The smallest job Dave Wofford’s designed and printed at Horse & Buggy Press in Durham, N.C. was a 112 page book for a Chapel Hill church and school.
That was a print run of just one book.
“They wanted a book instead of a wall plaque,” he says of the commemorative project.
The largest was a 4,000 press run of single sheet posters for Son Volt, a promotion for the album “Straightaways.”
But most of the projects he’s designed and printed on his two 1960s-era letterpresses are runs between 250 and 750 pieces. Some are books, some are CD covers, and others are catalogs, brochures, and menus.
For his 20th anniversary this year, Wofford has organized an exhibition of his work. It’s on display now at Cassilhaus, the residence/studio/gallery designed by Durham-based architect Ellen Cassilly with her husband, Frank Konhaus. There are 30 books, 50 framed items and a smattering of other design and letterpress projects. And they all have two qualities in common:
“I only print work which I also design – I don’t print the work of other designers,” he says. “It’s just not fun or meaningful to print something I didn’t have a hand in designing.”
A number of the book projects explored the possibilities of integrating offset or digital printing by others with letterpress printing at Horse & Buggy. “It combines the beauty of offset or digital photography with typesetting by me – integrating the older and newer to for the benefit of printed pieces,” he says.
For the exhibition, he’s encouraging viewers to do more than look, by creating a gallery environment that’s a purposeful reading space. Artisan Scott Howell has created two ash sitting chairs with leather upholstery; Al Frega contributed a side table (made with part of the flag staff from Durham’s Hill building, now the 21c Hotel); Jessica Ullom from Hawks & Doves made custom bench cushions from vintage agricultural feed sacks and locally produced leather; and Tim Schrand made a book rack fashioned out of a mix of wood, leading strips, rulers, and pencils.
“All this encourages viewers to pick up the books and sit down and actually read them, which is really the whole point of working on these book collaborations,” he says.
The exhibition stays at Cassilhaus until its closing reception on Sunday, June 5, from 2 P.M. to 5 P.M. Special guests and raffles are a promised part of the afternoon. To RSVP and get directions, email Wofford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The show opens at the Contemporary Art Museum in downtown Raleigh on June 15, and runs through August 7.