Chapbook Contest News: An Interview with Ink Press Productions

We’re thrilled to team up with Ink Press Productions for them to design and print the winning chapbook for our inaugural chapbook contest!

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Tracy Dimond (left) and Amanda McCormick (right), cofounders of Ink Press Productions

Ink Press Productions is a community arts organization and press devoted to literary art. It is driven by Baltimore poets Tracy Dimond and Amanda McCormick. Ink Press publishes handmade chapbooks, espresso ink, an experimental anthology, and hosts the monthly writing workshop, Gin & Ink. IPP also hosts periodic events to showcase artists from Baltimore and beyond.  www.inkpressproductions.com

Amanda McCormick, founding curator of Ink Press, answered the following questions for us:

What made you start Ink Press Productions?

Ink Press Productions is a part of a goal to live a life surrounded by art. I imagine a life where human capability is nurtured and so creates opportunities for others to build an artistic life together.

When I met Tracy Dimond in August of 2012 we quickly realized that we had similar goals in regard to art and community. We joined forces and decided to build an organization that promotes contemporary art and artists. At Ink Press Productions we find meaning in art, as a way of seeing and creating meaning beyond that which can be simply quantified. Members of our community inspire us to do more.

What kind of vision do you have for the press? 

I see Ink Press establishing a house of arts—a place where community can work together on arts projects, a building where we can host events and workshops on a larger scale. We have even talked about renting out studio space in exchange for services.

What kinds of projects have you been developing?

Lately we have been focusing on building up our chapbook press and establishing connections within the Baltimore community. Without collaboration, Ink Press Productions is pointless. The best ideas come with two or more brains working together. We are proud to partner with other Baltimore organizations to help promote the city’s booming artistic talent. For example, we’ve teamed up with EMP Collective to put together the Pop Up Lit Shop, an event showcasing many members of Baltimore’s literary scene. We’re also involved with Furniture Press’ Press > Play, an off-side independent press festival occurring during the Baltimore Book Fest. Look out for more information & updates about these and other events on our Facebook & Tumblr pages.

Are there specific artistic influences that you have?

It seems like I meet awesome, creative people everyday. Baltimore is exploding with talent and with a passion for art and literature. I’m inspired by individuals who understand that the best things we have in this world come from working with each other. As well, I respect people who live life their own way despite the spiraling system of financial and social demands our culture puts upon them.

What’s your philosophy about how to design a chapbook? 

Step 1: Find materials

I am a strong believer in getting the most out of objects. When you throw something away it sits dead forever in a heap. Meanwhile, new stuff is being manufactured by the second. It crowds the earth.

With this in mind, we like to use available, recycled materials when creating a chapbook. I get inspired by the contents of a manuscript to find material that fits with it. Then, the book comes together through trial and error. I like to experiment whenever possible and lately I’ve been interested in using combinations of simple designs and letter press printing.

For me, it is the process, creating a book and sharing it with others, that is the most important thing.

workinWhy did you decide to partner with jmww on publishing our first poetry chapbook winner? 

Most of our decisions are somewhat instinctual, somewhat considered. We believe Ink Press Productions should evolve organically. Since an important goal is fostering community, community helps tells us where IPP should go. Partnering with jmww was an opportunity we were thrilled to take.

Do you have thoughts on the chapbook as a genre and its place in the literary world? 

I love the conceptual meshing of literary & visual art, and the chapbook is the perfect form for that. It also allows art as being a part of our everydayness. 

If you could publish any author, who would it be?
I’m excited about the authors we are currently publishing. I don’t want to get ahead of myself. I like the idea of one collaboration leading to the next chapbook leading to the next reading leading to the next big event, in this way honoring another artist who is doing something well.
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