What do you know, have learned, or understand?
Two artists asked the questions of the community as inspiration to create unique prints at the Mancos Common Press.
Rosie Carter and Jamie Karolich came up with the idea of the Knowledge Deposit Box for a letterpress printmaking project during a two-week artist-in-residence program.
Selected answers left in a special drop box were designed into stylish “Knowledge Prints” using two restored printing presses at the Mancos Common Press.
Carter and Karolich created about 20 original designs using a Chandler and Price press from the 1800s, and a Challenge Proof Press from the 1960s. They made 30 to 40 copies of each original print.
The community submitted more than 100 knowledge messages, ranging from the whimsical to the profound. Copies of the finished prints are being offered for free from a newspaper box in front of the Mancos Common Press.
In an interview, artists Karolich and Carter explained that the historic presses require each letter, image, symbol, and space to be arranged by hand.
They also used the letters and presses in original ways to create form and imagery in color, and black and white.
Moving the giant wheels and mechanisms of the old printing presses was a physical job, they said.
Karolich and Carter said the project was fun because it involved community participation and the use of historic type-setting in non-traditional ways.
“It was a collaboration between us and the community. We used thoughtful designs to articulate the sentiment behind the comments,” Karolich said.
The project is also a way to educate the public about historic printing presses and the variety of uses for them, said Mancos Common Press board president Tami Graham.
The program was made possible through a grant from the Ballantine Family Foundation. The Chandler and Price press was donated by Larry Hauser of Cortez.
An open house exhibit of the prints made from the artist-in-residence program will be held May 20 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Mancos Common Press, 135 W. Grand Ave.