News from the Soybean Press

Amos Kennedy Returns to CU

April 23rd, 2014

Amos Kennedy is back in town to print a special broadside in commemoration of the arrival of the papers of Gwendolyn Brooks at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. We are very pleased to have him join us for this letterpress session and we welcome you to stop by Noble Hall this evening from 6pm-8pm to see us in action. Perhaps even more exciting, Amos will be holding a print sale and exhibition of his work at the Urbana [co][lab] and Flying Machine Coffee this FRIDAY at 7pm. Come see a great artist at work!

Friday, April 25th, 7:00 PM at the Urbana [co] [lab] 206 W. Main St. One Night Stand: Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr. Poster Show

Art at the Market: Put a bird on it!

July 5th, 2012

This past weekend, the Soybean Press held a printing session at the Urbana Farmer's Market. It was quite a flurry of activity under the hot sun: we printed abbreviated phrases in the style of text messages onto postcards (the original text message...), as well as people's names in wood type, and the Art at the Market's beret-clad rooster from a linocut. Many people printed with us using handmade paper made from native prairie fibers at the Fresh Press. Check out some photos from the event!

First Batch of Fresh Press Paper

June 1st, 2012

The first batch of native fiber has been cooked, pulped, charged, pulled, couched, pressed, and dried. The Fresh Press has started on its quest to find the perfect recipe for paper using native prairie grasses. There is a long road ahead, but there will be a lot of great paper along that road to a sustainable solution for new kinds of industrial paper. If you're interested in working on the Fresh Press Paper project, please contact us.

Carr Reader Series 2011-2012 Completed!

April 20, 2012

The Soybean Press has finished its first year working with the Creative Writing department and the eight visiting Carr Readers. We had the pleasure and priviledge of printing with Rolando Hinajosa-Smith, Dean Rader, John Warner, Andrew Ervin, Andy Frazee, Toi Derricote, Joy Harjo, and Amelia Gray. We're delighted to have started this collaboration and we look forward to possible artist/writer collaborations in the future. In addition, we printed a broadside, designed by Dennis Sears, in honor of Laurence Lieberman for his reading at the Rare Book & Manuscript Library. Our last project for the year will be to print our second annual prize for the Montage Arts Journal with contest winner Ethan Chambers. Update to Soybean Publications coming soon!

Print and Book Arts Sale and Exhibition

April 1st, 2012

Updated: The Book Sale was a success! The artists sold a number of their items and the gallery stayed busy the whole time. I hope those of you who came enjoyed it and those of you that didn't come to our next sale. We'll keep you posted.

March 5, 2012

We will be holding a sale of print and book arts at the Indigo Gallery in Downtown Champaign on March 31st starting at Noon and going through the afternoon. Please come to check out the work of local bookartists and printmakers and support them with the purchase of their work. If you are interested in selling any print or book arts work, please contact me at

Valentine's made by you!

February 13, 2012

Our Valentine's workshop was a blast. It was great to see some creative and enthusiastic participants come out and put their Valentine's ideas in print, letterpress style. The heart-shaped paper was also a success and paper-making will continue throughout the year. Now we're looking forward to our Affordable Book & Print Fair in March, please let me know if you're interested in participating (

Soybean Press Events for Spring 2012

February 6, 2012

Our complete event schedule for the semester is ready for public consumption, here goes:

To kick of our year, we will be hosting a Valentine paper & print session on February 11th at 12pm until 4pm. Everyone is invited to attend this (free!) paper making session where we will be making paper for Valentine's Day (heart-shaped and more!). Those who have experience printing can even print out some Valentine's. An RSVP is required so we can plan accordingly (

Also in February, will be working with students from the University High School to help them produce mini broadsides of their own work as part of their Agora Days activities February 21st-24th at 3pm. Again, let me know if you have any interest in participating.

Later this spring we will be hosting an Artists' Affordable Book Fair, where we invite any of you (and some other book artists we know) to come show-off and hopefully sell some of your work. The event will take place on March 31st at the Indigo Gallery in downtown Champaign. If you would like to setup and sell (or show) any of your work (books, prints, or similar crafts), please let me know. If you know of any print or book artists who might be interested feel free to pass this information along.

This will also be our second semester of hosting the Carr Reader Series at the press. Taking place on three Wednesdays in April, we will be partnering with visiting authors Toi Derricotte, Joy Harjo, and Amelia Gray to print fine press versions of their work. If you are interested in participating in (or just watching) this process, please contact me.

For those who are interested in volunteering with any activities, willing to help us organize the press or to get involved with our regular print and paper making activities, please contact me .

Paper Making Begins!

January 30, 2012

Yesterday at the Press we started up our paper making operation. We ran an initial batch of pulp through the Beater to clean it out and then another to make our first paper with the new equipment. It was an exciting day for the Fresh Press and for Soybean. We will be doing some special papermaking sessions for Valetine's on February 11th, for all those who are interested (expect a list-serv notice soon). Also, our collaboration with William Gillespie from Spineless books started off this weekend. We did some searching through the decorative elements at the press and designed and printed a cover one of his upcoming publications.

Paper Making Equipment Arrives!

January 23, 2012

Yesterday night we unpacked a paper press, drying table, and Hollander beater. Fresh Press will soon be on it's way to making paper from local fibers and we will be making paper for our publications at the Soybean Press. Exciting news, soon we will be sending out the call to those interested in making paper.

Carr Reading Series

October 4th, 2011

The Soybean Press has teamed up with the Creative Writing Department to produce fine press broadsides for the Carr Reading Series. Each of the writers who visits campus as part of the series works with us to create a fine edition of one of their works. So far, we have printed with Rolando Hinojosa-Smith and Dean Rader. On October 17th, we will be printing with John Warner. On October 19th, we will be working with Andy Frazee and Andrew Ervin. At the end of the year, we will compile these broadsides into collections that will be available for purchase. Please contact for more information or to subscribe to the Soybean email list.

Printing the Soybean Press Prize

May 31st, 2011

photos by Bea Nettles

Today, we started the printing process at the Soybean Press. Valerie O'Brien and some members of the press printed an image from a photopolymer plate on Charles Wisseman's soybean paper. Sid Berger also stopped by with his Rare Book & Manuscript Librarianship class to check out the press. This Friday we will be selecting and setting type for the poem and we may even find time to print.

Papermaking with Charles Wisseman

April 22nd, 2011

Soybean Press folks will be making paper from dried soybeans tomorrow, April 23rd. If you'd like to participate or just see what paper making is about, contact mstrombe(at) for more information. We will be working for several hours, so don't hesitate to come, even if you just want to pop in for a minute to see the process.

The Winner of the Soybean Press Prize for Undergraduate Student Arts Announced!

April 22nd, 2011

Valerie O'Brien has been selected by Montage as the winner of the Soybean Press Prize for Student Arts. As a result, she will print her work "Wind Turbines" at the Soybean Press with Steve Kostell and the volunteers of the Soybean Press. An update will be posted here with some photos of the process when her work has been printed and copies will be available in our publications section.

The Montage Arts Journal and the Soybean Press Team-up for Undergraduate Prize

February 11th, 2011

The Montage Arts Journal and the Soybean Press have launched a collaborative prize to recognize one outstanding literary or artistic work. The Montage Arts Journal is a registered student organization that accepts submissions by undergraduates to be considered for its annual issue--students have until March 21st to send in their work. This year, one burgeoning creative mind of the University of Illinois will get a chance to have their work printed by the Soybean Press. All submissions to Montage will automatically be considered for this prize and the winner will get to participate in the aesthetic and physical processes of the production of a fine press imprint.

The Soybean Press is the core institution of the Illinois Book Arts Collaborative. See our About.

Check out the University of Illinois sustainable paper makers at the Fresh Press.

The Soybean Press has partnered with the undergraduate students arts journal Montage to award one student annually with a fine press edition of their work.

Spineless Books will be working on projects with the Soybean Press as of Spring 2012.

Robert Chapman is a local papermaker and letterpress artist.

Illini Union Bookstore

The publications of the Soybean Press will soon be available through the website of the Illini Union Bookstore.

The Soybean Press is a collaborative endeavor of the School of Art & Design, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, and the Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

For more information please email