The Motor Signal Reading Series jolts the poetry reading out of its conventional form. Motor Signal invites local poets to read their work, but it goes beyond a typical poetry reading by involving the audience in an activity of literary co-creation. Join us for our final reading of 2019 with Imani Mixon and Aisha Sabatini Sloan.
Flower Day takes place every year in Eastern Market on the Sunday after Mother’s Day and has been a time-honored tradition of Eastern Market since 1967. Growers offer a wide variety of flowers, and here at Signal-Return we have flower themed posters, prints, cards, and gifts. Come on in to see our studio and shop!
Saturday, JUNE 8 & Sunday, JUNE 9 [10-4 PM] • $225 • All Materials Included
While printing a multitude of letterpress show posters, Louisville, Kentucky based artist/printer Brad Vetter has incorporated many alternative methods into his aesthetic. Pressure printing, a non-traditional letterpress technique that uses stencils to creates unique and spontaneous images, stands out as one of his favorites. During this two-day workshop we will learn Brad’s secrets to perfecting this technique and how to incorporate it into your next letterpress print project. Working with presses, hand-set type and laser cut elements, we will create our own stencils and corresponding prints! No experience necessary.
During this two-day workshop we will:
- Marvel at Brad’s beautiful posters and process examples
- Discuss and Explore the good the bad and the ugly of “Pressure Printing”, and other fun alternative printing techniques
- Cut and Print your own pressure printed designs in the letterpress studio
Brad Vetter is a designer, artist, educator and letterpress printer currently based in Louisville, KY. After studying graphic design at Western Kentucky University, Brad spent eight years honing his craft and printing posters at the legendary Hatch Show Print in Nashville, TN. During his tenure at Hatch he was able to merge his love of the handmade and graphic design in printing projects for his favorite bands (Arcade Fire, My Morning Jacket and Wilco) and the coolest clients (Nike and Anthropologie).
After Hatch, Brad became an independent printer and designer under the mantle Brad Vetter Design. Bouncing between antique letterpress equipment and contemporary technologies, he continues to hand print rock-and-roll posters while also adding some digital design to his repertoire. Recent poster clients include Mumford & Sons, Van Morrison and Chris Stapleton just to name a few. His letterpress inspired labels also adore every bottle of Signal Ridge Vineyard wine. Brad frequently lectures and hosts workshops throughout the US on his unique techniques and processes. His print work has been shown in such notable venues as the San Francisco MoMA, Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art, Columbia College Center for Book and Paper, and the Danish Museum of Media.
Saturday, JULY 13 [10-4 PM] • $125 • All Materials Included
Since the early 1500s the printing press has been used to share important information with the public. Whether proclamation or promotion, propaganda or praise, the power of the press has been used for centuries to tell important stories. What story do you have to tell?
American author and storyteller Studs Terkel said the purpose of life is “To make a dent.” In this workshop, we’ll work with wood type to create posters with bite. We will make a literal and figurative impression (without damaging the type) by printing bold messages on paper. Do you have something important to say? A message that needs to be shared? Come to this workshop and put it down on paper.
Ben Blount was born and raised in Detroit. He is a designer and letterpress printer that loves books, type, and putting ink on paper. His work often explores questions of race and identity and the stories we tell ourselves about living in America. He is a believer in the power of the printed word and has taught workshops at places like The Cleveland Institute of Art, Florida Atlantic University, and Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum. Ben learned a lot about design at Washington University in St. Louis, a lot about printing at Columbia College Chicago, and filled in the gaps with mentors and lots of practice. He currently prints out of his storefront studio in Evanston, IL.
SATURDAY, April 13 & SUNDAY April 14 [10–4 PM] • $225 All Materials Included
Working with the Signal Return type collection over two days, participants will set and print one or two (depending on personal choice) pieces. We’ll first approach the idea of creating something decorative and symmetrical and purely ornamental. The second project will be to create a non-symmetrical letterform from the ornaments on hand.
At the height of its popularity in the 1800s, letterpress printing presented printers with incredible options for creating everything from simple flower embellishments to elaborate systems of illustrations built with ornament. What can we learn from looking at examples of historical designs, how they survived (or didn’t) and their role in design and print vernacular over the century to follow? In this workshop, we’ll examine the quirks of old ornaments, how to keep them vital and allow them to influence and inform modern design practices.
During the course of the weekend workshop we will study specimen books that show the type/ornament at its zenith, start to ‘see’ how ornament can be used to accent or illustrate, look at good practices for printing metal type, examine ornament for visual positive/negative space, usefulness and condition, and get tips and tricks for getting the best out of old metal type
Since 1999, Jennifer Farrell has operated Starshaped Press in Chicago, focusing on printing everything from business cards to posters, as well as custom commissions, wholesale ephemera and limited edition prints & books. All work in the studio is done with metal and wood type, making Starshaped one of the few presses in the country producing commercial work while preserving antique type and related print materials. Jennifer’s work has been repeatedly recognized both in print and design blogs, and has appeared in poster shows throughout the USA and Europe.
The Motor Signal Reading Series jolts the poetry reading out of its conventional form. Motor Signal invites local poets to read their work, but it goes beyond a typical poetry reading by involving the audience in an activity of literary co-creation. Join us on April 11th for part 3 of our season 6 series with Elizabeth Schmuhl.
The Motor Signal Reading Series jolts the poetry reading out of its conventional form. Motor Signal invites local poets to read their work, but it goes beyond a typical poetry reading by involving the audience in an activity of literary co-creation. Join us on March 14th for part 2 of our season 6 series with readers Amy Elliott Bragg and Akil Kumarasamy.
The Motor Signal Reading Series jolts the poetry reading out of its conventional form. Motor Signal invites local poets to read their work, but it goes beyond a typical poetry reading by involving the audience in an activity of literary co-creation. Kick off our SIXTH season of Motor Signal on February 21, with Oneita Jackson and Ber-Henda Williams!
Dayton, Ohio, native and Howard University graduate Oneita Jackson spent her summers in New York City and lived in Washington, D.C., 14 years before moving to Detroit in 2001 to take a job as a copy editor at the Free Press, where she would eventually write the controversial and award-winning, observations-based O Street column.
The World’s Proudest English Major escaped from journalism in 2012 and went on new adventures, becoming what she would call the “baddest little” everything: cab driver and professional fixer, restaurant hostess, satirist; her books “Nappy-Headed Negro Syndrome” and “Letters from Mrs. Grundy”—nonfiction satires about identity, judgment, and assumptions (unconscious bias) and bad customer service—are endorsed by international bestseller and Dayton Literary Peace Prize and TED Prize recipient Dave Eggers.
Ber-Henda Williams lives according to her name’s Germanic-Greek origin, “The Bear Hearted Protector” of multiculturalism, art and womanhood. She focuses her energy as a femolutionary, poet, teacher, author, television and film producer, youth advocate and public speaker. A Wayne State University graduate with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and minor in International Marketing, Ber-Henda Williams lives her life in color.
Thursday January 17, 6-8 PM
Join us for the Detroit launch of Lives Laid Away!, the second novel in the August Snow series, by acclaimed writer Stephen Mack Jones. Stephen is a poet, award-winning playwright and recipient of a Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellowship.
Copies of the book will be available for purchase from The Book Beat and Stephen will be present to sign your book!
Stephen's first novel, August Snow received rave reviews and the following awards:
Winner of the Hammett Prize for Crime Fiction
A 2018 Michigan Notable Book
A Milwaukee Journal Sentinel Best Book of 2017
Strand Magazine Critics Awards Best First Novel Nominee
Finalist for the 2018 Shamus Award
Finalist for the 2018 Nero Award
Thursday December 20, 5:30 - 8 PM
We're celebrating the release of 6 new original print editions, created by the second cohort of artists invited to participate in this project. Please join us, celebrate the artists, and buy the prints to support the nonprofits they are championing!
New Prints by:
Olayami Dabls/Mariners Inn
Andy Krieger/The Children's Center
Nicole McDonald/Wild Indigo
Azucena Nava-Moreno/Detroit Horse Power
Prints also available from:
Mark Arminski/Georgia Street Community Colllective
Louise Jones/Detroit Hives
Sabrina Nelson/Black Family Development
Renata Palubinskas/Keep Growing Detroit
Pat Perry/Freedom House
Vito Valdez/Last Day Dog Rescue
December 1 - 19
University of Michigan Detroit Center, Midtown Detroit
Holiday Trees, organized by the Carr Center, is a unique celebration of the holiday season that brings together different artists and organizations to decorate trees and present them in a community exhibition. Come check out our tree!
Join us for our annual Holiday Card Jam fundraiser! We will have 5 presses set up for you to print your own holiday cards with a DJ to get you in the holiday spirit and refreshments provided. Register in advance or pay at the door.
Entry Ticket: $25 includes 5 print your own holiday cards with envelopes
Patron Ticket: $60 includes 5 print your own holiday cards with envelopes, Signal-Return t-shirt and Signal-Return Individual Membership (10% off all purchases). Limited quantity available!
Thursday September 6 @ 6 pm
The Poisoned City: Flint's Water and the American Urban Tragedy by Anna Clark
In the first full account of this American tragedy, The Poisoned City recounts the gripping story of Flint’s poisoned water through the people who caused it, suffered from it, and exposed it. It is a chronicle of one town, but could also be about any American city, all made precarious by the neglect of infrastructure and the erosion of democratic decision making. Places like Flint are set up to fail—and for the people who live and work in them, the consequences can be fatal.
Join Signal-Return at the Ann Arbor Wayzgoose Printing Festival! Located at the Downtown Ann Arbor District Library, this event celebrates all forms of printmaking and will feature workshops, demonstrations, and a vendor fair. We will have a booth at the vendor fair, bringing prints and cards made at Signal-Return as well as our Detroit city spirit!
The Motor Signal Reading Series jolts the poetry reading out of its conventional form. Motor Signal invites local poets to read their work, but it goes beyond a typical poetry reading by involving the audience in an activity of literary co-creation. Our FIFTH season is here, featuring Saladin Ahmed and Stephen Mack Jones!
Saladin Ahmed's work has been nominated for the Eisner, Hugo, and Nebula Awards. His novel THRONE OF THE CRESCENT MOON, praised by George RR Martin as "a rollicking swashbuckler," won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Saladin's short fiction, essays, and poems have appeared in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Slate, Salon, and BuzzFeed. Recently he has focused on comics, writing BLACK BOLT, EXILES, and QUICKSILVER for Marvel Comics and creating ABBOTT, an occult thriller set in 1970s Detroit, at Boom Studios.
Stephen Mack Jones is a published poet, an award-winning playwright, and a recipient of the prestigious Kresge Arts in Detroit Literary Fellowship. He was born in Lansing, Michigan, and currently lives in Farmington Hills, outside of Detroit. He worked in advertising and marketing communications for a number of years before turning to fiction. August Snow (Soho Press) is his first novel. On January 9th, 2019, Soho Press will release the second book in the August Snow thriller series.
The 2018 Season of Motor Signal is supported by a generous grant from The Robert and Toni Bader Charitable Foundation.
The Motor Signal Reading Series jolts the poetry reading out of its conventional form. Motor Signal invites local poets to read their work, but it goes beyond a typical poetry reading by involving the audience in an activity of literary co-creation. Our FIFTH season is here, featuring Amy Haimerl and J.M. Leija!
Amy Haimerl is a professor of journalism at Michigan State University and the author of "Detroit Hustle," a memoir of rehabbing a historic home in the Motor City. She also covers entrepreneurship and urban policy for Fortune, Reuters and the New York Times. She lives in Detroit with her husband, Karl, and their cat, The Overlord.
J.M. Leija is a Detroit educator and essayist. Her most recent essay was published in the January issue of the Tishman Review and she was previously featured in "A Detroit Anthology." She was a 2015 Write A House finalist, a graduate of the University of Michigan English Department and of the Bennington College Writing Seminars in Summer 2014. For the last three years she has been hard at work on a collection of essays about teaching DPS students during the most difficult time in educational history: right now.
The 2018 Season of Motor Signal is supported by a generous grant from The Robert and Toni Bader Charitable Foundation.
Join us at Signal-Return on Thursday, May 17, when we collaborate with AIGA Detroit to presentan opportunity for you to meet paper vendors, sign painters, neon sign-makers, screenprinters, letterpress printers…all the creatives you need to know about to help make your project a success!
Participating vendors include:
Ocelot Print Shop
Thomson Shore and Bessenberg Bindery
Steward & Stewart for Legion Paper
Writer, photographer and art critic Michael Hodges will celebrate his new book “Building the Modern World: Albert Kahn in Detroit” (Wayne State University Press) at Signal-Return on Thursday May 3, from 5 – 7:30 PM. Copies of the book will be available for purchase. Free and open to the public.
The Motor Signal Reading Series jolts the poetry reading out of its conventional form. Motor Signal invites local poets to read their work, but it goes beyond a typical poetry reading by involving the audience in an activity of literary co-creation. Our FIFTH season is here, Featuring Ben Alfaro and Megan Stockton.
Benjamin Alfaro is a writer, educator, and organizer from Michigan. He is a 2017 Kresge Arts Fellow and his poems have recently appeared or are forthcoming in TriQuarterly, Southern Indiana Review, deLuge Journal, Michigan Quarterly Review, Duende, and elsewhere. He has been featured on HBO, Yahoo!, VICE, and NPR. His work with InsideOut Literary Arts helped launch the Detroit Youth Poet Laureate program and Louder Than a Bomb: The Michigan Youth Poetry Festival. As an undergraduate student, he founded WayneSLAM on the campus of Wayne State University. He lives in Detroit.
Megan Stockton is a poet and publisher living in Detroit, Michigan. She is the editor of BathHouse Journal, and is a member of Problem Press, a collaborative writing and publishing project. Stockton's writing has appeared in Publication Studio, Monster House Press, BigBig Wednesday, The Stool, Bearings: Works About Boundaries, Hypocrite Reader, Flint Magazine, and A Plume Journal. She is currently working on her Master’s of Creative Writing at Eastern Michigan University.
The 2018 Season of Motor Signal is supported by a generous grant from The Robert and Toni Bader Charitable Foundation.
PRESSING ON: The Letterpress Film is about the renewed interested in letterpress printing. Come watch with us as the filmmakers and featured printers answer the question: why has letterpress survived in a digital age? Signal-Return is pleased to present this screening in partnership with AIGA Detroit, ArborOakland Group and The Printing Plant: The Printery of the Americas. Click here to watch the trailer and for more information about the film.
Free admission, RSVP required.
The Motor Signal Reading Series jolts the poetry reading out of its conventional form. Motor Signal invites local poets to read their work, but it goes beyond a typical poetry reading by involving the audience in an activity of literary co-creation. Kick off our FIFTH season of Motor Signal on March 28, Featuring Liana Aghajanian and Serena Maria Daniels!
Liana Aghajanian was raised in Los Angeles by way of Tehran after coming to the U.S. as a refugee. Liana is a journalist specializing in longform, narrative storytelling and international reporting. She is a 2017 Images of Voices & Hope Restorative Narrative Fellow, undertaking a project on the intersection of Native America sovereignty and science. She is also the 2015 winner of the Write A House residency, a program for writers in Detroit. Her reporting has appeared in the New York Times, The Guardian, BBC, Foreign Policy, Newsweek, Al Jazeera America, and other publications.
Serena Maria Daniels is the co-founder and editor of Tostada Magazine, an independent new media outlet that celebrates the rich culture of Metro Detroit’s food scene. Her food writing appears in NPR’s The Salt, Lucky Peach, Eater, Extra Crispy, the Metro Times and others. Her reporting on stories of global interest include coverage of the Flint water crisis, the Detroit bankruptcy, foreclosure epidemic, the Syrian refugee crisis, U.S. immigration policy, and the legacy of NAFTA. She is a 2017 Surdna Foundation-supported equitable cities reporting fellow for NextCity.org, a 2014 Ford Fellow at the International Center for Journalists and holds a bachelor’s in journalism from California State University, Northridge. Her favorite tacos come from back home in LA, she doesn’t believe in ketchup on hot dogs and prefers her pizza square.
Come celebrate our 6th anniversary at our annual fundraiser, in the studio, in the store and in the street! Join us in an action-packed celebration event with you-print holiday cards, typewriter gamers, and steam-roller printing. This year, we welcome Third Man Records s as party co-hosts, featuring live music, rolling record store and DJ booth, rare recordings, printed ephemera and other goodies. Also featuring Finnished Framing, refreshments by Cairo Coffee and Lake Brothers Beer. Signal-Return is a 501c3 nonprofit arts organization and all money raised go to support our innovative programming for the upcoming year.
Detroit Institute of Arts Lecture Hall
Mindell Dubansky is head of the Sherman Fairchild Center for Book Conservation at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, where she has worked as a conservator and Preservation Librarian for over 30 years, She is also a collector and is a long-time member of the Grolier Club. Dubansky has written extensively on the book arts, particularly in the areas of 19th century publisher’s bindings, hand papermaking, bookbinding and of course, the subject of this presentation, the history of book-shaped objects, or what she calls "blooks"
Blook-objects have a prominent place in this reinvention of the role of the book. All over the world, for hundreds of years, people have been making, collecting and presenting book-objects that reflect their devotion and respect for books and for each other. They have been treasured and passed down through the generations, and many thousands reside in private homes, public museums and libraries around the world. Blooks have been used to celebrate and memorialize important occasions and serve as reminders of memorable visits to important places, receptacles to hold valuable objects and are the source of great amusement.
Eastern Market After Dark returns as part of the seventh annual Detroit Design Festival on September 28th, 2017. Celebrate Detroit design as one of the nation’s oldest public farmers markets transforms into a creative district by night. We will be open along with more than 30 studios and galleries throughout the district. Sheds 2, 3, 4, and 5 will be open with interactive experiences, brand activations, designer spotlights, installations, and parties.
Danielle McGuire is an award-winning author and Associate Professor in the History Department at Wayne State University in Detroit, MI. She is the recipient of the 2011 Frederick Jackson Turner Award, the 2011 Lillian Smith Award.
Zilka has been nominated twice for a Pushcart prize and her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Poetry, Mantis, Kenyon Review Online, Quiddity, Review Americana, Gatronomica, Cutthroat, Rattle, The MacGuffin, The Paterson Literary Review, pacificREVIEW, Cheers To Muses: An Anthology of Contemporary Works by Asian American Women, and Uncommon Core: Poems for Living and Learning, a Neutral Zone Anthology.
Jack Cheng was born in Shanghai and grew up in Michigan. After spending nearly a decade in New York, working in advertising and tech, he now lives in Detroit. See You in the Cosmos is his first novel for young readers.
Maybe you’re like mirrors, and when you stand in front of someone you see a reflection of their reflection of your reflection of their reflection, all the way to infinity.
Deonte Osayande is a former track and field sprinter turned writer from Detroit, Mi. He writes nonfiction essays and his poems have been nominated for the Best of the Net Anthology, a Pushcart Prize and published in numerous publications. He has represented Detroit at multiple National Poetry Slam competitions. He's currently a professor of English at Wayne County Community College, and teaching youth through the Inside Out Detroit Literary Arts Program. His first full collection of poems entitled Class, is going to be out with Urban Farmhouse Press in 2017.
The Paranoia Says the Helicopter Searches For Me
as the announcement
of the training
exercise on campus
for the police force comes
into my classroom and I joke
about the threat, about
my blood pressure as if
there wasn't a shooting
at a community college
weeks before, as if I weren't
the same complexion as the targets
cops use at their shooting ranges.
Signal-Return is thrilled to announce that it is launching a new festival, “Power of the Press Fest,” thanks to support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation as part of their Knight Arts Challenge program. The Knight Arts Challenge funds the best ideas for engaging and enriching Detroit through the arts.
This collaborative and interactive festival of the printing, visual and literary arts will take place Thursday April 6- Sunday April 9, 2017 in Detroit’s Eastern Market and will celebrate the art of letterpress and the growing number of practitioners and aficionados in Detroit. The festival will kick off Thursday night at College for Creative Studies’ Woodward Lecture series with artist Lesley Dill. Friday night will see the opening of exhibitions in various venues around the city of Detroit, all celebrating our festival theme of Power of the Press. Saturday will be made up of opportunities for workshops at partner art studios and special visits to local arts institutions. On Sunday, Shed 5 of Detroit’s Eastern Market will be the site of a free, family friendly festival, with vendors, artist demonstrations and literary events.
For more information, or to learn about how you can get involved, check out our Power of the Press Fest website .
Editor of East Village Magazine in Flint. She has a MFA in creative writing from Warren Wilson College and poetry and personal essays are her favorite genres.
Tawana "Honeycomb" Petty is a mother, social justice organizer, youth advocate, poet, author and visionary educator. She was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan and is intricately involved in water rights, digital justice and visionary organizing work.
Nandi lives and works in Detroit. Her poems and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in To Light a Fire: 20 Years with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project, A Detroit Anthology, & Callaloo.
Rola Nashef is a screenwriter, director and producer. She uses her experience in the arts and involvement in Detroit’s diverse communities as a catalyst for creative expression and social movement.