Convivio Bookworks

Lake Worth
United States
Just us.
Well... here's our standard bio: John Cutrone and Seth Thompson are the proprietors of Convivio Bookworks, a small letterpress and book studio in Lake Worth, Florida. They’ve been creating handmade books and broadsides together since 1995 (under the Red Wagon Press imprint back then), including books by National Public Radio humorist Bailey White and books printed in collaboration with Brother Arnold Hadd at Chosen Land, the Shaker Community at Sabbathday Lake, Maine. Since 2001, they have been driving forces at Florida Atlantic University’s Jaffe Center for Book Arts. . . with the sole regret that that work, as satisfying as it is, leaves little time for their own presswork. Patience is a good thing to cultivate. For better or for worse, this team is perhaps best known for its own stories of Lake Worth and its quirky inhabitants, sent out into the world electronically via "The Convivio Dispatch," an occasional e-newsletter from the press.
"Works on Paper" by Shin Yu Pai
"Works on Paper" by Shin Yu Pai
"Occident to Orient" by Zaid Shlah
"Occident to Orient" by Zaid Shlah
"White Insistence" by Michael Burkard
"White Insistence" by Michael Burkard
"The Room of Crosses." Folktale collected and retold by John Cutrone.
"The Room of Crosses." Folktale collected and retold by John Cutrone.
Interview with John from Convivio Bookworks
When did you start letterpress printing?: 
1994, but I used to set the type and print personalized Christmas cards for folks at my family's card shop when I was a boy. My first time at the Vandercook, in fact, I wondered how the type was heated. Seth Thompson, my partner, began in '95 when we met.
What do you like best about letterpress printing?: 
It's such an amazing process, watching things appear on paper, mirror images of what is in the bed of the press. Very tactile, the paper, the ink, the mechanics of the press. Plus, rubber based ink smells great.
What inspires you?: 
Inspiration comes from unlikely sources sometimes, and what inspires us most is the unexpected: that magic that comes when you least expect it. The alchemy of the everyday.
Which press(es), ink & paper do you usually use?: 
We have a Vandercook 4 that is our go-to press, but there's also a Golding Pearl in the shop. In our work at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, we are mostly printing on the Vandercook 4 again, but we also have access to a kick-ass Wesel Iron Handpress from the 1890s.
How would you describe your artwork?: 
Simple and clean, hopefully. Balanced. Not dark.
What kind of products do you create?: 
Mostly limited edition books and broadsides, though we have plenty of other things in mind for the future.
Do you offer custom work?: 
Where can we buy your products?: 
At our website and in person at our occasional Open Studio Days... sometimes at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts, too.
Do you offer workshops? If yes, what kind of?: 
We teach at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. Some letterpress workshops and workshops in artists' books, and one really popular workshop called Natural Dyes for Book Arts Applications. The most popular, though, is an introductory JCBA immersion called Book Arts 101, which is taught numerous times each year, always with a theme appropriate to the season.
Is there anything you wished you had known as a beginner?: 
Things, it seems, have happened just as they were supposed to. Sometimes I think I missed something in never having taken a graphic design class... but honestly, I think we've done okay designing from the gut.
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