The Studio in 2011

On our way to the bookfair in Baruth, Brandenburg, we had planned to have time for a detour to Cottbus. My colleague Uwe is setting up a students‘ printing workplace at the local Waldorf school. He, like me, took over part of another Waldorf school‘s equipment last year. I chose metal type in cases that were part of the cabinets Uwe took over to Cottbus. So I transfer the metal type into some of my own cases, and now can hand over the cases still missing from Uwe‘s cabinets. At this meeting we agree that he comes to my place later that year. Most of the standing matter of Titula is still standing and Uwe does a fantastic job sorting quite a lot of it into the respective cases. In turn we work together on a few projects enabling Uwe to get a better feel for working with metal type and printing presses.

Lyricards, multicolour edition as a fundraiser, poem by Bret Harte, letterpress, hand set from Trajanus with ornaments

Australian artist Marianne and I have been emailing regularly ever since we met back in 2007. We both have been into photography for a very long time and many of our emails come with attached images. When I suggest we could make some sort of book together covering one year of exchanging letters with photos, she instantly answers „Yes, yes, yes!“. So we take up our challenging 52-week project in spring of 2011.

Lyricards, poem by Thomas Hood, letterpress, hand set from Trajanus with ornaments

The idea behind the second of the al-Mutanabbi-Street projects is that artists all over the world were to create a symbolic inventory of all the books, brochures and magazines lost in the bombing. I decide to make three magazine-like artists books containing poetry spanning some 400 years of mankind‘s history of writing poems. This is the start of a new series with the title „Manarah“, which is an old Arabic term meaning lighthouse or roadsign, in any case a structure that helps to find one‘s orientation. The first three issues are my contribution to the Inventory project. Issue No. 1 is on war, issue No. 2 on time and issue No. 3 is on love: You need love and time to overcome war. There will be more issues published in the future.

As a member of the British part of the Fine Press Book Association (FPBA), I can join a tour to a very special selection of libraries in Stockholm. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience: Dedicated librarians show breathtaking books to us in stunning historic buildings. We get to see copies of the original edition of works by Carl von Linné and Maria Sibylla Merian and one book of sacred Inuit songs, handwritten on seal leather and bound in seal leather with tiny pieces of fur still attached. The days are packed with activities and within our small group of printer colleagues there is a lot to talk about.

Historic globes at Skokloster Castle, nr. Stockholm (Sweden)

Fabian Schroebel is taking a degree in print design at Technical College for Design in Schwaebisch Gmuend, and visits the studio as one of his term projects. The Technical College is only a 15 -kilometre car journey away from the studio. Ever since the studio moved to Waeschenbeuren, many a student comes for some sort of work related to either bookbinding or letterpress printing.

Card with alphabet of Unger-Fraktur

And there is one more school‘s printing department that needs to find a new permanent home. This time it is near Stuttgart and there is an unusual amount of ornaments to be had, plus a lovely choice of large size Unger-Fraktur and some Quick and beautiful Legende.

Lyricards, poem by Walter Savage Landor, letterpress, handset from Quick with ornaments

Frankly: I am really running out of room for more equipment, but, with just a little more reshuffling the new equipment can be wriggled into place.

Card hand set from Legende with metal type

During the FPBA-tour in Stockholm my colleagues urge me to come to the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair in late autumn as a visitor. And there, for the first time, I come across the lovely tradition of keepsakes. These are a bit like a souvenir but they also come with information. A keepsake turns out to be a smaller version of a book, some sort of sample characterising the completed work with a snippet of the text to read. In most cases it is printed on the same paper as the true work. A keepsake will show the typography of the text, maybe even one of the illustrations printed from the original block, and it will give the facts about the work itself. If you cannot make up your mind to buy the book straight away, you take a keepsake as a reminder and order later. As of now I shall print lovely keepsakes for my new books as well.


Briefly noted:

Exhibiting at 7th Norddeutschen Handpressenmesse in Hamburg

Exhibiting at 21st Minipressenmesse in Mainz

Exhibiting at Buchmesse in Glashütte (Baruth)

Exhibiting at Druck&Buch in Erlangen

Being part of the international exhibition „An Inventory of al-Mutanabbi-Street“

Visiting Oxford Fine Press Book Fair, where Victoria Hall is selling her bespoke marbled papers.

Published in 2011:

„Kümmelsuppe“, caraway soup, broadside with recipe and bag of caraway seeds, contribution to Drucktopf

Manarah 1: A Divan of War, artist’s book, letterpress, with lino etching

Manarah 2: A Divan of Time, artist’s book, letterpress with woodcuts

Manarah 3: A Divan of Love, artist’s book, letterpress with lino etchings

Manarah 1-3: contribution for the al-Mutanabbi-Street-with the extra edition of LyriCards, part of which as a Fundraiser for „al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here“


Norddeutsche Handpressenmesse, is now „BuchDruckKunst – Erlesenes auf Papier“ in Hamburg:

Mainzer Minipressenmesse

for Druck&Buch in Erlangen alongside Poets Feast: Johannes Häfner

The Fine Press Book Association (FPBA)



Handmade decorated Papers by Victoria Hall (UK)

To be continued 11 May 2024


  1. Fabulous work Annette. I love the idea of the keepsakes.

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