Visit to Small Press Development at Drexel University

Visit to Small Press Development at Drexel University

Last week, Soapbox rep Mary Tasillo visited the Small Press Development class at Drexel University, part of their Master of Arts in Publishing program. Taught by Valerie Fox, this class gives students a unique opportunity to think outside traditional publishing and look at an array of small press, independent, and handmade models for getting books into the world. Mary discussed her own trajectory as a creator of books and how her interests in community, teaching, and activism tie together her work as a zine and book maker to her work as co-founder of The Soapbox.

With a group focused on publishing, the discussion addressed questions of time and transaction: How much time goes into making a photocopied zine with a handmade cover? How much time goes into making a hard cover handmade book letterpress printed on handmade paper? How are these things distributed and how does one assess value?

What role does The Soapbox play in supporting publishing? We discussed The Soapbox as an organization devoted to supporting individuals in their own self-publishing projects. While we put out a title from time to time, primarily we provide equipment, skill building opportunities, and a community to support these activities. The beauty of the community printshop is the ability to informally get feedback, ideas, and advice from fellow creators (rather than The Soapbox acting as editor) – and we offer opportunities for sharing this work through publication release events, readings, and housing works in our library.

The class had the opportunity to peruse works from The Soapbox library and Mary’s personal collection, and we even threw in a hands-on one-page fold book demo on the fly (inspired of the structure of To Write: To Draw, pictured here)!

Interested in having Soapbox creators come and visit your class? Send us an email at!