequential narratives.

This letterpress and book arts studio is used for regular classes in the Art and Graphic Design programs. It is also used by other classes, such as those in history and language. In addition to regular credit letterpress and book arts courses, Underground Ink Letterpress and Book Arts also hosts several public letterpress and book art workshops each year.

For more information, please contact Katie Harper at 479-788-7333 or