In Reinbeck, Iowa, there are 6 stone composing tables for free pickup during the month of April 2015 only. I am speaking for one, just not sure which one. They range in size from 3×4 to 4×7, I think. Have not actually measured. One is marble. One has Hamilton drawer pulls (forgot to take picture) One has galley racks. It is a former newspaper office, of course. They are completely clearing out by the end of the month. If you are interested let me know ASAP.

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Honored to be part of the Itinerant Printer’s 2015 tour of letterpress print shops!

Exciting News!

I am thrilled to announce that Caveworks Press is going to be on the itinerary for a tour of letterpress print shops all over the US and venturing into Canada. Chris Fritton, tramp printer, will be in the Midwest in the fall. I have some neat plans that I will be doing my best to put into place. In the meantime, this funding campaign only has 31 hours left, please consider donating and being part of a huge mail art project, because the “perks” of the campaign are totally part of the whole idea! Click on the link below to find out more and donate. You may get postcards or original letterpress prints or other goodies, depending what you choose. You may even get a print from my studio! I signed up for the “mystery print.” Update: The project has been fully funded!


Stop motion fun- the making of quilt block prints

Last summer, I made a few prints based on quilt block patterns. I was inspired by my grandmother Earline’s beautiful quilts that she graced me with.

This video shows a stop motion progress of the one of the prints. I first put down color, often more than one, then worked on setting up metal ornaments as part of the design. It became a little complicated.

These prints are available on Etsy:

Click the link below for the video.

Making of Meadow Star print

Reel of Life print, Caveworks Press

Meadow Star print, Caveworks Press

Pinwheel print, Caveworks Press

A visit from poet Aaron McNally










After Aaron’s piece on his trip to Caveworks Press for a day of letterpress printing was published on the North American Review’s blog, (which was a total surprise to me) I thought I would share some pictures from the day here.

Here is the lovely, insightful, and introspective essay:

Some background: Caveworks Press published Out of the Blue by Aaron McNally in 2007. Though officially, we had a book launch in Winter 2008 at Bought Again Books in Cedar Falls. Click here for more info on this book.


The spiderwebs image is a glue collograph plate fixed to a multi-purpose type-high plate.

While I finished printing the silver background in this tiny edition of bookmarks, Aaron was writing a revision to the text.

Aaron setting type using my small amount of Engravers Old English, a blackletter style.

Setting up the text and copper cut in the Vandercook press after the background image has been printed.

The "type matter" locked up in the bed of the press using "furniture."

The final design: bookmarks for Halloween


The end of one project and the beginning of another

New Project

In Progress

Sometimes the best intentions fail. The book project Manifestation Wolverine with Ray Young Bear was canceled. Perhaps it was just not meant to be. I have been thinking for a while on how to send some good news out, and I finally have it in some concrete form. The Iowa Arts Council has generously allowed me to use materials intended for the project in a new work!

I would like to announce something completely different is in progress: a short piece called The Shadow Affair. Whether you call it flash fiction or a prose poem, its length, 16 pages, and the fact that it is written and illustrated by myself means I’m going to call it an artist’s book.

The story centers on a woman awake at night. We enter her world as she moves through the house. Poetic language, visual imagery, suspense and a surprise ending contribute to a rich reading experience, with just the right touches of visual complements in the illustrations.
The edition of 100 be a completely letterpress work with hand-set type, wood engravings and collographs.


Now faint moonlight mingled in the room, shed silver plucked notes that tentatively touched the hems of her robe. She turned her face to the wall and found the source of the baroquely swelling music. The streetlight threw a lighted square of cast lace from the curtains in which her shadow fit perfectly, like a portrait in a picture frame. It looked back at her darkly, quite still. The way it both absorbed and floated over the texture of the plaster wall was unnerving. She could not be sure it was real, yet it stood, head cocked, with a cool authority. The shadow shifted impatiently and flung off the light robe with a gypsy’s silken flourish and stretched luxuriously, swimming through the frame of lace.

My experiment for the cover, using lace to make a collagraph print.Lace Cover

Pre-orders are now open! Go here for more information and to order.

Throwaway travels to The Politics of _______________ August 29-September 22

the-politics-of_____ show

The Politics of _______________ August 29-September 22 and staff with Founder and Curator Melanie Mowinski on the right.



If you look closely, you can see my artist’s book, Throwaway resting right under the show title on the wall. Never did I dream this book would travel so much. I am supremely grateful to be included in this first artist-call exhibition at

letterPRESS as a Public Art Project in North Adams, Massachusetts. This looks like such a cool place. The Vandercook press is right in the Gallery space, which makes it easy to add demonstrations to the opening. In fact, let me pull a photo of the staff doing just that on opening night of The Politics of _______________ .

The Politics of _______________ August 29-September 22

I believe the surprise is related to how this is an automatic Vandercook. The carriage has left the feed board quite suddenly! photo by Michaela Jebb.

They are printing keepsake exhibition announcements. I really like this type of gallery/classroom space, I wonder if there might be need for this idea in my own area. Hmmmm……

Throwaway at Artists’ Book Cornucopia IV

My recent artist’s book, Throwaway, was selected for Artists’ Book Cornucopia IV, an annual exhibition at the Abecedarian Gallery in Denver, CO. I was beyond thrilled, as this was my first artist’s books only show. I did not get to go to Denver, but gallery owner Alicia Bailey does a wonderful job creating a show catalogue, so there is still plenty to see.

I asked a friend who lives there to pop in for me and snap a few pictures, which Alicia graciously allowed.

Throwaway by Julie Russell-Steuart

Race my way: Racing T-Shirt Designs

T-shirt-front-Hilmer Julie Russell-Steuart

The front design by Julie Russell-Steuart

I was recently compensated to do a trial t-shirt design for the racing field (track?) and this is what I came up with. Traced a photo of the car in Illustrator to make the body panels first. The company provided the files for the sponsors and car graphics, and I put them on the body of the car, stretching and distorting for perspective. Used a source photo for tires, converting to fewer colors and making a vector. Another source photo for the helmet, tracing the shape and using the gradient mesh wrap in Illustrator. Then a lot of messing around with fonts and making pattern brushes ensued. Also, I love working with mud splatters. It’s almost as much fun as playing in the mud itself.

T-shirt-back-Hilmer Julie Russell-Steuart

The back design by Julie Russell-Steuart

Caveworks Press featured in the North American Review: “NAR Staffers Out in the World”


the North American Review features Caveworks Press

The article as it appears in the Summer 2012 issue in
the North American Review

Back when I was attending a poetry class at the University of  Northern Iowa

—amid the concentration and depth of a single class that fit with my work schedule, amid the mornings spent, bent to my drawing table, crafting language, I became a reader at the North American Review. It was an experience that I will never forget. We readers lounged in the office absorbing earnest poetry submissions, noting our reactions, inner ears attuned to rhythms in word patterns, sound sense, the overall “Mono no aware”, a Japanese term that refers to the essential meaning of an artwork, beyond the superficial, housed in the moment of discovery. I was looking for such moments in the poetry I was reading.

At poetry review meetings, armed with our copies of poems that had been culled from submissions, a stack at least an inch thick, we discussed which poems we liked and why. We got to know each other’s likes and dislikes. I became an unsung champion for poets who had written a poem I thought was outstanding and should be published. I am proud to say, because of me, that poem was published, though the poet will never know what I had done. My duty was to support excellence.

Now as a publisher of small press poetry titles, the same fire burns. It is my pleasure to get to know the poets I work with, to support them more fully by designing books myself, printing them, arranging readings, and being so closely involved.

I am working on another poet’s book plan presently, and I hope to be posting some details in the near future, as well as a Kickstarter campaign.

THROWAWAY, a new artist’s book completed

Throwaway, an artist's book by Julie Russell-Steuart

January 2013

I’m pleased to announce the completion the first in an edition of 20 for the current BookArtObject Edition #4, one of one hundred titles taken from an artist’s book by Sarah Bodman. Below is the colophon for Throwaway:


 BookArtObject Edition Four, Group Five,

Title #99 of 100 taken from An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen (2010), by permission of the author, Sarah Bodman.

Throwaway (2013) by Julie Russell-Steuart explores ways in which our culture/economy tosses aside things.
With permission from, two people’s stories have been adapted poetically.  “Throwaway” materials like cereal boxes and string were used to make pressure prints on hand-painted DuPont Tyvek, a spun polyester material that is 100% recyclable and safe for landfills. The format is an accordion style booklet that opens up on the other side to a map style folding.The text is letterpress printed with hand-set types in English Caslon Oldstyle 37, Century Bold, Della Robbia, and Style Script. The box enclosure was constructed with the design and engineering skills of David Steuart, and is made from boards covered in hand-painted Tyvek.