Cottage Street Studios open house

The day after I visited the Northampton Book and Book Arts Fair, I headed out to the Montague Book Mill, a fantastic book store that I frequented when I was in graduate school.

My route took me through Easthampton, MA and I came across the Cottage Street Studios. It took me a while to realize the fact that I had been there before. The building houses the Garage Annex School, founded by Daniel Kelm. I attended two workshops there, one with Hedi Kyle (Stationery Departures) in 2005 and another with Julie Chen (Artists’ Books: Ideas, Actions, & Transformations) in 2008.

Cottage Street Studios in Easthampton, MA

A sign out front announced that there was an open studio event that day. I wasn’t planning on stopping until I saw Peter Geraty’s (Praxis Bindery) name on the building. I finally decided to pull over and check it out.

The building has an interesting history. It was built in 1859 and operated as a water-powered mill until the mid-seventies. In 1976, the building was sold to Riverside Industries for $1.00. Riverside offers a range of services to adults with developmental disabilities. More than 80 artists now have studios in the building, with Riverside as their landlord.

It turns out that there are quite a few bookbinders with studios in the building, including Sarah Creighton, Stephanie Gibbs, and Mark Tomlinson. None of them were open for the tour.

And sadly, Peter Geraty’s studio was not open either. I decided to explore the building anyway. The tour had awesome letterpress signage to help guide you through the building (which was massive).

Letterpress sign by Big Wheel Press

You walk through long hallways to get to the various studios. It was an adventure!

Hallway in Cottage Street Studios in Easthampton, MA

I came across Daniel’s studio, which was also closed. No bookbinders for me today. 🙁

Sign on Daniel Kelm studio door

I made my way up to the fifth floor and discovered the letterpress studio of Bill Muller – Big Wheel Press.

It.was.huge. And clean! His studio could eat my studio many times over. I have no idea how he got all of the heavy equipment up there. I’m not sure what all of those machines do, but I want them.

Big Wheel Press - letterpress shop

Big Wheel Press - letterpress shop

I bought this awesome broadside – it was in a pile of seconds. It was trimmed funky (the others didn’t look like this one). It had to be mine.

Letterpress broadside by Big Wheel Press

I’m looking forward to getting it framed and hanging in my studio!

So what do you think? I'd love to know!

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