Current Projects

Creative and Critical Works in Progress

Image by Bruno Martins

The Bite and The Kiss: Gender and Letterpress Printing 1900-2020

This short monograph, currently under contract with Cambridge University Press, examines the art and culture of letterpress printing done by women and gender minorities in the 20th and 21st centuries. Drawing on theories of slow technology, critiques of gendered labour, and theories of craft and the handmade, I argue that this old technology gains new political and aesthetic potency for women as more efficient methods of printing come to dominate the commercial realm. I trace the history of women hand-setting type from the independent literary publishers of the early part of the 20th century through to second-wave feminists printing polemics and posters, and finally to the popularity of letterpress in contemporary culture as a contrast to digital materiality. Focusing on a diverse range of English-language examples, this book tells the story of an anachronistic technology with tactile qualities that have endured in art, literature, and politics even as more efficient print and digital technologies have supplanted it for most practical uses.

Image by Laura Chouette

Fastening

I am in the process of creating a series of artists books and poems meditating materially and metaphorically on different types of fastenings, bindings, and attachments

Image by Patrick Tomasso

Publishing Modernist Biography

I continue to work using quantitative book history methodologies on the publishing of biographies in the early twentieth century in order to document and account for the immense popularity of this genre in England during the period between 1918 and 1939.

 

©2021 by Claire Battershill