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 recently done, but vaguely thought no, no, I’ll be printing of course. And I thought, I’d like to work with those forms in print. But can’t break the type. Cut the paper? I just really wanted to build, not break. [Read more…]
When it comes to publishing, I have only one criteria: I must love the poems.
No one recommended this rule, I haven’t read any books or blogs about how to make it in the publishing world, and I didn’t even write any lists or think twice. Like with all major life decisions (i.e. going to college, moving cross-country, getting married, becoming a parent, publishing a book…), I’ve always known that so long as I love something, I can make something beautiful from it. And things that are loved and beautiful are the most useful kind of things, so I’m sticking to my guns.
Today is three weeks until the official release of my newest publication, Passings, a book of poems about extinct birds by Holly J. Hughes. I know that by March 24th a real book will exist that I can sell and ship and share with people, but from where [Read more…]
“For the Thousandth Time, I want to Know” is a poem by Mark Nepo from his out-of-print book Inhabiting Wonder. I first imagined this piece nearly four years ago, and contacted Mark who generously gave me permission to reprint the poem. It was an ambitious project at the time, and I got about three-quarters of the way through before I abandoned ship. Over the course of a year I designed it, printed it, built all the frames, and scored each sheet by hand eight times and each hinge three times. Then I assembled the first full prototype and my morale plummeted. It just wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. A classic example of what Ira Glass is talking about in this genius little video on beginners, and making things. I let my perfectionist get the better of me and put the whole darn project up high on a shelf, leaving it there to lurk in the corner through three studio moves and countless other projects. [Read more…]
The steel book saga continues! We’ve arrived at the cover treatment, which consisted of etching the cover art into the steel and then applying a rusted patina. There’s plenty of info online about etching solutions for copper and zinc, but not so much for steel as it isn’t used in traditional printmaking. When researching less-toxic solutions I came across the Edinburgh Etch and the Saline Sulfate Etch (what we’re doing here). I was skeptical at best, and I had a hard time locating copper sulfate. Then one day [Read more…]
I first came across this binding structure in the Penland Book of Handmade Books with their showcase of Eileen Wallace’s work. I was immediately inspired by her metal books and the broad range of cover materials she incorporates so seamlessly. Years later when I received a commission for steel books I thought of Eileen’s work and knew it was possible. 18 months and many prototypes and doubt-filled days later, I came up with something that works. Quite well, in fact. This blog post outlines the process I used, and the photos are from the final working prototype.
But first I need to say a huge thank you to Eileen Wallace. After consulting [Read more…]
Riveting may seem an odd topic to file under bookbinding, but nevertheless it came up in a recent commission. I used copper rivets to attach the covers of an edition of metal books.
I didn’t know anything about riveting when I took on the metal book project. It turned out to be the best attachment solution, so I rolled up my sleeves and figured it out. Hopefully you get to the hands-on practice faster than I did! [Read more…]