Wednesday, November 12, 2014

A Sabbatical of Sorts

From left to right: the deluxe and standard copies of Pressed for Time (2014), Specimens of Diverse Characters (2011), Æthelwold Etc (2009), and Interstices & Intersections (2014); Prometheus Bound (2007); A Meditation in Rome (2012); Pervigilium Veneris (2009); Mediæval In Padua (2008); Nocturnes (2011); Book of Jonah (2012); Floating Overhead (2007); A Showing of New Foundry Type (2011); The Blog of Specimens (2012); Visionaries & Fanatics (2010); and A Roman Inscription (2010).

It has been a busy seven years. Since 2007 I have completed fifteen books and, with the publication of Pressed for Time, it feels like the right moment to slow down for a while. My recent "big" books have gotten progressively bigger, and the exhaustion of producing them is beginning to wear on me. But exhaustion is not the primary motivation for the sabbatical. Since printing Æthelwold Etc in 2009, I have been developing a very specific technique of multichromatic printing using photopolymer plates. With the publication of Interstices & Intersections earlier this year, I feel that I have taken that technique as far as I can (for now). Making books only remains interesting for me if their making is a process of learning, and I fear that, if I continue working in the same manner as I have been, I will fall into rote production. It is time for the polymer color printing to transition from raison d'être to its new position in the toolbox beside the other tools that are available to me. So what better solution than to spend a year experimenting? 

My plan is not to stop working but to work differently, with one pulsing neon mantra beaming above all else: NO DEADLINES! I intend to spend most of my time sketching but there are two small projects that are certain. The first is a collaborative cookbook, Hungry Bibliophiles, which is meant to test some of Timothy Barrett's ideas about durability and "authenticity" in handmade paper. I have received the paper from Tim and am almost done designing the typefaces in which I will print the book. I will post more information about the book when I am closer to printing. The other project I have lined up is the engraving and casting of a new metal titling face and ornament suite. The type will be produced by Ed Rayher at Swamp Press and will result in a small specimen when complete. (The ornament is a twelve piece, two color combination ornament.) Ed has engraved a sample matrix and everything looked good, so I should receive the finished type sometime in January. 

As I work I will post regular photos on the blog accompanied by varying amounts of text.