Printed the colophon for Metal Type. Set it in Gill Sans, simply because it hadn't been used anywhere else and we have some the right size (12 pt). Used De Roos italic to press-number the edition. The text for the Deluxe copies is slightly different than the text for the Press copies. Also printed the publisher's and binder's names for their (hors de commerce) copies.
Should be getting the patterned paper for covering the cases this week. Playing with ideas for a printed dust jacket too. People don't play with dust jackets enough.
The screen-printed jacket for Girl With the Mask of a Crow, and the (massive) etched jacket for Iskandariya were brilliant (and both entirely the work of the artist, so we're not boasting).
The term "artist['s] book" has come up several times recently in reference to HM publications. One instance was a course at Smith College in which The WunderCabinet was one of several books examined by students for "how they either align or go against [Janet?] Zweig and [Joanna] Drucker’s criteria" for what constitutes an artist's book. The term could be applied to any & all of the images shown on this post. How could a phrase that sounds so benign have become be so treacherous?
Let's start by acknowledging that it's always nice to to be included in a discussion like this. Thanks. It might, however, be interesting for the participants to know that neither Barbara nor Claudia would ever call The WunderCabinet - or any of their books - an artist's book. (To begin with, it would have to be an artists' book. This lack of clarity around the apostrophe's place in the term is the first sign that a dark, bottomless pit lies ahead.)
At least one of the Smith essays used the terms livres d'artiste and artist books interchangably (the kid actually wrote "livres d'artiste books"), which Drucker & Zweig probably would be the first to correct. The terms might be analogous, but they're definitely not synonymous. HM would (proudly) admit to some kinship with the French tradition of éditions de luxe in the early part of the last century, if only for attention to production and materials. But never artist books.
A lot of writing has been done about artist books, especially what they are, almost as if they were more thought experiment than actual book. There is an interesting blog by a prof at U Dub (what they call the University of Washington) focusing on applications of digital & social media. This page on a Matisse site has images & info about books created by an artist who had a understanding of & appreciation for the form. And here's an interesting article about the spectrum covered by using the word "artist" as an adjective modifying "book."
In the Smith postings, it was heartening to see several of the students call BS on the whole "what is an artist's book" distraction; here's one and here's another one. Just to put it on the record, HM does not publish artist/artist's/artists' books. We simply publish books. The only adjectives we acknowledge are "good" (aspirationally) and "elusive" (practically). The book is already one of the koolest, endlessly versatile & practical things ever invented. We're happy to do our best to continue the tradition; we don't need to try to make the book something other than it is.
"Healthy people wear pleasant colors." That wasn't covered in Occupied By Colour. Brown definitely does not qualify, and that includes shoes.
There's some rule prohibiting posting on Thanksgiving, so up it goes today. Speaking of the colo[u]r series, David Clifford is gearing up to start printing the last instalment, Around the World in Colour. It might even be completed before the Xmas break, but that still leaves a few months of fabulizing by Barbara & Claudia before it gets issued; late spring '14, as promised. And before David dives into that, he has to print the patterned paper that will be used for the case bindings of Metal Types. That'll happen next week. The last two sheets will be printed by Monday's post. Back to it.
This'll be another quick one: have to get printing. Finally seeing some light through the trees: settled on a title for the new book, if only because everything but the title page & introduction are printed. Tried something for the intro this weekend: spent Saturday setting a spread, Sunday proofing & doing makeready. Then binned it all: not at all right (visually) for what follows.
So, faced with a ticking clock, a new scheme was hatched, one that resolved how to handle both the title (what it is, not how it's set on the page) and the introduction (content & layout). A minimalist scheme. During every attempted solution for this preliminary section, cutting it down to the most basic, fundamental information was in the back of the mind, yet things kept getting busy. Anyway, the paper from yesterday (Reg Lissel's HM Text is used for the 8-page preliminary section) is still damp and must be worked off today, both sides, so pressing on (ha!).
For short, let's just call the book Metal Type. That's what will be printed on the first page in the book (note we don't say "title page").
The book (7 x 10 inches, 40 pp.) is printed on nine different hand- and mouldmade papers. It will be published in an edition of 35 numbered copies, issued in two versions.
Deluxe Issue: Copies 1-15 will include two additional sections [16 pp]. The first will present four uncommon foundry types (Anker Romanisch, Carolus, Gallia & Kabel) in display sizes, borrowed from the collections of several friends, each printed in two colors on Barcham Green handmade paper. The second extra section will present titling (i.e. large) fonts of eight faces already shown in the book, printed on Barcham Green & Roma papers. (Close readers may find one or two other additions...) These copies will be bound in full vellum (a structure similar to the one she used for HM's Iskandariya, below) with gilt embellishments by Claudia Cohen, presented in a cloth traycase.
At this time, all of the deluxe copies are reserved for HM's regular distributors, as is a significant portion of the press copies. For anyone from outside the trade who is interest in securing a copy, the surest way is to contact one of our booksellers (listed at right).
Some of the Press copies will be issued before the end of the year. The rest, and all of the Deluxe ones, will be issued in early 2014.
Gotta get to work...
Didn't post yesterday because we're busy printing some pages for the deluxe copies of the type book. Closer & closer. Also finalizing plans for the printed paper to cover the boards of the press issue; it'll feature a pattern created by friend & kool artist Dana Cromie. The paper will also be used to line the boxes for the deluxe copies. Not posting it here; you'll have to wait & see it in person.
Title of the book remains elusive. Less is always more: am now trending toward simply calling it METAL.
How about some holiday shopping tips today...
Henry Morris's Omnibus. Copies seem inexplicably plentiful & thus ununreasonably cheap. Abebooks it. Great book, printing by him on his handmade paper. Lots of practical information about printing.
Harry Duncan's Doors of Perception, the limited edition printed by Carol Blinn & published by W. Thomas Taylor. Beautifully printed & bound, an excellent collection of essays about printing, with particular focus on the use of the handpress. Taylor also issued a paperback version; same content. But the limited edition is, like Omnibus, a very good buy (probably below issue price) right now.
Porter Garnett's Philosophical Writings on the Ideal Book, a collection of pre-WW2 essays from the man who started the Laboratory Press, and also some by other well-known names of that period. Great book, ridiculously cheap. For that matter, many of the Laboratory Press publications can also be found at friendly prices.
Odds & ends to start the week. That's another shot of Claudia Cohen's binding for the deluxe issue of Paper Should Not Always Be White above. One aspect of the binding she was particularly pleased with was using very thin boards (without any warping), making the small 8vo-sized book feel light & comfortable in the hands. Below are the three tooling variations used.
One of our stringers sent this link for a film by David Lynch, a short documentary about a proper lithography studio in Paris.
Speaking of Lynch, we got a copy of his album Good Day Today in the "limited edition" version designed by Vaughan Oliver. Here's an interview with Oliver about working on the project.
Speaking of Oliver, Facing The Other Way, the 4AD history we mentioned last summer, has been released. The 1,000-copy deluxe version - issued in two volumes, which seems a good idea since it apparently is over 800 pages - is supposed to be shipping by the end of this month. So we'll hopefully have our copy under the tree for Xmas. The second consecutive Oliver-related Xmas!
Speaking of Xmas and 4AD, put this joyous sound in your ears, and then this, when you can no longer stand the few dozen marketing-approved tunes we'll suffer through ad nauseum during the next six weeks. And then get this free app, organize a few neighbors on a snowy evening, and do something that's as close to spiritual as a secular humanist can get. Then go home & watch Eraserhead on Xmas Eve.
How's that for a mouthful of busted chiclets? Oddly, it takes more time to set & lock-up a disaster like this than setting it properly. Part of the genius of movable type: it resists being used improperly. But we showed this Garamont who's boss.
All in aid of the new book, which has (yet another) new tentative title: Improvised Impressions. The title reflects the process that came to be used for displaying each face in the book: While there was some general design conceived in advance for each page, the details were worked out on the bed of the press, as the type was set. Where books typically are exhaustively planned in advance, the complete lack of continuity in content or form from page to page in this collection of types allowed (& often required, due to a shortage or complete absence of one letter or another) an improvisational approach. Intuition was the guiding principle. Each page was created in the moment, each step and decision a response to the one preceding it, working within the constraints of the page and what was available in (& lacking from) any given drawer of type. The entire undertaking is underscored by an impish attitude toward the types on display: respect, but not reverence. Improvising is an act of the moment; the printed pages in this book are permanent records of the improvisations.
Down to the last few sheets now: the foreword, title page & colophon. The edition will be 35 copies, with the first 15 being a deluxe issue. These will be bound in full vellum by Claudia Cohen, and contain two additional sections (16 pp.), per the last post here. As the image above suggests, the second of those sections gets a bit unruly.
Speaking of Claudia, did you know there actually are three variations to the deluxe binding for Paper Should Not Always Be White? She came up with three designs for tooling the front board & we couldn't pick a favorite, so she did all three. Two of them are shown above. There's no priority or preference (except one's own). We'll post some more images of the deluxe binding next week.