The Labletter annual is rooted in the Oregon Lab, the name given to an annual (or near annual) gathering of artists who first met in 1994 at a ranch outside of Ashland, Oregon. Since then, the Lab has met in California, Maine, Georgia, Massachusetts, and Delaware. The vision of the Lab is to build a community of artists representing a variety of mediums where individual artists can learn, experiment, collaborate, and further their own work. People arrive prepared to lead a workshop, participate in workshops led by others, work on projects, and share some of what they do as artists.
First published in 1998 as a way of extending the Lab beyond the week when people were together, the inaugural edition of the Labletter was a collection of quotes, handwritten letters, samples of writing, and pages copied from outside sources submitted by people who had participated in the Lab. Over the next several years, the magazine would include poems, letters, excerpts from scripts, excerpts from novels in progress, stories, essays, photographs, paintings and prints, video shorts, music—all drawn from people who had participated in the Lab and people closely associated with them. Each year, about twenty-five copies of the magazine were produced.
This year, the decision was made to expand. A company was formed to publish the Labletter (Labletter LLC), and a goal was set to invite submissions from a larger group of people and distribute the magazine to a larger audience. In addition to the usual call for submissions, several people were invited to be either section editors or project editors.
Each section of this magazine represents the work of the editor who conceived the section and the contributors who contributed to it. The Gallery contains general submissions, or submissions solicited and received that fall outside the specific sections.
The magazine also includes an accompanying CD – Live: a collection of songs recorded at the Oregon Lab