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31 March 2017

The creative “off” season comes to a close with many updates. It has been a wonderfully productive winter.

The letterpress shop is up and running again after 12 years of storage, as evidenced by the Declaration of Orientation.

The Typesetting on a Winter’s Afternoon book project, inspired by a letter from Raymond “Stan” Nelson in 1998, is underway.

The spawn of the THAWT project, The Afterthawts, is finally completed.

A new series of collaborative collage book projects (Cocobopros) is in progress, with one of them printed, bound, and available for purchase.

Pages for older titles—Native Son at Home, Alchemy, and Becoming Flight—have been added to this site and are also now available for purchase exclusively through Viroqua Creative.

And, last but not least, the incredible Xqun Dolqr Bqkmork is now a part of the world and can be yours for $1!

With that, I will step out of the Der Klubhaus and the thrill of creativity, and step back into the lettering van, ready for another season in the cemeteries.

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 29 March 2017
Plenty to report, but most importantly, this:



The Declaration of Orientation

Tactile Impression Edition
On 10 February 2017, two versions of the Declaration of Orientation were printed to announce the relocation and revival of The Heavy Duty Press’s letterpress shop in Liberty, Wisconsin. The print shown above is from a limited edition of 40, with tactile impression on 300 gsm Hahnemuhle Copperplate 100% alpha cellulose acid free paper. Copies from this edition were mailed to a personal list of special collections librarians. 5 copies remain for sale.

6″ x 16″; the type is hand set in Century Expanded, with a header in Bank Script.
$80

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11 February 2017

Last night, under the Full Snow Moon, the Heavy Duty Declaration of Orientation became the first official editioned print from the confines of Der Klubhaus at Holy Hollow. The Declaration was hand set in Morris Benton’s Century Expanded (1900, American Type Founders, Co.), with title in Bank Script by James West (1895, BB&S Letter Foundry).

 

This document announces the rejoining of The Heavy Duty Press with its letterpress roots, outlines the intentions of the Press, and invites folks just like you to sign up to become Friends of the Heavy Duty Press. Send your name and address if you would like to receive a copy of the Declaration of Orientation. There are 40 copies on Arches Cover (heavy impression), and 26 copies on Classic Crest Text (kissed), both signed and numbered.

 

Oh, and uhh…so much for the how good it feels to be away from the computer and resisting the temptation to keep an online journal…I decided to engage with social media again, and chose Tumblr as the platform. 2017 will be a test run to see how it feels and what there is to gain from keeping an online blog. Here’s where it is.

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typesetting-on-a-winter-afternoon

11 January 2017

Enjoying typesetting R. Stanley Nelson’s Typesetting on a Winter’s Afternoon immensely. This new project, which has been idle in the mind since receiving the manuscript with a letter from Mr. Nelson in 1997, is resurrecting the letterpress shop.

Thoughts of keeping an online journal about the production of Typesetting on a Winter’s Afternoon have crossed the noodle, but then again, no. It feels too good to be away from the computer and the internet as much as possible. I highly recommend it.

But thank you for checking in.

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16-lunar-tuner

2 December 2016

Lunar Tuners for 2017 are now available via the Viroqua Creative Workshop online store. This is NOT a letterpress print, but something I designed in 2011 for 2012, as part of the Underneath the Driftless Moon full moon calendar. I have 100 of these printed every year.

I added a few letterpress broadsides to this site, which are also available at viroquacreative.com.

Order by December 15 for shipment by December 25.

I’m excited to start working on a couple new books next week…Typesetting on a Winter’s Afternoon, by Stan Nelson, and another yet to be titled. The time has finally come.

Love, give, give love. Peace.

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book-bleached-cover

28 July 2016

The ebook (pdf) edition of B(l)eached is now available.

Summer is busy with so many things. It’s getting to where I’m really starting to hate the word busy. And I don’t hate much. In fact, I hate hating things. And I really don’t mind the business. It’s been a very good summer so far.

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16-0217 winter-afternoon

28 April 2016

Thaw(ing) is now available as an ebook at the new viroquacreative.com online store. A limited edition print version has been printed, but binding is on the back burner while the cemetery business becomes top priority through May. Although, it is rainy today, and the weekend is free, and that might allow for time for binding and progress toward publication. I’m sure you’re on the edge of your seat.

Meanwhile, I have received an email from Bill Phillips confirming that he is indeed still on board with writing for the third book in the 4-part Thawt series, Autumn Hymn(al). That’s good news. Bleach(ed) (written by Brandon S. Graham, Good for Nothing) is in the can (number 2 in the sequence), so that’s ready for timely publication this summer, late June. Haven’t been in touch with Eric Schwabenlender in more than a year about writing for the Ice Angel (#4). But it’ll work out, and that will put the digital book design era to bed for a little while because…

The press is ready for work at the new location in Liberty, Wisconsin, and a re-imagined reprint of Raymond Stanley Nelson, Jr.‘s Typesetting on a Winter’s Afternoon essay is on deck for, appropriately, this coming winter. The essay was sent to me in a letter from Mr. Nelson in 1998, and packed away with the press in 2004 for the move across Wisconsin to the driftless region. I am honored and excited to have the opportunity to embody Stan’s writing, first published in Parenthesis No. 3, May 1999.

Winding Roads Art Tour, May 21-22
To christen the new shop,it feels pretty great to have the privilege of sharing the map with 31 other fine artists in the Viroqua area this spring for the Winding Roads Art Tour. Honestly, it makes me wonder, like David Byrne, “How did I get here?” And the days go by, and I’m looking forward to meeting new and old friends in Liberty on May 21 and 22, where you can stand around and talk while I demonstrate, or pick up a couple ticks on a walk through the woods on my newly groomed trails. Just kidding! Tuck your pants into your socks and everything will be okay! I’ll have some beer, wine, and soft drinks in a cooler, but please feel free and welcome to BYOwhatever. See you then!

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Thaw(ing) by Mister Koppa & Friends title page

17 March 2016

Thaw(ing) publication date set for 21 March 2016.

“Art is the answer.” bumper stickers now available.

2016 Lunar Tuners now available online at the new viroquacreative.com online store.

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16-0217 it is alive

11 February 2016

Working in the shop as often as possible this winter. Once on 28 January to dust it off and get things in place, so I can start setting type for a new book project, featuring an essay by Stan Nelson about typesetting on a winter afternoon, and another time today, which included snowblowing a parking spot for the van, and setting the type to document the experience. Wondering if the two are related, knowing they are, and remembering the story of the tortoise and the hare.

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inner-mongolia

3 January 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR!

I am optimistic about what lies ahead. I generally make a conscious effort to choose optimism, and the new Star Wars movie put wind in my sails. It feels good to have that message in our mainstream pop culture.

I believe the light rules the human spirit—that in the face of darkness we rise and shine with the sun. The people we admire—and those on the cutting edge of human evolution—make mistakes, and we follow in their footsteps, until they learn from their mistakes, and we, in turn, learn from their learning. It is a long and slow process, demanding the patience of a saint.

Today I read an article about the mess we are making as a result of our addiction to upgrading our personal electronic media devices. Mobilizing all the irony in the world, I hope you will also read it and share it in your Facebook and Twitter feeds, thereby using the very devices that are causing the problem to inform each other about what we’re doing to the beautiful, green, life giving mother we share and love.

“After seeing the impact of rare earth mining myself, it’s impossible to view the gadgets I use everyday in the same way. As I watched Apple announce their smart watch recently, a thought crossed my mind: once we made watches with minerals mined from the Earth and treated them like precious heirlooms; now we use even rarer minerals and we’ll want to update them yearly. Technology companies continually urge us to upgrade; to buy the newest tablet or phone. But I cannot forget that it all begins in a place like Bautou, and a terrible toxic lake that stretches to the horizon.”

Read more.

May the Force be with you.

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book-slowbook-detail

25 December 2015

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

BID NOW on Ebay for copy number 6 (of 21) of Slowbook! Only 2 copies remain available for sale. Don’t miss this opportunity to get (or give!) this exciting (or is it merely interesting…or challenging…or warming?) testament to slow social media in action. Auction ends New Year’s Eve.

Read more about the Slowbook project
and download a FREE pdf.

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15 December 2015

It is finished. Yesterday, fourteen copies of Slowbook were shipped out of the post office here in Viroqua, Wisconsin, to destinations including South Dakota, France, and all the way down under in Christchurch, New Zealand.

Just a few weeks over three years ago, I put out a call via Facebook for “at least 10 status updates” by U.S. post, and, if I received them by the end of 2013, promised to make them into a book. Ultimately, fourteen otherwise unrelated people contributed otherwise unrelated material, to make for one unified Slowbook, and that super slow social media project is finally all wrapped up.

Read more.

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Slowbook near completion

29 November 2015

Slowbook continues to live up to its name, as I am now patiently cutting apart all the printed content, with the next step pasting it all into the books received about a month ago. I was hoping to have it done by last Friday, but have learned to accept the schedule of the Higher Power. I’m happy to be able to make it this week’s top priority, and the very slow process of putting it all together is allowing a looooooooo-oooooong time to reflect on every aspect of every bit of content I received. It’s a much different thing than scanning my old Facebook feed, that’s for certain.

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8 October 2015

SLOWBOOK UPDATE As most of the people on Earth don’t know, Slowbook is a project I started almost three years ago when I deactivated my Facebook account (the first time. I reactivated six months later, but again deactivated this past May, and this time for good.) Over the course of the project’s evolution I came to know Irene Lazzarin, an Italian book maker, who agreed to manufacture the blank books for me to assemble 19 copies of Slowbook, scrapbook-style. Here’s the message I received from Irene this morning:


Hi Mike!

This morning I finally sent your books!!!

They will arrive on Monday, morning or afternoon. This evening when I return to my home I send you also the traking code of UPS (the shipping company that I used) and the receipt of the shipping costs…now i’m in the office and I can’t do that.

Have a nice day! I’ll write you this evening, ciao!

Irene


This is very good news for some people. It puts me right on track to complete the project by Black Friday 2015, three years to the date after the project’s inception.

I will attempt to ship all 11 contributors to Slowbook a copy of the book as promised. (However, of those 11, I have received confirmation that only 6 remain at the same address.) 3 of the 19 copies are reserved for standing order subscribers. This means there are a maximum of 5 copies of Slowbook available for sale at $125. Read more here and/or reserve yourself a copy by contacting me directly. Thank you.

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kolaj12-cover

10 May 2015

Honored to have Monster Trust reviewed in the current issue of Kolaj Magazine. Also honored to learn that copies of Thawt have been purchased by the UCLA Art Library and the Otis College of Art & Design, thanks to Vicky and Bill Stewart of Vamp & Tramp Booksellers.

Was attempting to get Thaw(ing) published this April, but work got in the way. Last night, after reformatting the book to fit a smaller, apx 4 x 5.5″ page size, decided it just doesn’t feel right to publish a book about thawing in May. With a summer companion ready for print, contributions trickling in for a winter companion, and ideas in mind for a fourth autumnal companion to complete a seasonal set, it has been decided to postpone the whole thing one year so the entire series can be published quarterly throughout 2016. Meanwhile, Irene is over there in Italy manufacturing 19 books for pasting in the content of Slowbook, and that three-year-old project is now top priority for Black Friday publication (or so we hope).

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book-monstertrust

20 February 2015

Another new title published today! Monster Trust is a little book of big content, featuring eighteen collage collaborations between Mister Koppa, Zach Collins, and eight additional artists around the United States and up into Canada! Fun stuff.

Coincidentally, today also marks the second anniversary of the inception of another collaborative book, Thawt, published last year in April. Meanwhile, the Slowbook project sits waiting patiently for its turn. Time flies like the wind.

Fruit flies like the banana.

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9 February 2015

New title published today: Organizing a Mess, a magazine format book of recent collages by Mister Koppa. Pre-publication price is only $25 through March 5, 2015.

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20 December 2014

So much for wanting to have the Slowbook done by Black Friday. In late October, the local chamber here in Viroqua< announced an opportunity to open "pop-up stores" in empty retail spaces on Main Street. Without much planning, I joined forces with another local artist (and farmer), photographer Tim Wirtz, and with the help of Eddy Nix and Shawn Neary at Driftless Books & Music, we opened the new Driftless Trader on November 7.

But…if you’re one of those people who always wanted to buy a copy of Thawt but couldn’t imagine dropping the $250 to have it, they are on sale at the Driftless Trader now for just $50 until Christmas. Happy holidays, all you people of good will, and peace be with you.

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22 October 2014

Finished editing scans for Slowbook. All postcards for B(l)eached, another collaborative book with the same contributors to Thawt, inspired by and initiated on the family vacation to North Carolina’s Outer Banks this past summer, have arrived in the mailbox. Brandon Graham (Good for Nothing) has furnished text for the book and it’s another that I cannot wait to see become a reality. B(l)eached will be published as an ebook and a limited edition casebound book sometime in the first quarter of 2015.

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What does it mean?

24 August 2014

Just committed myself to another new project. For many, many years, I have thought about publishing my own collage work in book form. They are most often developed as a unified series, and over the course of their creation, they reveal and tell a story. This time, on a cloudy Sunday morning in late August, all that cosmic energy came to a head. I’m doing it.

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18 August 2014

I have initiated a new project that will remain top secret for the time being. Also recently caught up with correspondence (in the middle of the busy cemetery lettering season) enough to pen a letter to Italy regarding the Slowbook project, which is moving very slowly. Looking forward to winter.

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8 April 2014

In addition to the presentation about Thawt at the Viroqua McIntosh Memorial Library on Monday, 14 April, I’ll be talking about the book on radio from 9-10 a.m. CST on WDRT Viroqua, Thursday, 10 April.

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4 April 2014

I will be giving a presentation about Thawt with a slide show and discussion regarding the creative process behind the project, and the book form as a medium for artists, on Monday, 14 April, at 6:30 p.m. at the Viroqua McIntosh Memorial Library. Copies of the book will be available for purchase, with 33% of sales benefitting the fund for the construction of the new Viroqua McIntosh Memorial Library. Please join us if you can!

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18 March 2014

BREAKING NEWS 40 copies of Thawt arrived at the back door yesterday and they look great. Thumbs up for the production team at Bookmobile. 26 copies are spoken for, leaving 14 for sale. Two days left to reserve your copy at a 33% discount!

Read more about this project.

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12 March 2014

Sadly, The Hartman Creek Odyssey has been put on indefinite hold due to the inability to obtain permission from Dr. Seuss Enterprises for the use of original Dr. Seuss characters in the collage illustrations. An attempt was made to replace the original drawings with drawings of the same characters by my daughters, but again Dr. Seuss Enterprises said the project would still be infringing on copyrighted material. So…until there is a solution and a good reason to move ahead with this project, we can only wait and see what happens.

Slowbook (March 2014) is also evolving slowly (imagine that). All submissions sent as desktop-printed Word documents have been transcribed by hand. Next step is to scan those hand-lettered submissions into the computer, along with all other hand-written or hand-drawn or collaged submissions, and then arrange/compose the contents.