Looking forward towards 2018

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Here we are, a new year. I’ve been remiss updating this blog but I’ve not been fully idle in my absence so allow me to update you to some of the exciting projects underway here at Deep Wood.

Franz Kafka  —  In the Penal Colony

I will not attempt to summarize In the Penal Colony, it’s a brilliant and important part of Kafka’s canon. But if you are curious here’s a wikipedia link.

I am pleased to present this new previously unpublished translation by the acclaimed Breon Mitchell which will be lavishly illustrated with six etchings by Dellas Henke. This very limited edition is set at 30 copies  divided between Dellas, Breon and myself and will be sold in sheets primarily. I will bind my third of the edition and also produce some presentation bindings.

Dellas has been working on editioning the intaglio prints and is closing in on his end of the project while the rest of the paper lies here at the press waiting as I fuss with last minute layout adjustments.

The book is large a format 10×13 inch (25×33 cm) page size with the text being composed in Janson and printed on Somerset Book White, 175gsm. The intaglio illustrations are “bled print” to the edges. 40 pages. $1000.00 unbound. Advanced inquiries and sales may be made.

Here are some of the image proofs from Dellas, 10×13″ sheets. It should be noted that these are proofs – works in progress – and also were not printed on Somerset stock.

Breon Mitchell has translated major works by Günter Grass, Heinrich Böll, Siegfried Lenz and other leading German authors.  His retranslation of Kafka’s Trial received a special commendation from the American Translators Association. His other awards include the ATA’s Ungar Prize , the ALTA Translation Prize, the Kurt and Helen Wolff Prize,  the MLA’s Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize, and the British Society of Authors’ Schlegel-Tieck Prize. He is Director Emeritus of the Lilly Library and Professor Emeritus of Germanic Studies and Comparative Literature at Indiana University, Bloomington.

Dellas Henke learned printmaking a S.U.N.Y. Brockport from Robert Marx. It was there that he saw his first artist’s books- collaborations Marx had made with the activist priests the Barrigan brothers. Henke continued his education at the University of Iowa where he worked with printmakers Mauricio Lasansky and Keith Achepohl and had the remarkable opportunity to learn about letterpress printing from KK Merker and Kay Amert. It was in Iowa that Henke first illustrated with etchings Samuel Beckett’s, “Waiting for Godot” – an edition sanctioned and signed by Beckett. Over the next few years there were further collaborations with Merker and the Iowa Center for the Book where Henke illustrated Beckett’s “Company” and H.D.’s “ Within the Walls and eventually making an illustrated edition of Beckett’s, “Ill Seen Ill Said”. In the intervening years Henke has been the coordinator for the printmaking department at Grand Valley State University where he continues to make prints, paint, and draw. Henke has been involved in more than 200 exhibitions and has been collected by dozens of public institutions.

I would also be remiss mentioning that Dellas was my professor for printmaking in college long ago. Great to be working with him again and his visits north have been a lot of fun fishing, hiking around with his dog Lazlo and telling stories.

Further, it is a thrill to be working with Breon on this project and a fortunate stroke of serendipity with my own project though rather mind bending to be working on two Kafka manuscripts at a time.

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Dellas, working on print arrangement for the book.

Additionally

  • My own Kafka project The Hunter Gracchus  is also coming along but has been completely redesigned to a larger format. More to come soon with that progress.
  • I sadly note the passing of Judith Minty in November. Judith and I produced her short Killing the Bear in 2011 with wood engravings by Glenn Wolff. In her 84 years I hope I amused her for at least one of them….
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Opening spread, Killing the Bear by Judith Minty

  • James Dissette and I have continued planning our new projects for our Mad Parrot Press (formerly Chester River Press) and plan to bring you E.M. Forster’s strange and prescient science fiction story, The Machine Stops. We are also in the planning stages for the iconic childhood rhapsody, Wind in the Willows which will be illustrated by the brilliant linoleum cuts of Vladimir Zimakov. Here’s a taste of his concept art for Badger:

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Residency and Instruction

One of my distractions lately from making books has been finishing the guest house above “studio B” which is now listed on AirBnB. The space will be used to host collaborators, limited artist residencies and, of course, some additional income…

Use of the studio spaces and instruction can also be negotiated with a stay. Fully (and nicely) appointed letterpress and intaglio print spaces as well as a complete bindery. Visit my main website for much more information about the facilities here.

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View On AirbnbStudio on the Cedar River ~ A Bibliophiles Dream

Codex VI & Qin Guan deluxe edition

Reporting live from drizzly Berkeley, California. I flew in yesterday for Codex 2017 – 6th Biennial International Book Fair and Symposium which will kick off tomorrow and continue through this coming Wednesday, February 8th.

May I present to you the deluxe binding of Qin Guan’s ~ Moon as Bright as Water. It will premier tomorrow at the show and is now available for purchase on my website.

Calf vellum quarter binding with gray Cave Paper debossed with matt gray and gold foil. Flyleaves of handmade green St Armand with Brick Hahnemühle Bugra endpapers housed in a brown Kennett bookcloth covered drop spine box foiled in matt gray with a vellum spine title.

Updates, changes, what’s next

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I am pleased to let  you know that my website has finally been updated and that Moon as Bright as Water is now available to purchase on the Books & Broadsides list page and its own description page.

This will be the last book with the Chester River Press imprint. For 10 years I have shared this imprint with James Dissette in a venture which started out with two other partners centered out of Chestertown, Maryland and together we brought you The Chesapeake Voyages of Captain John Smith and Heart of Darkness as well a a few other private works. The two other partners are long gone now and James continues to use Chester River for his other non-fine press work so we felt a change was in order. Our new imprint is Mad Parrot Press and you are going to like it! An announcement of intentions will soon be forthcoming.

Just a month ago Oak Knoll Fest XIX was a wonderful event once again tempered by the untimely passing of one of the great bookmen of modern times, Bob Fleck – founder of Oak Knoll Books, just a week before the exhibit. Many glasses were raised and fond remembrances given to Bob and some of our other absent fellow travelers in the fine book world. My thanks to the institutions and private collectors that made journeying to New Castle once again enjoyable, enlightening and, thankfully, profitable.

On a personal note, some may have noticed the lack of books flowing out of Deep Wood Press the last couple of years. That will be changing very soon. This is actually how I make my living so it’s very important to me too — and necessary! A long separation and divorce has finally concluded, child custody and keeping my shop intact was my primary concern and I’m happy to report success on those fronts. Now I have an actual schedule once again and will use that time accordingly finishing Kafka which is due out this winter. More to follow soon from Deep Wood Press and Mad Parrot Press from the likes of Forster, Grahame, some regional poets & writers and my own rambling musings.

Please stay tuned.