Friday, August 1, 2014

Announcing a new publication: Pressed for Time

Pressed for Time is a descriptive bibliography of my work compiled by Nina Schneider to mark my twenty-fifth year of printing. It contains bibliographic descriptions of my published and commissioned books, broadsides, and ephemera; anecdotes about the making of the books; a section of four-color photographs of the books by Annie Schlechter; and essays by Mark Dimunation, Chief of the Special Collections Division at the Library of Congress, and Paul F. Gehl, Custodian of the Wing Foundation on the History of Printing at the Newberry Library. The book is profusely illustrated with original leaves from books; broadsides; type specimens; and marginal illustrations, including original drawings made in pencil, ink, gouache, and candle smoke. The large size of the book (16.5 x 11.5 inches) was determined so that it could accommodate untrimmed leaves from Æthelwold Etc, Specimens of Diverse Characters, and Interstices & Intersections.

Two editions will be published. One hundred copies are printed on Zerkall and French papers, and bound in cloth and patterned-paper with slipcase by Priscilla Spitler. Seventeen copies are printed on two different Twinrocker Handmade Papers, and bound in goatskin and patterned-paper by John DeMerritt. These seventeen are housed in a clamshell box containing a pull out drawer of extra ephemera. Both editions will be published at the end of September, with copies beginning to ship out toward the end of October.

Production is well underway, with Nancy Loeber and I dividing the printing between us. On a normal day, Nancy prints the large text pages while I work on the marginal illustrations. Below are some photos of the production.

Above: The binding dummy of the standard edition, showing the tipped-in bifolium from Interstices & Intersections and CODEX poster, as well as an assortment of sheets in progress.
Below: piles of ephemera for the deluxe edition.

The palette, above, for the ink draw-downs to accompany the description of the Æthelwold Etc color diary, and the process below.

To illustrate my book, Incidents, from 1996, each copy has a hand-printed piece of wood furniture pressed onto the paper below a print taken from the form-roller gear of my press.

To illustrate my series of books, Noise, from 1995-96, each copy has a unique print of hand-brayered ink over blind debossed type, outlined in pencil, in the style of Noise 3.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Interstices & Intersections at The Printing Museum

This past week Annie and I were in Houston to install and open my show, Interstices & Intersections or, An Autodidact Comprehends a Cube, at The Printing Museum. I have never been an enthusiastic exhibitor of my books. Books do not want to be locked in vitrines. Their ontological essence is narrative progression and, when frozen at a single spread in a display case, that essence is arrested and disrupted. So when The Printing Museum approached me with the idea of a show dedicated to the making of a single book, I was excited. The show allowed eight display cases that were assigned as such: one for the standard edition, one for the deluxe, five for in-depth displays of process, and one of various sketches, maps, and schedules produced during the making of the book. Photos are below. For information on the show or the museum, visit The Printing Museum website.

 Two copies of the standard edition.

  The deluxe edition with box, acrylic and watercolor paintings, and a photo of Daniel Kelm at work on the binding.

  Manuscript, watercolors, final prints, state proofs, and polymer plates for proposition xiii.17.

   Manuscript, watercolors, final prints, progressive and state proofs for the twelve color print for proposition viii.15.

 State and progressive proofs and color map for proposition xi.38.

Close up of final print and color map for proposition xi.38.

 Manuscript drawings and state proofs for proposition vi.30.

 Sketches, watercolors, maps, manuscripts, and schedules for Interstices & Intersections.

 Presenting the book to the Houston chapter of the AIGA.

Celebrating the show with, from left, Amanda Rohlich, Amanda Stevenson [behind] Max Koch, Penny Cerling, and Travis Smith. Annie Schlechter behind camera.

Friday, March 7, 2014

First copy of Interstices & Intersections in motion


The first copy of Interstices & Intersections arrived on Sunday from Daniel Kelm. We shot a short video of the book in motion. The cover materials are calfskin (blue) and Tim Barrett's UICB Paper Case (gray) with a white line printed letterpress. Below are two photos of the book standing still.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Interstices & Intersections: Printing Complete!

On Wednesday, February 6, I finished the last press run of Interstices & Intersections or, An Autodidact Comprehends a Cube. At final count, the book's thirty spreads required 225 press runs. During the last month of printing, my assistant Nancy began preparing any finished sheets for binding while I was chained to the press. The binding is a double sided leperello accordion structure that requires dry adhesive to be tacked onto the foredge of every sheet before the books can be assembled. This is an extremely laborious process and it would have delayed the binding by weeks if we had had to do it after all the printing was completed. Instead, by having Nancy prep the sheets while I finished the printing, we were able to collate the books the day after I completed the last press run. Nancy has now been joined by another helper, Katrina Kiapos, and they will spend the rest of the month finishing the prep work while I bask in a languorous state of unfettered leisure.

On Saturday, Annie & I drove the first batch of sheets up to Daniel Kelm's Wide Awake Garage bindery in Easthampton, Mass. After a tour of Daniel's chemistry book and apparatus collection, we were joined by his wife Greta. The four of us stopped by a local ice harvest before heading to lunch.

The finished book hung on the studio wall.

Collating the first twenty-six copies.

The oysters at Keen's Chophouse where Nancy, Annie & I had our Friday wrap party.

 Standing outside the Cottage Street studios, home of the Wide Awake Garage.

Daniel in his chemistry library.

 Havesting ice from the local pond above, tools for said harvesting below.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Interstices & Intersections: the last month of printing

I have now entered the last few weeks of printing on Interstices & Intersections. As I finish up the final thirty press runs, Nancy will begin preparing the sheets for delivery to bookbinder Daniel Kelm at the Wide Awake Garage. Daniel came down for a visit this past week to show samples of the custom dyed goatskin we ordered for the standard binding, and to choose the seven skins needed for the leather inlays in the deluxe binding.

 The book thus far hanging on the studio wall.

An assortment of mixed inks and dry pigments in the inking theater.

 A proof of the seven color illustration for proposition xi.38.

The illustration being editioned.

Painting the designs for the deluxe binding.

The finished binding designs. The color in the binding will be different but the shapes are accurate.

 Looking at the goatskin samples with Daniel Kelm.

Daniel instructing Nancy Loeber how to prepare the sheets for binding.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Interstices & Intersections: Cube Design for Euclid's Proposition viii.15

Last week I finally finished printing the twelve color design for proposition viii.15 from Interstices & Intersections. The print bleeds off three sides of the sheet and covers a total area of 11 x 13.5 inches. Ten of the plates register across the entire area, a fact that has been tormenting me since I first painted the design back in April. I have never tried to register two colors over so large an area, the thought of ten froze me in my tracks. I procrastinated for months before finally re-drawing the design in separation. Even then I tried to cut corners. In the lead up to printing I tried everything I could to find a more expedient approach to the printing, fooling myself for a couple of months that I would be able to get away with a mere six plates/colors. I would mix and remix colors but every proof looked flat and lifeless. When compared to the original painting the proofs were completely discouraging. My solution was to draw a series of pencil drawings that would be printed over the flat areas of color. I began by printing the outline in a purply black and the four principal flat colors in subtle tones of hand-ground inks: Venetian red, Bohemian green earth, yellow ochre, and burnt umber. I then printed the pencil drawings on top of these in darker inks of a slightly different hue. After these nine plates the white tops of the cubes took on an unsettling fluorescence which I toned down with a subtle cream, before filling in the center gray background with a warm putty overlaid with a bluish gray.

 The original watercolor painting.

 One of the six color proofs.

 The final twelve color print.

 A video of the state and progressive proofs leading to the final print.