Fine Bindings for CODEX and other news!

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It’s been a busy few weeks getting ready and I’ll be heading to Berkeley starting this Friday to once again attend Codex – CODEX VII Nordica – what is now the biggest fine press fair in the world. Come see me at table #159 about 2/3 of the way to the back on a corner along the left side of the aisle, you can’t miss me. For this big show I’ve prepared a couple presentation bindings of my latest book, a new translation of Franz Kafka’s In the Penal Colony as well as some of my earlier book editions. One of them may be spoken for already and I’m down to my last few copies of this book.

And another one in a similar motif – I’ve been using a printed sheet for the endpapers that evokes a topographic map as the Penal Colony takes place on an island so decided to continue that on these covers. Both have Hewit spines and dark blue Harmatan goat on the covers that has been extensively blind tooled, both have various onlays of other leather bits are complete in a drop spine box with spine label. Actually, I’m still working on these a bit, fiddly bits….

The Wind in the Willows — Kenneth Grahame

I will also have with me a prototype page layout for The Wind in the Willows to accompany the first illustration we’ve (Mad Parrot Press) commissioned from Vladimir Zimakov. Conveniently, Vladimir has a table right next to me so we can answer questions and take in the love that surrounds this wondrous book. I’ve gotten more inquiries about this book already than any other ever except maybe the long gone Heart of Darkness and it’s great to share the excitement with people. Here is Pan as found by Rat and Mole during their search for Otter’s poor lost boy Portly from the chapter “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn”. In the book it’ll match the text block size and be a generous three color plate of 8 x 9.25 inches – we hope to have at least ten more of these from Vladimir for the book!

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Apologies for the less than ideal photos. There hasn’t been much sunlight here in Northern Michigan these last couple weeks. Plenty of five degree days plunging to -20 at night and an abundance of snow approaching three feet now. It’ll be good to go to California, I’ll take 60 degrees and rain about now no problem even if I have to dig myself into my house and studio when I return.

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Our poor snowmen are now “at one” with their world….

Heading to Codex soon

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A new year is upon us and so much has been going on here at DWP. Currently I am preparing for CODEX which is upcoming soon in Berkeley, CA – a global gathering of the book arts that happens every two years. Life has been busy in the studio since my return from Oak Knoll, mostly binding the last of the edition of Kafka’s In the Penal Colony of which I have saved a couple of copies to take to California. Some of you may have noticed that it never even made it to my very neglected website, it’ll get there but most all of my copies have been sold.

Right now I’ve just finished a broadside project titled “One River” with David James Duncan which is part of EXTRACTION, Art on the Edge of the Abyss – Words on the Edge: A Portfolio of Fine Printed Broadsides. Twenty six fine presses from around the world were paired with twenty six authors including Margaret Atwood, Terry Tempest Williams, Gary Snyder, Barry Lopez, Jane Hirshfield, Arthur Sze, Jan Zwicky, Kay Ryan, Eliza Griswold, Wendell Berry, Edwin Dobb, Natalie Diaz, Robert Bringhurst, William Kittredge and more. I got lucky with David – we’re both lovers of trout angry at the world of man.

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The big composing stick was called into service, that’s 18pt Garamond set into the two main paragraphs in a 92 pica measure and 14pt for the bottom comment. Illustrated with one of my wood engravings (on resingrave as seen in the full type case pic) in an edition of 100 on Somerset Book white. Details of the project here.

Progress is also being made on my other Kafka project now long in the tooth – The Hunter Gracchus. I was hoping to have it done for Codex but alas, it isn’t going to happen. There will be a return to a flurry of activity with it upon my return home though and will likely be complete in May of this year.

On the good news front we’ve gotten the go ahead to resume work on E.M. Forster’s The Machine Stops! Never an end to the madness but Mad Parrot Press is up to the task. We’re a bit overwhelmed with The Wind in the Willows at the moment but we’re on it!

Finally, and sadly, I want to put this out there: In the past 2 years I have sold 3 books to Columbia University in New York in two separate transactions. On both occasions the books were “lost” somewhere between the mail room and special collections. Apparently, I have no recourse, USPS delivery confirmation is not enough and there is only so much looking or communication that is ever going to happen. I am without payment for close to $3000 collectively and $2000 just recently which is a lot of money for a single father paying a mortgage, supporting a studio and 2 kids – this IS my day job. A lot of money around the holidays and makes it considerably harder to travel across the country to Codex. Do not ship anything without a signature required on delivery is the hard lesson I’ve learned and I’m passing it along. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me….

Totally open to some legal advice here. What do you think?

The Wind in the Willows – onto the next book already!

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I spent a couple days before and after Oak Knoll Fest with my partner James Dissette in Mad Parrot Press (formerly Chester River Press) brainstorming our next projects and making plans. I’ll keep you all updated as things move forward with The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame but we have established size, layout and many other aspects of the book.

We settled on typesetting the book in 14pt Centaur and Arrighi – finally a good excuse to use these exquisite typefaces which we have both admired for years but never quite had the right project for. David Carruthers of Papeterie Saint-Armand in Montreal will be making our custom stock and will most likely be making all of my paper for Deep Wood Press from here forward. Vladimir Zimakov is already onboard illustrating with his glorious linocuts and we will have a couple page spreads to show off in February, 2019 during the CODEX show in Berkeley. This will be a big book, a page size of 11.25 x 14″ (28.5 x 35.5cm) is planned and preliminary layout puts the book at around 116 pages not including front or back matter. Edition size will likely be around 60-70 books.

We’re still toying with the idea of having some sort of introduction at the foreword of the book but, really, who needs introduction to such a classic tale? Still, J.K. Rowling, if you’re reading this – we’d love to work with you!

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We’ve also decided to move forward with The Machine Stops by E. M. Forster but that book will now come after we complete work on The Wind in the Willows.

I will have my other Kafka project, The Hunter Gracchus, completed for CODEX as well but I will save those details for a future post.

Back to the bindery — I’ve orders to fill!