Last year we moved to Chicago, literally, the DAY AFTER Printers’ Ball. So, I was mildly disappointed we had missed it BUT it meant that I had a whole year to get pumped for the next one. All of that anticipation was worth it.

So, what exactly is Printers’ Ball???

“The Printers’ Ball is an annual celebration of print culture, featuring thousands of magazines, books, and broadsides free of charge; letterpress, offset, and papermaking demonstrations; live music and dancing; and much more (quoted from the Printers’ Ball Facebook page).” It’s marvelous. I volunteered along with a group of my fellow graduate students to do demonstrations in our three studios, book/paper/print. This meant that I spent the majority of the evening up to my elbows in pulp as groups came in and out of the room. Over 3,000 people attended and over 2,000 visited the Center for Book and Paper’s floor. I answered a lot of questions and made A LOT of paper.

Before the night started though, all of us volunteers had a chance to check out all of the free books, zines, magazines, postcards, and chapbooks that were out on display. Needless to say, I stocked up! I grabbed a couple things from Ugly Duckling Press, a few awesome design magazines, some old issues of The Journal of Artists Books, and some random things that just seemed interesting. It was great and I’ll have reading materials from now until October!

On my break I also got a chance to walk around. It was so fun to watch everyone talking and hanging around with their awesome Printers’ Ball totes full of free literature and people walking by with their faces painted like zombies (oh yeah – the theme this year was IT’S ALIVE all creepy and Halloweeny in July). It was a great atmosphere of friendly conversations and sincere interest. There was also live music on the ground floor and endless events happening all night. I loved it.

However, next year I think I’ll be enjoying it from the ‘just a visitor’ side instead of the ‘crazy busy demonstrator’ side.

So, I gathered most of the images above from random places across the internet – obviously, I didn’t have a lot of time to walk around and take photos. I hope you enjoy them. Should you find yourself in Chicago next fall Printers’ Ball is a MUST.

Bon weekend you guys! Check back on Monday for more catch up blog posts!

P.S. I didn’t even tell you about Printers’ Ball Eve – a private (ooh-la-la) event hosted by The Poetry Foundation the night before the shindig proper. Drew and I went, again along with some of my fellow grad students + their significant others, to the new super swanky Poetry Foundation building. We ate food, drank beer, mingled, and watched a very lovely shadow puppet show of Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky.” Twas very fun indeed!

Photo credits: the two photos of the crowds are from One Book One Chicago’s Flickr page. The image of the wood type is from bluebike on Flickr. The image of the PB sign is from gozamos on Flickr. And yeah the other two are mine.

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