Last week I visited Les Baux-de-Provence and finally made face to face contact with the Fondation Louis Jou along with the Bibliothèque nationale de France to begin a relationship with both organizations for when I will eventually live here on a part time basis with my partner Madeleine Hill Vedel at her home in Avignon just 40 minutes away. Covid had delayed the trip a couple years but now we are back on track. The initial visit was wonderful giving me a chance to assess the current condition of the three hand presses on location and to visit with Atelier du Livre François and Marie Vinourd – book and paper conservators, across the lane.
This weekend and through next week I’ve been invited to stay with Jean-Louis Estève at his home and workshop in the Les Gorges du Verdon region and then we will make our way back to Les Baux where a wood engraving workshop will be given (hopefully I will be doing intaglio if a spare plate is to be found) where we will stay on premise and, with luck, do some initial basic repairs that are needed on the large Stanhope press that Louis Jou printed a majority of his wondrous books on until 1967.
I’m currently moving about Provence until November 7th. I still receive email but my phone is non-functional here until my return and I neglected to update my voicemail before leaving. Apologies to anyone who has tried to contact me for any urgent matter.
Upon my return to the comparably frigid Northern Michigan I will be right back at finishing the backlog of deluxe and presentation bindings that are lingering on the bench, continue layouts for The Machine Stops with James and interviewing a couple of potential apprentices for the 2022-23 season. Thank you to those who have been patiently waiting for your books, it was not my intention to leave you in expectation for so long.
Since the completion of the standard edition of The Wind in the Willows I’ve been busy in the bindery working on the 10 deluxe copies of the book. There are an additional 9 books queued up for presentation bindings to fill orders placed in the past few months for my past books including The Intruder, In the Penal Colony, and The Mad Angler Poems so those will make reappearances here in the future in their new clothing as well. I seem to be more a binder than a printer these days….
I am usually loathe to share images of unfinished work and only a couple of these are even close to completion so apologies for the less than stellar images taken with my phone on the bench with plenty of glare. Quite a bit of leather onlay and underlay work, tooling, bits of foil and great fun refining binding structures. I stocked a fair amount of new leathers for this endeavor in both goat and calf as well as a few fair skins that I’ve dyed to suit my needs. These will all be in solander boxes when completed and accompanied by a suite of the 12 full size illustrations from the book.
This Friday I’m off to CODEX in Berkeley, CA for yet another gathering of fine press makers and book artists from around the globe. I’m excited to see everyone again and have volunteered to help Peter and Susan with all the gory details of show set-up, shopping and general flunky. That’s what friends do!
Visit me at Table 56 to see the new work and catch up.
Upon returning from California I’ve a few days to repack for the Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair on Saturday, April 23rd from 10am – 5pm. The last “in-person” fair I did was Manhattan 2 years ago just as Covid was hitting the USA. I managed to escape back to Michigan unscathed (though quite a few friends were not so lucky) where I have been practicing social distancing and isolation for 30 years now here at DWP.
Winter was lacking in many ways here on the Michigan 45th parallel, bitter cold prevailed but not the kind of snowfall we have historically enjoyed, so cross country skijoring with the dog was a limited activity which is one of the things that keeps me sane during our long winters. Life was interrupted by a power outage during the holidays, I was out for 5 days but the worst part was when power was restored it dumped high voltage through all the buildings and AirBnB rental taking out the furnace controller, refrigerator, ceiling fans, gfci outlets, audio gear and all kinds of other little things that sometimes take weeks to discover. Needless to say, this took priority for a while along with all the fun of dealing with insurance, ordering and installing replacement items.
There is still snow outside as I type this though spring is around the corner. There are geese and ducks on the river verbally making themselves known to potential mates. Coyotes, fox and bobcats are on the prowl and the otters and beavers are enjoying their icy slides. On a sunny day last week I say my first turtle that had emerged from the winter muck to sun himself on a log. A few early hatches that the trout have ignored and when I return from New York trout season opener will have already happened here in Michigan on the 24th. Don’t worry, I’ll keep focusing in the bindery. Mostly. You know I’m looking forward to printing The Machine Stops this fall and the drawings we’re getting from Marc Castelli will blow your minds.
I am very pleased to present the completed standard edition of The Wind in the Willows. It has been a long journey from inception, design, editing all the way through to printing and binding here at Deep Wood Press. I do everything “in house” and transforming the piles of paper, board, leather and cloth into books is always magic for me: True alchemy, turning lead to gold.
In my previous blog entry I was waiting on materials for the cover image hoping to use calf vellum, but in my tests the skin would not cooperate and I was unhappy with the results. I finally decided to acquire a couple natural fair goat skins and dyed them to the shade I wanted, which all took a little extra time but I am finally pleased with the results.
Once again the specifications: 75 standard edition copies of the book are quarter bound, rounded and backed, in a very dark moss green Natural Goat from Siegel Leather with a cinnamon cotton book cloth. The endpapers are a printed pattern on mocha Hahnemühle Bugra with a cloth inner hinge. The title is gilt in foil on the spine in copper and silver and the debossed panel on the front cover features Rat & Mole in a crossed oar emblem foiled in dull copper on grey-dyed goat. The text is set in 14pt Centaur with Arrighi and printed on custom-made, cotton rag paper from Papeterie Saint-Armand developed especially for this book. Interwoven throughout the book are thirteen multi-color and nine 2 color linocut illustrations by Vladimir Zimakov, with an introduction from Peter Hunt. All this in large format folio size; 148 pages, 10.25 x 14″ (26×35.5 cm). $2000.00
There are also 4 copies of the book left in sheets for purchase by other binders. Please inquire.
Initially the book was not specified to include a slipcase but given the number of people desiring such an enclosure (and I don’t blame you) I have materials on hand to produce slipcases to order in full black cloth for an additional $65. Please make a note on your order if you desire this to be added to your final purchase.