Sarah Bryant creates her work under Big Jump Press, which she started in 2005 while she was an MFA student at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. She produces letterpress printed artist’s books, prints, broadsides, and hand-bound books. She incorporates analytical imagery, reference material, and innovative binding structures into her creations. Her work is in numerous collections, including The Haughton Library at Harvard University, The Yale Arts Library, and our very own Special Collections at The University of Tulsa. She has spent time teaching at the Book Arts Center at Wells College and throughout the United Kingdom. She currently resides in Tuscaloosa where she’s an instructor and studio manager for the University of Alabama MFA in the Book Arts Program.
Her book, Cutaway contains simple definitions that are both visual and written of varying objects, such as influenza, the tide, and an egg. The book displays the imagery as layered cross-sections printed on translucent material, mylar. There are removable cards that slide out from behind the translucent print that brings it to life with the use of color. The definition of the objects has been printed below the images using letterpress and polymer plates. The entirety of the book is in a deep turquoise slipcase. Bryant created 45 editions of this particular book, and Special Collections holds the 38th edition.
Bryant uses a flatbed cylinder proofing press to create a majority of the images in her books. On her blog, she posted an explanation of the letterpress progress. She starts by discussing the four main components of a flatbed cylinder (letter)press: “(1) The feedboard, where you get your paper ready to feed it into the press, (2) the bed, where your type, linoleum cut, printing plate or other inked surface lies waiting, (3) the rollers, which distribute the ink evenly and put in on your type/lino cut/ plate, and (4) the cylinder, which generally turns with a crank, rolls over the type/lino cut/plate, and presses your paper against the inked surface.” She continues in the blog post explaining each step in the process with images and textual support. Her blog post shows the time and effort it takes to create a printed artist book.
If you’d like to see Cutaway by Sarah Bryant in person you can always visit us in Special Collections, located on the 5th floor of McFarlin Library, Monday through Friday, 8:00 am until 4:30 pm. If you’re a fan of artists books or want to learn more about them, our current exhibit, Artist’s Books: Challenging Norms & Forms showcases 24 unique artist’s books from our collection. The exhibition runs until March 22, 2019.