From analog to digital and back again, laying out the linocut. I first read the poem “Sweet Darkness” by David Whyte on a Friday, at the end of one of the worst weeks of my life. Husband demanding separation, step daughter screaming, mother gone missing. With rain and wind and a million shouting voices of need all around, I got to those last three lines and the bottom fell out. It was a sucker punch to the gut, aimed straight at all the things I already knew and didn’t want to. anything or anyone that does not bring you alive is too small for you.”
Detail of metal type form from Broken Broadside 1. Words by Cedar Sigo. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about my voice as an artist and my role as a publisher: how they inform and whether they inhibit each other. I feel a strong insistence (born of insecurity?) that I should divide these actions and define them. You know, really nail down what it is I’m doing. Then I forget. I keep making things the way it naturally occurs to me, and I watch how these activities of artist and publisher weave together. The most recent overlap is a new series called “Broken Broadsides.”
Making notes on one of the many proofs for ‘prop cards’ I printed this week. People often gawk when I give a typesetting demo, sliding each metal letter one by one into the composing stick, tilted at an angle to keep them in line, upside down and backwards. It’s a perfectly natural process to me, and the less I think the quicker I can set. This is how I first learned to work with letterforms and practice typography, the arrangement of text on a page. It’s much more awkward for me to sit in front of a blank screen and try to conjure up a beautiful design amidst endless pixels.
A Specimen of Broken – limited edition artists book. Of 10 copies, 7 are available for sale. I spent the last two and half weeks printing up a storm in the Wells Book Arts Center, at Wells College in Aurora NY. I camped out in the new press room with five Vandercooks, reams of Mohawk Superfine, a 3lb can of black ink, and tunes, snacks, and a water bottle. On my cross country drive to New York, I thought a lot about partial/broken letterforms, watching paint peel away on many a weathered building across the western mountains and midwestern plains. Plenty of thinking time. No books, I decided. Too much work. I knew wanted to make things bigger, like the signs I’ve...