• An Artistic Appreciation of the Arch
    Holly Downing & Jack Stauffacher

Holly Downing & Jack Stauffacher, Arch: hand-made artist's book.

To honor the arch, whose contribution to architecture around the world has been profound, Jack Stauffacher and Holly Downing celebrate a small selection of that history by focusing on the arch's role in Umbrian vernacular architecture. This project involves the creation of an artist's book combining Downing's hand-printed mezzotint engravings of the arch, as found in Umbria today, with prose from Paul Valéry's Dialogues, Eupalinos or the Architect. Typographer Jack Stauffacher designed the book's layout and handprint the type at the Greenwood Press in San Francisco. Foolscap Press, located in Santa Cruz, California, hand bound the books. Accompanying the book publication is a traveling exhibition which includes university libraries and some museums.

Painter and mezzotint engraver, Holly Downing has been working in the archaic technique of mezzotint since the mid-1970s, when she was a student at the Royal College of Art in London, where she received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship to pursue this form of engraving. Her work is held by many museums, including the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; the Ashmoleon Museum, Oxford, UK; the Scottish National Art Gallery, Edinburgh; the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris; the Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco; the Stanford Art Museum, California; the Portland Art Museum, Oregon; and the Hawaii Art Museum. She is an elected member of the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers, London, and her work has been exhibited internationally. Architecture has long been an important subject of her work, whether the arch in Umbrian villages, the portal in Inca architecture, the arch in Peruvian island villages, or the Jewish ghettos of Andalucía.

Jack Stauffacher is an esteemed printer, typographer, book designer, and founder of the Greenwood Press (1936).  His work in printed books, typography, and design combines an informed reverence for the classics with an insightful appreciation of innovation. He has published the definitive collection of the seventeenth-century Dutch typeface Janson. A Fulbright Scholar for three years in Italy in the 1950s, he is also a medalist of the American Institute of Graphic Arts, and he has taught at Carnegie Institute of Technology and San Francisco Art Institute. He founded Cowell Press at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his work can be found in numerous public collections including the Department of Architecture and Design, Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco. "Jack Stauffacher describes himself as a printer. It is a somewhat deceptive term for us today. His use of the term connects him to a five-hundred year tradition of the entrepreneur-publisher-designer-typographer-printer. Like the best that made up that custom, he possesses a love of type and printing and the ability to convey meaningful words and thought."—Chuck Byrne, 1998

Foolscap Press of Santa Cruz, Caifornia, makes finely crafted and creative books of literature with unusual bindings. Lawrence Van Velzer and Peggy Gotthold started the press in 1990, after many years in the business including time at Schuberth Bookbindery, San Francisco, and Arion Press, in Berkeley, California. Gotthold studied under Jack Stauffacher at Cowell Press at the University of California, Santa Cruz, in the 1970s. Their books are collected across the United States and in England.