Mike Fowler & The Beauty of Ephemera
by Karl Sorne | Photography by Dave Barfield
How often does a piece of printed material cause you to stop and stare? Make you want to pick it up and feel it? Turn it over and over in your hand, as if each revolution will reveal some new discovery. There is a real, tangible beauty to anything that is produced at Sangha Press in Railroad Square. For Mika Fowler though, all of this is more a happy byproduct of the letter press process than the purpose. He was drawn to reviving this form of printing because he loves the unique aspect of every produced piece, there being small variances each time the press cycles, and then imbuing that effort and artistry to the entirely impermanent medium of various stocks of paper. The idea that he can create an object that is one of a kind and will exist for only a relatively short amount of time is the true reason to keep putting ink to paper.
He was originally hired to work on newspaper presses at the Daily Rocket Miner in Wyoming. There, fueled by gin and youth, he learned to appreciate the method and madness of typesetting and pressing. After various distractions throughout the years, he has returned to this process in an effort to share some of the meditative qualities and educate any who care to stop by the shop, including his continually growing gaggle of interns. First Friday and by appointment attendees alike are encouraged to wander in and observe as Mika embraces the notion of fragility inherent in his press process, an “Everything is more beautiful because we are doomed” poster hanging in the front summing up his attitude poignantly.
Mika leaves for Salem, New York in August for a three week residency and then will return to prepare for a gallery show at LeMoyne Center for the Visual Arts in October of 2018 that will consist of his collage and mono print work. Stop in at some point to visit with Tess, ask Mika to show you their routine, and while you are there soak in the subtle, subversive and tactile brilliance that exists if only briefly before the whole world gives over to gift shops.
Mika Fowler has worked in Railroad Square for 15 years and offers workshops by appointment. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 850.508.0482