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St. Louis Mercantile Library Celebrates The Paper Arts, From Printing To Painting

Firecracker Press

This weekend the St. Louis Mercantile Library at the University of Missouri-St. Louis is hosting its 8th Annual Fine Print, Rare Book & Paper Arts Fair. Vendors and dealers will be set up in the J.C. Penney Building Saturday May 3 and Sunday, May 4, with a benefit preview this evening.

The fair is “rather unique in its combination of materials,” said St. Louis Mercantile Library curator Julie Dunn-Morton. “Anything related to paper is very welcome here … rare books, historical ephemera, contemporary and historical prints, practicing artists, dealers dealing with historical artists. It’s just a wonderful variety all in one location.”  

Two of the 28 dealers participating in the fair joined Dunn-Morton and Cityscape host Steve Potter in discussing the fair: Eric Woods, founder and owner of St. Louis-based Firecracker Press, and Susan Teller, owner of the Susan Teller Gallery in New York City.

“We’re a letterpress print shop. And we make posters, books, business cards, stationary, all kinds of things,” said Woods. “We use contemporary design esthetics and thinking to develop new products using old techniques.”

Credit Firecracker Press
A poster printing at Firecracker Press in St. Louis.

Firecracker Press has two locations in St. Louis, one on Cherokee Street and another in Old North.

The Susan Teller Gallery in the New York City SoHo neighborhood contains paintings and prints by American artists of the 30s, 40s and 50s. According to Teller, the gallery is able to find work from that period because the Depression created a dearth of art buyers.

“With the advent of the (stock market) crash, whether you were a working class artist or a middle class artist, work stayed in the studio,” said Teller.

Related Event

Fine Print, Rare Book and Paper Arts Festival
May 2-4, 2014
Various Times
J.C. Penney Building|Conference Center on UMSL’s North Campus

Cityscape is produced by Mary Edwards and Alex Heuer, hosted bySteve Potter and funded in part by the the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis, the Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council, a state agency.