Last weekend we, accompanied by Barbara Hodgson, delivered the completed sheets for The WunderCabinet to her Seattle-based collaborator Claudia Cohen, for binding. Not entirely by coincidence, this was the weekend of the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair. We took the opportunity to preview the book for a few bookseller friends who were in town for the fair. As was the case with Barbara & Claudia's previous collaborations, The Temperamental Rose and After Image, The WunderCabinet is almost impossible to explain or describe: it has to be seen to be believed.
The pages were printed at HM over a period of three months earlier this year (and before that, Reg Lissel spent a year making the 1,000 sheets of paper required for the project). Printing two-up, just black, we were able to work off about two sheets each week. Barbara then spent four months coloring, collaging, and assembling the various pages and associated items. While this was happening, Claudia began making the boxes that would hold the books, each copy accompanied by a unique assortment of curiosities - its own curiosity cabinet. The boxes use various wood veneers to create geometric patterns; the leather binding will likewise incorporate wood veneers and gilt tooling. The edition is just 30 copies, and the first ten will form a deluxe state, with a more elaborate binding (full leather with geometrical trompe l'oeil onlays) and a two-tiered box that includes a more extensive collection of objects.
Thanks to our friends at Vamp & Tramp, The WunderCabinet will be debuting at the Codex fair in Berkeley next February. All of our booksellers who have ordered a copy will receive it in for the ABA fair, which immediately follows Codex.
The opportunity to display the book (or at least, the finished sheets) last weekend let people fully appreciate how Barbara and Claudia have outdone themselves yet again. We are currently finalizing orders, and the edition is almost fully subscribed. Any interested collectors or institutions who have not already spoken to one of our regular booksellers about reserving a copy should do so soon.