, , ,

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.

It is possible that the book is the last refuge of the free man. If the man turns decidedly to the automaton; if it happens to no longer think that according to the ready-made images of a screen, this termite will end up not reading any more. All sorts of machines will make up for it: he will allow his mind to be manipulated by a system of speaking visions; the color, the rhythm, the relief, a thousand ways to replace effort and dead attention, to fill the void or the laziness of the search for the particular imagination: everything will be there, minus the spirit. This law is that of the herd. The book will always have followers, the last men who will not be mass-produced by the social machine. A beautiful book, this temple of the individual, is the acropolis where thought entrenches itself against the plebs.

Excerpt from L’Art du livre by André Suarès, written in 1920, printed by Louis Jou in 1922