Book Press

It seems that people are hungry for bookbinding. And by golly we will feed them! We’ve received positive feedback from hosting bookbinding workshops during Mondays @ MITCH workshops and will plan to have more in the near future.

I’ve started teaching a bookbinding class at West Liberty University and the students seem enthusiastic. Most of the supplies for bookbinding are fairly easy to find like bone folders, scalpels, and other hand held tools. A trickier piece of equipment to find is a book press which are typically antiques found on the internet. The first day I looked for a book press, I happened upon one being sold in Pittsburgh.

After finagling the ebay bid system, the seller let me know I had won and we arranged for a day to pick it up since shipping it would have been a big hassle. When I arrived for the exchange I met the seller and asked if there was a story behind this press since sometimes these antiques sold online have a long trail of different owners. He explained that it was just sitting in his neighbor’s garage who didn’t know what it was. There are no markings on it to indicate a manufacturer or date. It is mostly unremarkable and at first glance not worthy of much of a story. We talked briefly about the press’s new home at MITCH Collective and how it would be used to make lots of books and teach people about bookbinding. And then I left.

Afterwards, the seller sent me this email:

Hi Siena
I have been thinking and there just might be an interesting story to that press. That guy i met had no idea what that press was and had intended to take it and turn it in for the scrap steel in it. I had no idea what it was but just had to buy it from him and find out what it was. For some reason I felt compelled to do it. So i get it, clean it up, save it from the scrap yard and you buy it and use it to teach others and make beautiful art with it. Its kinda cool how it all worked out. I am glad it wasnt turned into scrap and i am very glad i decided to sell it to you. Like It was meant to be with you. You have been blessed with a great talent and do beautiful work. Many years ago i almost went to the Art institute in Pgh. But my parents couldn’t afford it. So i abandoned my art career. Now i restore cars as a hobby. I take pieces of rusted junk and make them new again. That’s my art.
Take care Siena and it was really nice to meet you. I wanted to share that story with you since you asked about the story of the press the other day.
I left you positive feedback on Ebay.
Good luck with the press.

From an inconsequential beginning the book press will be very much treasured in its new home. I’ve already used it and it works great!



About mitchcollective

MITCH Collective is a community-driven catalyst promoting creativity in the Ohio Valley. MITCH Collective enriches Martins Ferry, Ohio and nearby towns by: -inviting artists, writers, and musicians to experience the beauty and creative potential of the area while creating new work and interacting with local residents through the residency program. -inspiring a historically economically depressed area by teaching new skills and ideas that will help foster new problem solving approaches for challenges that face the community. -collaborating with nonprofit and municipal organizations in Ohio, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania to bring innovative, interdisciplinary projects to life. Facilities include printmaking, screen printing, sewing, quilting, and bookbinding. Visit for more information.
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One Response to Book Press

  1. Great story and lovely press. Good luck with your teaching endeavours!

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