Printing Leafy Letters

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.