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(Mary Ann Sampson)

Collaboration bookworks
Letterpress poetry collaborations
Broadsides by Mary Ann Sampson


Collaboration bookworks with other artists and printers

By Mary Ann Sampson; Paul Moxon; Steve Miller; Nannette Bolick Tuscaloosa, Alabama: University of Alabama, 2000. Edition of 62.

4 x 4" closed; 16 x 16" open. Fold book in snake format.
Processes:Sandragraph, digital type from photopolymer printing plates, and scratch negatives. Laid in letterfold four-flap case with paper slip and slot closure. Signed by the artists.

At the time of this book's creation and publication, three of the
participants - Sampson, Moxon, and Bolick - were students in the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama. Miller was in charge of the program and teaching letterpress. The group project was decided upon with Miller and Bolick printing on one side then Moxon and Sampson printing on the other.

Mary Ann Sampson, 2004 graduate, founded the OEOCO PRESS (One-Eye Opera Company), whose mission is to make limited edition, letterpress books, bookbinding and unique books.

Paul Moxon, 2002 graduate, is a studio letterpress printer. He publishes
limited edition books and broadsides under the imprint Fameorshame Press. He is author of Vandercook Presses: Maintenance, History and Resources and editor of the American Printing History Association Newsletter.

Nannette Bolick is a graphic design artist from Charlotte, North Carolina. She received her undergraduate degree from UNC Charlotte.

Steve Miller came to The University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa in 1988. He teaches letterpress printing, hand papermaking, and coordinates the MFA in the Book Arts Program. Although his primary focus at the University is in the teaching of traditional bookmaking, he is also the proprietor of Red Hydra Press and collaborates on various limited edition publishing projects with authors and artists. He also founded Red Ozier Press in 1976 - a fine press devoted to publishing literary first editions in handmade limited editions.



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Macaroni and Cheese
By Mary Ann Sampson; Terrence A. Taylor
[Dolomite, Alabama: Duende Press, 1989]. Edition of 20.

5.25 x 3.25" closed; 12 x 20" open. Fold book in snake format. Linocuts. Bound into gray paper covered boards. Signed by Sampson and Taylor.

A collaboration between Alabama artists Mary Ann Sampson and Terrence Taylor, each printing one side of the folded sheet .

Mary Ann Sampson: "The cover paper is from some wrapping paper used in packaging some 50 year old Arches paper that Terry Found in Venezuela. The grain direction is difficult to determine. ... On my side of the pages ... lots of red, yellow and orange ink ... just like melted cheese and paprika."

Taylor's image, a three-color reduction linoleum block print, is "Rommel
Drives on Deep into Egypt
" based on Richard Brautigan's book of poetry of the same name.


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Sampson received her Master in Books Arts from the University of Alabama through the MFA program in Book Arts. She studied letterpress printing and began to publish traditional codex books with her artwork.

Betray the Invisible
By Jeff Weddle
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO Press, 2010. Edition of 40.

6.25 x 8.25"; 42 pages. Text handset in Cochin and Bembo metal type. Printed on a Vandercook SP 20 press. Text paper: 30 copies printed on Somerset Book Paper; 10 copies on Mohawk Superfine. Artwork handcolored using Prisma pencils. Exposed Japanese stab binding. Bound in paper over boards and black cloth. Signed by the poet.

Poetry by Jeff Weddle is accompanied by drawings of artist and printer Mary Ann Sampson. The design, artwork, bindings, and printing were done by Sampson.

About the Author: "Jeff Weddle writes short stories, scholarly works, and poetry. His book, Bohemian New Orleans: The Story of the Outsider and Lou john Press won the Eudora Welty Prize for interpretive scholarship in the humanities.

"His creative writings have seen publication in anthologies, chapbooks, and journals. "Freud Visits the Tropics" and "It Will Be Later Still" first appeared in the Chiron Review. "In Faulkner's Woods" and "That First Affair" debuted in The Journal of Kentucky Studies.

I want poems hard as coal
not diamond hard but coal hard ...
[from "explication"]




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Faulkner Suite
By Sue Brannan Walker
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO Press, 2008. Edition of 50.

1.25 x 4.6"; 44 pages. Letterpress printed on a Vandercook SP 20 Press. Handset in Cochin and Bembo metal type. Printed on mould-made cotton Somerset Book Paper from the St. Cuthberts Mill in England. Hand-colored pen and ink drawings reproduced onto magnesium plates. Paste-paper covered boards (so that each cover is unique) with stab binding. Design, artwork, bindings, and printing by Mary Ann Sampson.

Seventeen poems reflecting and building on the legacy of William Faulkner by Sue Brannan Walker, Stokes Distinguished Professor of Creative 'Writing and Director of the Stokes Center for Creative Writing at the University of South Alabama and the current [2009] Alabama poet laureate. With a foreword by Don H. Doyle, Professor of History at the University of South Carolina.

Don H. Doyle, foreword: "Faulkner began his writing career, without great success, as a poet. He once described himself as a failed poet' and said that, like most writers, he resorted to short stories because he couldn't do poetry. and ultimately to novels because they were still less demanding. One of the things Sue Walker has done here is to recover the poetry of Faulkner, and maybe even redeem his failed career as a poet. The phrases and images in these poems continually reference and frequently outright borrow from Faulkner, always with fresh context and novel insight. The poems extract, as only poetry can do, something essential about Faulkner, The South, and the undying past."



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Then from All the Stones
By Dorothy Field
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO, 2003. Edition of 50.

5 x 9.75" 62 pages including fly leaf. Handset in Bembo type. Printed on Mohawk Superfine paper. Plates for the illustrations made from gauze, landscape cloth, materials fo

Then from All the Stones is a collaboration between poet Dorothy Field and artist/bookmaker Mary Ann Sampson. The book was produced as part of the requirement toward Sampson's Master of Fine Arts Degree in the Book Arts at the University of Alabama.


       When you walk across the fields with your mind pure and holy
       then from all the stones,
       and all growing things,
       and all animals,
       the sparks of their soul come out and cling to you,
       and then they are purified and become a holy fire in you.
                                                                              ~Hasidic saying

Dorothy Field is writer and visual artist who lives on her farm in Cobble Hill, British Columbia. Eight of the thirty-three poems had been previously published in Canadian literary journals (citations appear in the closing comments).



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Mary Ann Sampson Out of Print Titles:

Beware of Rising Waters
By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO, [c2005]. One-of-a-Kind.

6 x 6"; 12 pages. Collage elements. Line drawings in black and red inks.
Color pencils. Bound in painted boards with black cloth spine.

Much of Sampson's work reflects her life in rural Alabama. Her studio is in the small town of Ragland, northeast of Birmingham, and her home is not far from the nearby Coosa River. Several of her unique pieces deal with living by the water's edge, where rising waters are not just song lyrics.

This book combines Sampson's simple drawings with her quirky vision to suggest an ever-shifting environment.

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Do the Dog
By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO, 1991. One-of-a-kind.

9.5 x 1.5"; 32 pages. Palm book structure with string binding. Drawings with a Pelikan Pen and India ink plus stampings with Carter's ink onto Arches Cover. Laid in found wooden single-cigar box with metal clasp closure.

Dogs and words frolic across the pages. Based on memories of dancing the night away doing the dog.

"When I was young I did a dance called The Dog. Don't remember the words but my body never forgot the dance…."



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By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO (The One-Eye Opera Co.), 1989. One-of-a-Kind.

6 x 6.25"; 4 pages. Accordion structure. Linocuts. Prisma pencils. Painted black boards.

Mary Ann Sampson: "I was doing a lot of fish image experimentation in the late '80's. The fish are linocuts that I cut out after printing them. The lettering was done from children's alphabet blocks that were printed and cut out and then pasted. Back ground of swimming fish are drawn with Prisma pencils."


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Heart Song
By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO, 1994. One-of-a-kind.

5 x 5"; 32 pages. Double-sided accordion. Mixed media with full page hand-drawn color illustration throughout. Housed in blue cloth covered slipcase with push-on lid. Top paper covered with same illustrations as pages. Signed by artist.

One of Sampson's earlier works with her whimsical drawings and characters.

Obviously small hearts are scattered through out the pages; but, along with this are a few subtle references to being environmentally conscious.


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Howl at the Moon, Shoot Out the Lights
By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: One-Eye Opera Co., 1997. One-of-a-kind.

11 x 14.5"; 20 pages. Pen and ink; colored pencils; small collage pieces; pinholes. Title page with cut out paper title tipped on. Original artwork by Mary Ann Sampson. Bound in handpainted and collaged black boards, black cloth spine with silver pen star-like accents.

Sampson began using music themes early in her art career. When she decided to choose a press name she wanted it to reflect her interest in music, especially in the operatic form. Hence the press became OEOCO (One-Eye Opera Co.).

This piece reflects that merging of her traditional art – drawing, color sense, composition, quirky slant on life – with the book form. There are two double-page spreads packed with Sampson's whimsical characters in full voice howling at the moon.



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By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO (The One-Eye Opera Co.), 1995. One-of-a-Kind.

3.25 x 8.25"; 16 pages. Accordion fold. Color pencil drawings. Bound in paper over boards.

Prior to her graduation from the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama in 2004 Sampson's concentration in book arts was with handmade unique pieces in the book form. This book enfolds her vision of landscape – not a particular site, it seems – into an accordion.

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The Pink Riviera
By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO, 1996-1997. One-of-a-Kind.

Assemblage (16 x 15 x 4.5"): one book (3 x 4"; 36 pages); two layers of cratered Styrofoam (packing material?) mounted on 16 x 15" cardboard base; 14 wood-and-foil umbrellas with purple canopies (4" long, the sort that come with sugary drinks). Book: pen and ink, colored pencils, painted and textured boards, sewn binding, signed by the artist.

Prior to her graduation from the Book Arts Program at the University of Alabama in 2004 Sampson's work often consisted of unique handmade pieces that included books or referenced the book form. This assemblage presents a day at the beach for some of her zany characters, including chicken-feeted, feathered friends that might be found near her Ragland, Alabama, base.

This is a readymade plus.

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A Primer for Oriental Thought
By Mary Ann Sampson

Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO (The One-Eye Opera Co.), [n.d.].

5.75 x 6.2"; 44 pages plus endpages. 20 pages of mixed media abstract illustrations. Collage. Ink. Bound in hand-painted boards. Signed by the artist on the title page.

Sampson explores the book as a means of visual expression. Stubby red lines over and under filmy black collaged paper – all on paint-speckled paper. It's not Pollack meeting the Dalai Lama, but it might be.

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Purple Dreams
By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO (The One-Eye Opera Co.), 1989. One-of-a-Kind.

5.25 x 7"; 60 pages including free end pages. 32 pages of illustrations interleaved with plain grey paper pages. Illustrations with black pencil, silver paint, colored pencils.

Bound in grey hand-painted boards with black leather strips (of tape?) across spine for binding. Signed and dated by the artist.

Purple dreams are, evidently, not sweet dreams – haunting faces on angular stick figures.

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Ragland Birds
By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: Mary Ann Sampson, 1994. One-of-a-kind.

24.5 x 20" with four pages. Illustrated using prism pencils, acrylic, and clear shoe polish. Black plastic spiral binding with handpainted boards

Mary Ann Sampson lives in Ragland, Alabama, where she experiences the delights and eccentricities of rural life. One of her neighbors had a chicken farm which led to a "series" of unique books. Sampson said she could hear the chickens and their noisy conversation any time of the day or night.


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By Mary Ann Sampson
1998. .One-of-a-kind.

3.5 x 2.75". Mixed media accordion book housed in stiff brown cardboard box with lid. Lid with paper-title paste-on, decorated with small squares of colorful paper along edges. Box bottom illustrated with black line stamped stars. Miniature book housed in box attached to bottom with wire. Hand-colored illustrations.

Another of Sampson’s creations from “what is hand”.

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Shoo Fly
By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO Press, 1998. One-of-a-kind.

8.25 x 11.5", modified tunnel book. Paper cutting. Color pencils. Digital
print. Collage elements. French door binding with paper-covered boards and cloth spines.

Sampson made several unique books showing Da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" as part of the citizenry of rural Alabama. This book show s the enigmatic lady peeking through the overgrown foliage of a Southern summer day while flies buzz around her iconic head.

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By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO (The One-Eye Opera Co.), 1990. One-of-a-Kind.

4.25 x 4.5"; 24 pages includes 16 pages of illustrations and 4 leaves of free endpages. Gold leaf edges. Pen and ink drawings. Spattered paint. Bound in painted boards.

Have an aversion to numbers? Sampson's puppet-like figures are surrounded by them, beset by numbers, or, that is, srebmun (backwards).


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Teaching a Bird to Read
By Mary Ann Sampson
Ragland, Alabama: OEOCO, 2004. One-of-a-Kind.

3.25 x 6.25" closed, extends to 26"; 8 pages. Double-sided accordion. Paper cutting. Pen and ink, color pencils. Paper covered boards with .8" leather band closure.

Birds continue to be a theme in the artwork of Mary Ann Sampson - perhaps from living in rural Alabama surrounded by chicken farms and other wild winged creatures. In these pages the alphabet letters form a background for a lone little owl-like figure.


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Page last update: 08.29.16

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