My internship at the WNY Book Arts Center is soon coming to a close, but it has been one of the best experiences I could have ever hoped to have during my time at Canisius. When I first walked in on my first day, I was nervous, unsure, yet excited at what would be to come, but also a little bit intimidated by the employees I would be working alongside, learning from their professional experience in the design field. Now, I can say without a doubt that my supervisor and the other employees have not only become valuable relationships and networks, but friends who remind me that they don’t want me to leave every time I head back to campus.
Over the past few months I have learned so much these people. Going into my internship here, I knew about letterpress printing, I had done it a few times before, but I didn’t fully understand the process or all the time-consuming work and planning that even goes into the design, since everything is done by hand instead of on computers. Not only did I learn all the aspects of this vintage printing, from the form, to the leading, to inking the printer, printing a proof, adjusting, and ultimately printing and then cleaning the oily ink off with tons of baby oil, but it helped to solidify and refine my skills like color composition, typography, and over design and aesthetics. One day I spent hours just printing paper bags to be used for the gift shop/boutique, but I was still in my glory, enjoying every minute of my time there. Creative freedom is encouraged and accepted more here than in stifled, however guidelines were given at times, which is also valuable to learn how to deal with restrictions.
Looking back at my goals for my internship, I have accomplished them and then some. I have been able to assimilate into the environment, gain knowledge about the operation, business and field in general, and my interpersonal skills have improved as I conversed with customers, volunteers, clients and the other employees. As I mentioned above, my design skills benefited from all that I learned, and I also have great portfolio pieces that are tangible and not digital, handmade by me, including a hardcover book, journals, cards and posters. Lastly, I have also gained a network of people to talk to as well, so I can reach out to others in the field as I look to enter the design field.
The best part about interning at WNYBAC besides working with wonderful people in a creative atmosphere, and being able to use amazing letterpress printing machines, is the fact that when I walk in I can see some of my work on display waiting to be purchased. Being able to contribute directly to this organization puts a smile on my face. Yet, they have contributed to my growing experience, skills and have provided me with such amazing opportunities that I wouldn’t trade for anything. I have definitely maximized my time here by learning as much as I can through performing tasks and asking questions, welcoming any workload, and honing in on my efficiency.