After my husband died, I wrote a book about loss for our daughter, who was then 3 years old.
I had decided to make the whole book with my own hands as an exercise of devotion, and went looking for a letterpress class.
The day I walked into Iota Press, I wept. I don't know what it was, but something about the old presses and the inks and papers made me feel home.
Iota is a co-op run by Eric Johnson, a truly kind, deeply intelligent man with an inspired wit, and a passion for the craft of letterpress. I took a couple of classes with him, and pretty much never left.
The nice thing about the co-op is that it's a truly diverse group of artists and writers using letterpress in all sorts of ways. Business cards, prose, chap books and broadsides yes, but sometimes an A is an arrow and an O is the moon. There are lengthy conversations about language and process, and everyone takes an interest in each others ideas.
Iota rescued me. It gave me the tools and the support to work through my grief in a quiet way. Typesetting is like a meditation. It calms, it whispers things, gives words to things without names. Even if what you are writing is dark or painful... it's lovely!