School of Art | Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts


Pyracantha Press

The Pyracantha Press was established at Arizona State University in 1982 as the production and research imprint of the ASU Herberger Institute School of Art's book arts program. The press undertakes book arts projects that have particular merit in literary content, result in visual or technical research or provide for significant collaboration between writers and artists or between artists. Publications of the press are not done as class projects, but are produced with professional care and quality by the director, the staff printer and graduate research assistants.

In the past, the Pyracantha Press also functioned as an integral unit of the school's Visual Arts Research Studios along with printmaking and photographic facilities, producing collaborative cross-discipline work with guest artists. The research studios are inactive at this time. The press continues its own research program.

Professor John Risseeuw, who came to ASU in 1980 to establish a book arts program within the printmaking area of the School of Art, directs the press. In addition to being a printer/typographer, he is a printmaker and papermaker. Dan Mayer, full-time book arts printer, manages the shop. The press is also served by professor Gene Valentine as adjunct editor and a graduate research assistant.

Publications include:

Time Square by Buzz Spector. 2007. A collaborative artist's book. Polymer letterpress on Somerset paper with screenprinted mylar cover, side-bound in post-and-screw, pages torn by Buzz. 10" x 10" edition 30. $750

Time Square by Buzz Spector. 2007. Two-color broadside of the text of the Time Square book. Polymer letterpress on Somerset paper. 15" x 20" edition 100. $90

Noisy by Nature by Mary McCann. 2005. A collaborative artist's book with two new sound poems by Mary McCann, The Bone Mama, performance poet & deejay. The origami pop-out bookform concept is by Dan Mayer & John Risseeuw. Bernhard Gothic and other types and visuals were printed from polymer relief plates or handset type. Xerox transfer onto cover boards. Tire-tread plates (inked-up and transferred from The Bone Mama's vintage BMW motorcycle) were hand-inked à la poupée. Bound in bare book boards and colored tyvek. 5.75" x 4.5" edition of 200. Signed. $200

Eco Songs by Dimitrije Buzarovski. 2000. A song cycle based on poetic works by Chief Dan George, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Stevie Smith, Alfonsina Storni, Li Po, and the Book of Job. An artists' book printed and constructed of five different papers made from plant fibers from around the world. A codex section contains the poems as originally written. An accordion section displays the lyrics in visual typography, followed by a of the CD of the music. A last section of back matter gives information about the composer Buzarovski, the soprano Nan Hughes, the poets, and a colophon about the making of the book. 7" x 5.5" Edition of 90 on handmade paper, 115 on recycled commercial paper.
$250 on handmade; $125 on recycled

Venus and Adonis by William Shakespeare. 1984. Newly edited with an introduction by John Doebler, with two lithographs by Leonard Lehrer. Monotype Bembo type on HMP handmade paper. Half-bound in black leather and maroon linen. 70 pp. 8.25" x 11" edition 120. $225

Puella by James Dickey. 1985. Nineteen poems handset in Palatino on Arches Text Laid paper with three line engravings. Quarter-bound in black leather and natural cloth. 32 pp. 7.5" x 13.5" edition 150. Signed $125

The Last Baron of Arizona by Joanna H. Kraus. A play about an incident from Arizona's 19th Century history— the largest land fraud in U.S. history. Handset in Baskerville and other types on Rives lightweight buff paper with many line engravings of the period and a fold-out map. Quarter-bound in tan leather with marbled endpapers. 45 pp. 9.25" x 12.25" 1986 edition 120. Signed $125

The Warrington Poems by Alberto Rios. 1989, Twenty-three poems plus journal entries. Handset Stempel Optima types on specially made paper and on Rives Heavyweight. 62 pp. 5.6"x10" edition 155, of which 35 are on handmade paper and quarter-bound in grey leather and paste papers, 120 on Rives with grey Canson paper wrappers. Signed hardbound O.P.; final fifteen copies of softbound $150

The Other Side of the House by Rita Dove. 1988. A collaborative book of seven poems by Rita Dove and seven photographs by Tamarra Kaida. The poems are handset in Palatino types and the photographs are printed by collotype on Rives Heavyweight paper. Bound in gray Dutch cloth. 45 pp. 18.25" x 13.5" edition 50. Signed O.P.

PETRIfied forEAST by György Petri, Péter Forgács, and György Galántai. 1994. A VARS collaboration with poet Petri and artists Forgács and Galántai from Budapest, Hungary, on the theme of Freedom and Oppression. Three books in a slipcase with multicolor text and images printed by letterpress, relief, screenprinting, and lowspeed flatbed offset lithography. Must be seen. Case 10.25” x 11.5" edition 225. Signed hard slipcase $250; soft slipcase $150

The Bill of Rights. 1991. Five-color broadside of the text of the Bill of Rights printed to commemorate the bicentennial of the document on December 15, 1991. Edition of 200, with 100 printed on 100% rag handmade paper made at the Press from pulp containing cotton American flags and blue jeans, and 100 copies on Amora, a German artists’ paper. 16" x 20" handmade O.P.; Amora $50

An Address by Fritz Scholder . . . 1983. Three-color broadside in handset Palatino type on English handmade paper of a commencement speech by the noted artist. 12" x 18" edition 150.$75

Support Sanctuary! 1985. Two-color broadside with linoleum cut by Antonio Frasconi, text by Thoreau and others. 11" x 14" edition 123. Signed O.P.

The Pyracantha Press is most pleased . . . 1986. Six-color specimen broadside showing of new type acquisitions; Roycroft and Cooper Old Style on Amora paper. 12.5" x 38" edition 150. $30

For My People by Elizabeth Catlett. 1987. Three-color reduction linoleum block print with one-color letterpress quotation from a poem by Margaret Walker. 18" x 22" Edition 75. Signed O.P.

Home Sweet Home by Margaret Prentice. 1990. Text from Hayden Carruth and Frank Lloyd Wright.
Woodcut and letterpress on pulp-stenciled handmade paper. 12" x 17.75" edition 31. Signed $350.

Optimism by Pam Longobardi. 2000. Color print. Text by "P.S.D.L.", image by Longobardi. Letterpress and polymer relief with inkjet collage. 15" x 11" edition 40. Signed $350

Gathering House by Alberto Rios. 2005. Broadside of poem written on the opening of the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing on February 3, 2005. Wood relief and letterpress on handmade paper. 10" x 15" edition 150. Signed O.P.

Dance by Francisco Mora. 1987. Two-color reduction linoleum block print. 22" x 18" edition 75. Signed $300

Choice & Invoices by Beatrice Wood. 1987. Four-color broadside on handmade paper of a speech by ceramist Beatrice Wood upon receiving a Distinguished Service Award at the Craft Today Symposium in 1987. 11" x 15" edition 75. Signed $50

The Floating Lady by Tony Delap. 1987. A portfolio of five collotype images based on French postcards, some with lithography or serigraphy augmentation. Letterpress title page and colophon page, held in a handmade clothbound box portfolio, foil-stamped. 16.5" x 21" edition 20. A VARS production. Signed $5000

Distant Markers by Lois M. Johnson and Laurel Rueter. 1990. A collaborative suite of five lithographic prints by Johnson with letterpress texts accompanying the prints on vellum overlays. One double-size lithograph with tipped on dye-transfer print. Letterpress title page and colophon page, held in a red slipcase. 15" x 15" edition 20. A VARS production. Signed $1500

Please write or call John Risseeuw or Dan Mayer at the press if you are interested in a purchase or more information. Or email: or