by Christina Butcher for OLY ARTS
Local letterpress artists and authors Chandler O’Leary and Jessica Spring have taken an active role in keeping feminism strong in their new book, Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color. O’Leary and Spring will be celebrating their book at “Pressing Matters: Lacey,” an upcoming artist talk, pop-up show and book signing at the Lacey Timberland Library.
Dead Feminists is a collection of broadsides and vignettes about 27 women who made significant contributions to the greater good of humanity. Released in October and true to the original style of Dead Feminists broadsides, the book was created using the O’Leary and Spring’s signature letterpress printing process. Each broadside uses hand-drawn lettering and illustrations by O’Leary and is printed with a hand-pulled letterpress by Spring.
“The focus of the work has been fairly consistent over the past eight years,” said Spring, “to honor the words of women and connect them with social justice issues. We’ve tried to keep a real variety of voices represented while keeping the series fresh, from Sappho’s poetic fragments to Shirley Chisholm’s call to action.”
O’Leary and Spring began collaborating on broadsides eight years ago, in response to sexist commentary on the 2008 election season. They hoped to make an active political statement through the creation and sales of their broadsides and subsequent donations to charitable organizations. True to their original intent, the authors will donate a portion of the proceeds from book sales to the Dead Feminists Fund, a nonprofit organization striving to empower women within their communities.
Permanent collections of Dead Feminist broadsides can be found at museums, libraries, and universities across the United States, including the International Printing Museum, the National Museum for Women in the Arts, Radcliffe Museum at Harvard University and the Washington State Library. “Of course it’s exciting to have our work in collections around the country,” said Spring, “and especially exhibited in Washington D.C. right now, but the beginning of the series was supported by individuals—mostly women—(who) connected with our message and wanted to support our work.”
Spring, the owner of Springtide Press, received her master’s degree in fine arts from Columbia College Chicago Center for Book & Paper. O’Leary holds a bacherlor’s degree in fine arts from the Rhode Island School of Design and has a line of prints and paper goods, Anagram Press. Both women live in Tacoma, Washington.
What: Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color
(author reading and letterpress exhibit)
When: 7-9 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15
Where: Lacey Timberland Library,
500 College St. SE, Olympia
How much: free
Learn more: 360-491-3860 | Timberland Regional Library