Finished printing the sheets for An Alphabetical Accumulation, no dramas. Now the sheets go off to Francesca to have the next letter added to each page, which will take at least a few weeks for the edition of 36 copies. I'll post some shots of her work when she gets into it.
Labels: An Alphabetical Accumulation
Back at the press this month, printing a calligraphic ABC by Seattle artist Francesca Lohmann. (She did the calligraphy for 2015’s Bromer bibliography, XI LXIVmos.) The inspiration for the book was a manuscript copy she created a few years ago (pages shown above). Titled An Alphabetical Accumulation, it presented 26 rectos, each adding the next letter of the alphabet, call done in red ink on a very thin, blue-tinged J. Whatman handmade paper. When I first saw it, the potential to make it a printed book was obvious: I would print (in black) the previous page’s accumulation, and Francesca could add the new letter to each page (in red) by hand, thus presenting the complete alphabet done by hand in each copy.
While we kept the basic size (approx. 4 by 6 inches, 28 printed rectos) and format, Francesca decided to redo all of the calligraphy for this edition. The presentation for each page changes to best present the letters included, and allow space for the letter to be added by hand. The book is entirely calligraphic - there is no type used. The reproductions of her calligraphy are done with polymer plates, printed on three different papers - T.H. Saunders, J. Whatman, and Crown & Sceptre - all printed damp.
The pictures above and below are proof sheets. I like overprinting different pages on the same sheet, a different kind of accumulation.
Printing will be completed within the week, and then Francesca will begin adding the calligraphy. The edition is 36 copies, so it will take her a while. Once that work is completed, the sheets will go to Claudia Cohen for binding. She is still pondering options, but we expect it to be a vellum structure of some sort.
With all the work still to be done after printing is completed, we don’t expect to have copies ready for issue before the end of the year - just in time for Christmas!
Folding Paper Update
An incomplete copy was assembled in time for display at the Codex book fair, in February, thanks to our friends Vamp & Tramp. I wasn’t there but I heard it received an enthusiastic response, which is partially responsible for it now being fully subscribed. We expect to ship copies in early summer.
HM isn't at Codex this year, but an almost-complete test binding of the new book from Barbara Hodgson & Claudia Cohen is; drop by Vamp & Tramp's table at the fair to see Folding Paper: Technique, Design, Obsession.
Check out HM's facebook page for a short video.
The book is the latest in their ongoing exploration of art forms related to paper. Similar to Cutting Paper in format and approach, the new book explores the art of folded paper, and presents a collection of samples on the pages and laid into the accompanying box. Brief essays discuss folding techniques, the process of creating illustrated pieces, and paper choices. Interspersed will be over 150 tipped-in examples from pleating, education, computational geometry, toy making, origami and packaging (some examples will be presented shown in progress, as well as finished pieces, in a variety of papers).
The book's prospectus alone is a work of art & engineering, and an example of the obsessive attention to detail throughout the book. Inside a "self-folding" wrap (some of which are made with waste sheets from old HM projects)...
...is a folded, printed sheet bearing the book's title...
...which opens, following an intricate series of folds, to reveal the book's production details...
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the piece - which illustrates part of the craft & ingenuity required for the art form - is how easily the sheet & wrap want to resume their folded state. A few dozen copies have been prepared, for customers & friends of the studio (i.e. if you ask for one, we probably won't have any left).
Folding Paper (9.5 x 12.5 in., 80 pp.) was designed and set in Monotype Fournier by Barbara. It has been printed on 200 g Arches Wove by David Clifford at Black Stone Press. (For technical reasons, the title page - which will itself be a piece of folded art - was printed at HM on the handpress.) Copies will be uniformly bound by Claudia, with an accompanying two-piece box. The box that will also contain about 15 three-dimensional pieces (shown above) and a separate Zhen Xian Bao (a magical Chinese thread box). All of the pieces will be created specifically for the book. The edition will be 30 numbered copies, signed by both contributors, plus six A.P. copies.
As with all HM publications, copies are available only through our regular booksellers (listed at right). If you would like more details, or want to reserve a copy, please contact one of them. Publication is planned for summer 2017.
We’re going to maintain the momentum (finally!) achieved in 2016 through the New Year, with three major publications for 2017.
Francesca Lohmann’s calligraphic ABC book, An Accumulated Alphabet. This was originally created in 2014 as three manuscript copies. Over 26 leaves (rectos only) Francesca renders the alphabet, nestled among leafy vines, each page adding the next letter to the sequence. For HM’s printed edition, the previous page will be printed (in black) from polymer plates, and the new letter will be added (in red) by Francesca. Thus, each copy will contain, over 26 leaves, a complete calligraphic alphabet. The title page and colophon will also feature her original embellishments.
The first book that will be issued in 2017, by HM Editions, is the latest collaboration between Barbara Hodgson and Claudia Cohen: Folding Paper: Technique, Design, Obsession. In a similar manner and format as Cutting Paper, the book explores the art of folded paper, and presents a collection of samples on the pages and laid into the accompanying box. Brief essays discuss approaches to folding techniques, the process of creating illustrated pieces, and paper choices. Interspersed will be over 150 tipped-in examples from pleating, education, computational geometry, toy making, origami and packaging (some examples will be presented shown in progress, as well as finished pieces, in a variety of papers).
Folding Paper (9.5 x 12.5 in., 80 pp.) was designed and set in Monotype Fournier by Barbara. It has been printed on 200 g Arches Wove by David Clifford at Black Stone Press. (For technical reasons, the title page - which will itself be a piece of folded art - was printed at HM on the handpress.) Copies will be uniformly bound by Claudia, with an accompanying two-piece box. The box that will also contain about 15 three-dimensional pieces and a separate Zhen Xian Bao (a magical Chinese thread box). All of the pieces will be created specifically for the book. The edition will be 30 numbered copies, signed by both contributors, plus six A.P. copies. Publication is planned for late spring/early summer.
The long-promised book featuring original leaves from George Wither’s Collection of Emblemes Ancient & Moderne (England, 1635) is finally going to hit the press. Details are still being finalized, but at this point we can report that the book will be approximately 8 x 12 inches, 50 pages (plus sample leaves), issued in two states from a total edition of 66 copies.
This is the start of the new publishing schedule, so this is it until he start of February, at which time I'll be posting more images & details about Folding Paper. Please note that if you have any interest in that book, contact one of the booksellers listed to the left for details and discuss reserving a copy.
I’ve decided that starting in 2017 this blog will be updated monthly, at the start of each month (unless there's something that just can't wait). It’s takes too much time to come up with something each week, and that's time needed elsewhere (lots of projects planned for ’17!). Plus, the Internet has become unbearably toxic: I have resolved to visit it as infrequently as possible.
To wind up 2016, I thought I’d mention a few books that have made the year interesting. These are not necessarily new books, just new to me.
Dewi Lewis published (in 2015, I think) a beautiful collection of Nigel Grierson’s photographs. Signed copies were available from the publisher earlier this year; not sure about now. Fans of the 4AD label will recognize Grierson’s work. I hadn’t appreciated how much of Vaughan Oliver’s work was a collaboration with Grierson. Stunning images, most of them primarily abstract and textural, in a well-produced book.
Barbara Hodgson’s Mrs Delany Meets Herr Haeckel was a joy to print & publish. Smaller in scale and more intimate than her expansive collaborations with Claudia, she managed to conceive of & produce a book that simultaneously feels antiquarian and modern. Kool.
The emblem books of Gabriel Rollenhagen, with stunning engravings by Crispin de Passe, for reasons that will be explained early in the New Year.
The Universal History From the Earliest Account of Time, to the Present… (1744), part two of the seventh volume only; because it was found in a jumble of (much newer) books, in a full calf binding that had been expertly rebacked, and because the quality of the paper and printing was a salve to the atrocious printing and mediocre paper from a 17th century English book I’ve been spending some time with. Again, more details to follow. While this volume of The Universal History covers just a slice of the overall topic, and the middle third is an index, the final third is an abbreviated chronology of the world from Adam & Eve to Mahommed’s capture of Trabezond (1642).
David Sylvian’s opus Hypergraphia, for all the reasons previously mentioned.
A few other creatively-inspiring things from the year: Rag & Bone shirts, John Varvatos boots & jackets, Tomas Weiss’ el culto label, Pheonix York’s debut album & loscil's latest, Agave (handmade) jeans, and every year, Lamy pens & pencils. Pax omnis.
...appeared on the wall beside my bed last week.
David Sylvian kindly posted a note about Aurora Teardrops on his Facebook page last week, which prompted some action. Just to clarify/confirm: some copies a still available from Books Tell You Why and Vamp & Tramp, though not many. Probably better to go directly to their sites than work through something like Abebooks.
A copy of a great Allen Press (leaf) book is listed kinda cheap on ebay right now: The Great Polyglot Bibles Including A Leaf From The Complutensian Of Alcalá, 1514-17. Beautifully printed on a handpress (the book & the original leaf!) etc etc. Listed here for probably less than half the usual price, probably because the box looks like it has a few marks etc. But that's what boxes are for! This isn't something I have an interest in, other than aesthetic. (I already have a copy or I wouldn't be telling you about this one.) If you'd rather have the whole thing instead of just a page, here's a facsimile set (check out the raised bands on the deluxe binding - yikes!)...
Apologia (sort of)...
I scorned the recently published Godfather diary in the last post, especially the paperback version. I have since seen a copy, and must dial back my scorn - not fully, but some. It's not really a paperback: it's sewn and put into a case of laminated flexible boards. It still probably isn't skookum enough for the text block's weight, but it's not a "paperback." So all comments about the publisher still stand.
Continuing our examination of contemporary limited edition books from trade publishers, an example each of how to & how not to...
I recently found a copy of this catalogue of books published by the Kaldewey Press. Very attractive book, well designed & printed in Germany, bound in flexible boards. I confess to not having ever heard of Gunnar Kaldewey or his press, which is based in New York, and it's re-assuring to know there are still surprises out there for me in the world of contemporary presses. One reason I may not have known of his work is because it's more on the artist's book side of the spectrum, where I don't generally travel. A big part of my lack of interest for the over-there is that, too often the phrase "artist's book" is used as an excuse for a lack of understanding and poor execution. This is not the case with Kaldewey: the creativity and artistry are based on a strong technical foundation, and an appreciation for materials and how to work with them. But to the point: this is how you complement a trade edition with a limited version. (No copies can be found listed online.)
Next we have the how-not: heard an interview with Francis Ford Coppola on Fresh Air over the weekend. A (sort-of) facsimile of the bible (my word) he assembled while planning and shooting The Godfather has been published. I wondered if there was a limited edition - seems a likely candidate - so I searched. Sure enough, there is.
First off, the trade edition - which is almost 800 pages - is being issued only in paperback. That's ridiculous, especially for the page count. But what really makes this a head slapper is that the limited edition is "a faithful reproduction of Coppola’s three-ring binder..." This is a rare example of a publisher finding an even cheaper, shittier way to "bind" an edition than the paperback! Do you remember from high school what three-ring binders do to sheets? They get caught on the rings & torn up! Another warning sign that a publisher really doesn't know what they're doing is the complete lack of descriptive production details about the limited edition, starting with the number of copies.