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Slinging Ink Dynamic Half-Block Class

Slinging Ink Dynamic Half-Block Class

Master printer Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. came to Colorado College from Detroit in January to teach the Dynamic Half-Block class, Slinging Ink. Kennedy was no stranger to The Press at CC, having taught there two years earlier. Thanks to a revival of letterpress printing in education, Kennedy teaches all over the country. He says The Press at CC is special.

“I think that this is a wonderful press, and it’s a well-equipped facility,” he says. “This form of printing was basically the only way that books and any distributed information was put out to the world until the early 1920s. You had armies of people employed to make this happen.”

The Half-Block afforded him three hours per day over nine days to acquaint students with The Press at CC and teach them to make zines. Historically, zines were printed and distributed as a grassroots way of sharing ideas, particularly on political or social topics that weren’t well covered by mainstream media. As part of their research, the class visited Special Collections to view a collection of zines.

Of the 11 students in the class, from all majors and disciplines, only two were familiar with letterpress printing. About two thirds of their class time was spent in the process of printing, providing valuable hands-on experience.

“It is the doing that I’m encouraging people to undertake. Because as you do, you learn,” Kennedy says.

He recalls coming to the art and craft of printing at age 40 after working as a computer programmer.

“I’m enjoying the heck out of printing. The things that I make ... some of that joy is infused in it. And so for the person who gets it, it’s released to that person, or it ignites a certain joy in them,” he explains.

He says that joy is transmitted even when the print is a somber one like his gift to Half-Block students — a zine commemorating the 100th anniversary of the Red Summer of 1919, during which racial riots initiated by whites against blacks occurred in dozens of cities across the U.S., claiming the lives of nearly 200 people.

Ultimately, each student created a zine that will be exhibited at the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College from Feb. 2 to April 7.