Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair and other news.

Next week I will make my way to Manhattan for the 6th annual Fine Press Book Fair. Though I have gone back and participated in the show two or three other years I have very fond memories of the first fair and the great fun for those of us that journeyed there for it. A highlight being a lovely gathering of fellow printers at Jean Shiff’s home organized by Chris Adamson of the Books and Vines blog. So come join me and 40 other presses from around the world and descend into the ugly basement of the school of St. Vincent Ferrer at 869 Lexington Ave at 66th St on March 7th from 10am to 5pm.

For this years show I will have some lovely presentation bindings for my newly translated edition of Kafka’s In the Penal Colony, other books from my catalog and some progress to show for the forthcoming Wind in the Willows being done with my partner James Dissette and our Mad Parrot Press imprint. Vladimir Zimakov is still working away at the illustrations we’ve commissioned for the book. Otherwise the text layout is complete and edited, just waiting to plug in the images where appropriate. It should be forthcoming this summer for all of you who keep asking! I’m also making progress on my other new translation of Kafka’s The Hunter Gracchus but progress once again is being held up by my intaglio prints that will illustrate. They are mostly complete but my big intaglio press is in “Studio B” with the Linotype machine which is kept just above freezing in the winter months and I just can’t justify heating three buildings at the moment when the average temperature here is 25° Fahrenheit.

Some of the linocuts forthcoming from Vladimir

I’ve come to enjoy binding books again! Everything is done “in house” here at DWP from composition of the type via Linotype or handset, illustrations, printing to binding. In recent years I had totally burned out on edition binding even with the help of apprentices and the occasional student. Now my editions have become smaller and while I still do some edition binding a growing percentage of the books are becoming “one off” presentation bindings. Making books is rife with repetition with literally dozens of steps along the way to a finished product. Enjoying any part of the process is important to keep it seeming less like work! My apologies in advance to all the librarians and archivists as I keep lousy track of these things.

I see that it’s been roughly a year since my last post about my work, welcome to 2020! I wish that I had more news for you but 2019 was sort of a null year and the old adage of “no news is good news” unfortunately falls short in this case. Some routine medical procedures with complications started out the summer and upon full recovery from that I was shortly after diagnosed with Lyme Disease! The good news is that it was caught early and I’ve made pretty much a full recovery but lost months of studio work time as a result. Regardless, I’m one of the lucky ones. I have friends and family who weren’t diagnosed in time or misdiagnosed with this terrible disease and now suffer the full effects of it. A mere couple years ago this wouldn’t have even registered with doctors in Northern Michigan as a possibility but, unfortunately, the infected tick population has made its way here and now diligence must be made with the animals and, even more importantly, the kids looking for ticks and scanning for telltale bites with rings. My heart goes out to those of you in the Northeast and other parts of the country where this has become the new “normal”.

A different way of geting shown in a gallery…

While I was in thick of printing the text pages for Kafka’s In the Penal Colony my old friend Ted Bergin stopped in for a night while traveling. While not his day job Ted is a spectacular photographer and frequently you’ll find his work placing top in regional (and beyond) art competitions. While I’m no stranger to having my work exhibited this is the first time I’ve been the subject on the wall! The first image below won the West Michigan juried regional in the photography category!

I wish I could direct you to a website but the most PR many of pics gets is on Facebook where he gives the subjects (mostly musicians) of his lens free license to use his images in any fashion they’d like.

Thanks Ted!

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!

final print comb 5

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….