What do the Full Frame program guide, the Durham Farmers’ Market broadside, the menus at Watts Grocery, and this Independent Weekly cover have in common?
If you've seen a connection between all of them, that's no surprise. They're all the work of the same downtown Durham-based designer: Dave Wofford, the sole proprietor behind Horse & Buggy Press, a graphic design and letterpress printing studio housed within the Bull City Arts Collaborative.
Horse & Buggy Press is coming up on its fifteenth anniversary this year. The last eight years have been in Durham, and the last five have been in the Bull City Arts Collaborative. An event this coming Friday will celebrate the five-year anniversary of the BCAC.
As print designers go, Dave is truly a Jack of all trades. He works both with modern technologies such as automated offset and digital printing, and uses what some would call “archaic” mechanical technologies such as the hand-fed Vandercook letterpress which he himself prints on in his studio.
His various technologies are accompanied by a wide range of roles (such as art director, designer, production coordinator, and letterpress printer), and his work ranges in scale from business cards and letterhead all the way to collectible, fine press book editions which are often hand-bound and created in part with custom, handmade paper.
The phrase he uses on his business card is “Design, Letterpress Printing & More... for the Jet Age and Beyond.”
One of his more interesting projects is just getting underway and involves working with Courtney Fitzpatrick, a Duke PhD student in evolutionary biology. As part of the research toward her PhD, Fitzpatrick spent 17 months in the Amboseli Basin in Kenya studying primate biology. This was during 2009, which happened to be the time when Kenya descended into the worst drought of its living memory.
"Maji Moto" will be completed in April 2012. The edition of 175 fine press books will include over 40 full color photographs and ten lyrical essays documenting the unique and intense experience. More information on Maji Moto including some photographs and excerpts can be found here at Dave's blog.
Dave works alone, but he is not lonely where he works. His canine friend Bella has a designated spot next to his desk where she lies when there are not new faces to greet.
Oh, and there are also a couple of humans that share the 1,800 square feet workspace with Dave. Dave is one of a few artists that works out of the Bull City Arts Collaborative (BCAC), an arts collective established in 2006 by Dave and documentary filmmaker Kenny Dalsheimer.
The BCAC is located at 401-B Foster Street in the white building wedged catty-corner between the YMCA and Central Park that also is home to the restaurant Piedmont and to the offices of Urban Durham Realty.
The BCAC is currently occupied by three men (and Bella) and their separate companies:
- Dave Wofford and Horse & Buggy Press
- Kenny Dalsheimer and his documentary film company The Groove Productions,
- Revere La Noue and his multimedia company Light Rain Media.
More information on all three artists and their companies can be found on the BCAC website.
The BCAC is celebrating its five year anniversary this month, culminating in a closing reception on Friday, May 20. (The foyer gallery usually features the work of guest artists, but the BCAC has curated a show of their own work for their anniversary.)
If you can’t make the May 20 event, there will be other opportunities to come to see the center's work; the BCAC regularly hosts open houses on the third Friday of each month.