Saturday, June 28, 2014

Interstices & Intersections at The Printing Museum

This past week Annie and I were in Houston to install and open my show, Interstices & Intersections or, An Autodidact Comprehends a Cube, at The Printing Museum. I have never been an enthusiastic exhibitor of my books. Books do not want to be locked in vitrines. Their ontological essence is narrative progression and, when frozen at a single spread in a display case, that essence is arrested and disrupted. So when The Printing Museum approached me with the idea of a show dedicated to the making of a single book, I was excited. The show allowed eight display cases that were assigned as such: one for the standard edition, one for the deluxe, five for in-depth displays of process, and one of various sketches, maps, and schedules produced during the making of the book. Photos are below. For information on the show or the museum, visit The Printing Museum website.

 Two copies of the standard edition.

  The deluxe edition with box, acrylic and watercolor paintings, and a photo of Daniel Kelm at work on the binding.

  Manuscript, watercolors, final prints, state proofs, and polymer plates for proposition xiii.17.

   Manuscript, watercolors, final prints, progressive and state proofs for the twelve color print for proposition viii.15.

 State and progressive proofs and color map for proposition xi.38.

Close up of final print and color map for proposition xi.38.

 Manuscript drawings and state proofs for proposition vi.30.

 Sketches, watercolors, maps, manuscripts, and schedules for Interstices & Intersections.

 Presenting the book to the Houston chapter of the AIGA.

Celebrating the show with, from left, Amanda Rohlich, Amanda Stevenson [behind] Max Koch, Penny Cerling, and Travis Smith. Annie Schlechter behind camera.

Friday, March 7, 2014

First copy of Interstices & Intersections in motion


The first copy of Interstices & Intersections arrived on Sunday from Daniel Kelm. We shot a short video of the book in motion. The cover materials are calfskin (blue) and Tim Barrett's UICB Paper Case (gray) with a white line printed letterpress. Below are two photos of the book standing still.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Interstices & Intersections: Printing Complete!

On Wednesday, February 6, I finished the last press run of Interstices & Intersections or, An Autodidact Comprehends a Cube. At final count, the book's thirty spreads required 225 press runs. During the last month of printing, my assistant Nancy began preparing any finished sheets for binding while I was chained to the press. The binding is a double sided leperello accordion structure that requires dry adhesive to be tacked onto the foredge of every sheet before the books can be assembled. This is an extremely laborious process and it would have delayed the binding by weeks if we had had to do it after all the printing was completed. Instead, by having Nancy prep the sheets while I finished the printing, we were able to collate the books the day after I completed the last press run. Nancy has now been joined by another helper, Katrina Kiapos, and they will spend the rest of the month finishing the prep work while I bask in a languorous state of unfettered leisure.

On Saturday, Annie & I drove the first batch of sheets up to Daniel Kelm's Wide Awake Garage bindery in Easthampton, Mass. After a tour of Daniel's chemistry book and apparatus collection, we were joined by his wife Greta. The four of us stopped by a local ice harvest before heading to lunch.

The finished book hung on the studio wall.

Collating the first twenty-six copies.

The oysters at Keen's Chophouse where Nancy, Annie & I had our Friday wrap party.

 Standing outside the Cottage Street studios, home of the Wide Awake Garage.

Daniel in his chemistry library.

 Havesting ice from the local pond above, tools for said harvesting below.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Interstices & Intersections: the last month of printing

I have now entered the last few weeks of printing on Interstices & Intersections. As I finish up the final thirty press runs, Nancy will begin preparing the sheets for delivery to bookbinder Daniel Kelm at the Wide Awake Garage. Daniel came down for a visit this past week to show samples of the custom dyed goatskin we ordered for the standard binding, and to choose the seven skins needed for the leather inlays in the deluxe binding.

 The book thus far hanging on the studio wall.

An assortment of mixed inks and dry pigments in the inking theater.

 A proof of the seven color illustration for proposition xi.38.

The illustration being editioned.

Painting the designs for the deluxe binding.

The finished binding designs. The color in the binding will be different but the shapes are accurate.

 Looking at the goatskin samples with Daniel Kelm.

Daniel instructing Nancy Loeber how to prepare the sheets for binding.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Interstices & Intersections: Cube Design for Euclid's Proposition viii.15

Last week I finally finished printing the twelve color design for proposition viii.15 from Interstices & Intersections. The print bleeds off three sides of the sheet and covers a total area of 11 x 13.5 inches. Ten of the plates register across the entire area, a fact that has been tormenting me since I first painted the design back in April. I have never tried to register two colors over so large an area, the thought of ten froze me in my tracks. I procrastinated for months before finally re-drawing the design in separation. Even then I tried to cut corners. In the lead up to printing I tried everything I could to find a more expedient approach to the printing, fooling myself for a couple of months that I would be able to get away with a mere six plates/colors. I would mix and remix colors but every proof looked flat and lifeless. When compared to the original painting the proofs were completely discouraging. My solution was to draw a series of pencil drawings that would be printed over the flat areas of color. I began by printing the outline in a purply black and the four principal flat colors in subtle tones of hand-ground inks: Venetian red, Bohemian green earth, yellow ochre, and burnt umber. I then printed the pencil drawings on top of these in darker inks of a slightly different hue. After these nine plates the white tops of the cubes took on an unsettling fluorescence which I toned down with a subtle cream, before filling in the center gray background with a warm putty overlaid with a bluish gray.

 The original watercolor painting.

 One of the six color proofs.

 The final twelve color print.

 A video of the state and progressive proofs leading to the final print.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Clover image from Interstices & Intersections

In the run-up to the Oxford Fine Press Fair on November 2 and 3, I have been working flat out to have as much of Interstices & Intersections printed (or proofed) for a new mock-up to show at the fair. The schedule has made blogging nearly impossible. At the end of the day I'm simply too tired to reflect and write about my process. With the dummy sheets finally off to Daniel Kelm for binding the mock-up, Annie came by the studio yesterday and photographed every state and progressive proof to date, as well as the proofed images for the dummy. I'll write about a few more of the images over the next few weeks but in the meantime I'll just deal with the clover image from Proposition 6.30.

I begin by drawing an outline of my clover patch in pencil and then scanning and re-drawing it in outline in Illustrator.

I then divide the clover petals into four different densities
Creating four levels within the image

I then draw highlights for each level in separation

Re-combining and inverting them digitally
Producing a plate that prints as so

I then create a four-tiered shadow that I print in a gray made of equal parts orange and black
For the final image below

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Printing, printing

For the last two months I have been printing all out, cranking the Vandercook 5,000-7,000 times a week, trying to keep ahead of the curve on Interstices & Intersections. The first big deadline is approaching, The Oxford Fine Press Book Fair, and all of my energy has been geared toward preparing as complete a dummy of the book as possible to show at the fair. The schedule has been so tiring that it has been hard to take a moment and write clear-headed blog entries, a task I am still not up to. After I send the dummy sheets to the binder next week, though, I'll sift through all of the process photos and put together a more interesting post. In the meantime, here's a photo of the first text plates. I'll never tire of the seeing the transformation that text enacts on a page.