Monday, December 24, 2012

progress on The next word

here's one view of the front covers of RED SQUARE - The next word - type is Umbra on a Ruscombe flax handmade paper - next up is sewing (intricate!) the two signatures to the cover - the slipcase making has been interrupted by this weird event they call 'christmas', so the book will be ready post out in the new year - and speaking of the new year, may all of us have a better 2013 than we had a 2012 - I know, every day is a miracle, let's be thankful & a' that - but I wouldn't mind a world in which our murderous interest in each other was not so endlessly & vividly exemplified on a daily basis - still, the turtledoves come to be fed each morning, the flowers keep blooming, the moving world keeps us floating about in its brilliant air, the sun gives warmth & floods my little printery with light from the east - and already I'm dreaming of my next book & the beautiful Greek type of Nicolas Jenson, Venice, 1472 - but here's another view of the covers, all laid out in a row -

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

CODEX 2013

besides binding right now I am preparing/gathering material for CODEX 2013, coming up in February next year at Berkeley, California - as well as having an Electio Editions table at the Book Fair, I will also be representing Codex Australia, which will be at CODEX for the first time - 

Codex Australia started up in Melbourne, Australia last April, and we now have a healthy and growing list of Sponsors, and the first of its programs are up & running - check out the website to see what's happening -

I am also privileged to be one of the Artist Speakers at the Codex Symposium, along with paper maker Timothy Barrett, and book makers Russell Maret & Veronica Schapers - the Keynote Speakers will be Sandro Berra & Mark Dimunation - 

at the Book Fair, some of the very finest books & book makers in the world will be on show (see the list on the CODEX website) and the Symposium promises to be an intellectual feast as the Book Fair promises to be an aesthetic one - 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

fresh news from Ruscombe Paper Mill

above is a fresh notice on the Ruscombe website - the paper being revived is one I have bought for the next Electio book - but the background picture is of printed pages from RED SQUARE : the next word printed partly on Ruscombe's copy of Barcham Green's India Office and partly on a small supply I still had of the original Barcham Green - and about to be issued from Electio - the slipcases are currently being done while the printer morphs into binder over the next couple of weeks

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

more on Alessandro Zanella

visited Heavenly Monkey's excellent blog, to find notice (his entry on 27.11.12) of an obituary & online exhibition of Alessandro Zanella's work at the University of Utah J Willard Marriott Library - go to HM's blog to click thru to the show. . . 

and it's funny how the familiar can almost slide out of mind or knowledge or memory but, I had to reach recently for Richard-Gabriel Rummonds's Printing on the iron handpress from my bookshelf to be reminded that the photograph on the cover is of, of course, Alessandro Zanella - a fitting, if small, memorial to a great printer

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

in memoriam Alessandro Zanella, printer

early last July (I cannot find an exact date) Alessandro Zanella, handprinter, of the Edizioni Ampersand, Verona, Italy, died unexpectedly. I can find almost nothing online that registers this event, or honors him, or gives even a short story of his life – and I’m sorry to say I cannot make up that lack here – Alessandro Zanella has been in my mind as a printer for a long time, first as a colleague & fellow printer with Richard-Gabriele Rummonds, and then out on his own as Edizioni Ampersand – in part this attraction was one of those romantic & purely emotional “connections” in that one of New Zealand’s best known literary printers, Denis Glover (1912-1980) of Caxton Press used to write to me as ‘Dear Ampersand Alan’ (I used ampersands in my poetry, something he would never do) – and I once wrote an essay titled & the ampersand, which I printed in 1990 – but I knew he printed on a rare Stanhope iron handpress (the only one I had seen was given the late D F McKenzie and his Wai-te-ata Press at Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand by Cambridge University), and I knew that he taught handpress printing, and at one time I seriously considered signing up but the costs were then prohibitive for me – rummaging about online I found a nice tribute of one his teaching classes by Marnie Parsons of Running The Goat – and here you can find a short account of the course and some fine pictures of the students in action, taken by Alessandro himself -

when I found out that he had passed away I contacted Vamp and Tramp Booksellers and I now have one of the most beautiful books in my collection, Persephone by Yannis Ritsos with woodcuts by Joe Tilson – exquisite printing, beautiful design, and a screenprinted paper over boards cover, the text printed in both Greek & English - Vamp and Tramp still have a few copies of a few of Ampersand’s titles –

I think the passing of a handprinter at Zanella’s level deserves some real acknowledgment and I hope to see something soon that keeps the profile & the spirit of the books of Alessandro Zanella alive. . . 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

progress on RED SQUARE

the printed sheets for RED SQUARE are piling up - 5 sheets printed, 3 to go - and each sheet has up to 10 printings in up to 7 colors - at the current production rate I hope to have the work done by end of October - here's one sheet photograph'd, others will follow soon -

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bemboka handmade paper

I've now received the information I needed regarding Bemboka handmade paper, and will report later on the results of my enquiry - meantime, I'm interested to know how many books have been printed using Bemboka paper - if anyone has information, I'd be glad to have it, and I'll begin a list of them, with these to start with - 

William Shakespeare, The phoenix and the turtle, Escutcheon Press, Pearl Beach NSW 1991.

Donald Friend, An alphabet of owls, printed by Jim Walker at the Croft Press for Richard Griffin for Gryphon Books, Melbourne VIC 1981.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Sylvan Type Works

a note to say that the Sylvan Type Works of Nicholas Summers is still operating at full capacity, in spite of the fact that his website is, shall I say, a little less mobile than he is just now. He asks people not to be fazed by that, and to contact him as you need, and he will attend to your enquiry. For myself, I am beginning to realise that Nicholas is emerging as a significant local Australian maker & supplier of much basic ancillary equipment for letterpress and handpress printing. In the recent Adventure & Art exhibition at the University of Melbourne, one of his father's books, Robert Summers, How is a man: commonplace book, (Escutcheon Press, Pearl Beach NSW 1999), a beautifully designed & printed work, was on display, along with a lovely simple rendering of Shakespeare's The Phoenix and the Turtle, pictured here - the paper is the legendary Bemboka handmade paper, an enterprise long gone now, but about which I'd like to know more - SO, anyone with information about Bemboka Handmade Paper, when they operated in Australia, why they closed down, where is the equipment now etc etc - I'd be grateful to hear from you - in any case, here's the Shakespeare, printed by Robert Summers, 1991, in 55 copies. . . 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Codex Australia website

CODEX AUSTRALIA website is now up & running and the organisation itself is well & truly launched - check the site out - Codex Australia - one of the advantages of being a Sponsor is occasional visits to book artists' studios or to those with significant private book collections - the first of these is coming up on October 14 at the studio of Bruno Leti in Melbourne - and in November, the first of the Codex Bolton Lectures (open to everybody) will be held - check the Codex website for more precise details closer to the time of the events. . . 

Monday, August 27, 2012

another new book

another new book, well, perhaps, it's always a tricky question - am I repeating myself - we spend our lives repeating the same words - that we do so in different orders makes what, exactly, sort of difference - however, at least I can say I have begun work on another book - for many years I and I suppose countless others have admired the work of Hendrik Werkman, who made typographic prints at the handpress from materials, types, blocks, rollers etc that were to be found in his printery - he produced a periodical, in Dutch, tho the title is in English (never seen any commentator comment on that), The Next Call - now that I have ceased printing the work of others, I have picked up on the wish to in some measure emulate the unique Werkman (is it 'workman' in English, for that would suit me very well) and produce a printed periodical titled The next word - all my books now will have that title, plus a subtitle, which will relate to the title in different (ha! I keyed in "deferent" ways - which, is also, as someone said, 'of the matter' - the present book is The next word : Red Square - where 'Red Square' refers to the imaginary exhibition posited by Arthur C Danto (The transfiguration of the commonplace, 1981) which consisted of several visually identical paintings of red squares with very different captions. . . the work will be in many colors thruout, with a mix of wood & metal types, printed damp on Barcham Green India Office handmade paper & Ruscombe India Office handmade paper at the handpress - in 40 copies (Werkman's periodical was done in 40 copies) tho my books will likely be all 32 pages where his were of 8 pages only - in any case, the 'Werkman' text for this book takes all the Dutch words in his 9 issues that also spell out English words, and these have become my words for the book - I am indebted to Arthur Danto for permission to use his idea - I'll keep you posted on progress. . . for the fun of it, here are the Dutch/English words -

[the versos]
Dutch words in The next call that also spell English words
was         reeds        van         met         datum         die         rose         is         want         reveille         elk         mild         man         also         dag         door         stem         den         horrible         execution         immense         vent         moment         crier         art     aspiration         pour         diner         meditations         encore         plus         rend         smart         beer         over         toga         zoo         ex libris         cosmos         boulevard         leg         bent         president of         drift         wilt         program         punt         blank         Three cheers for the Fresco’s            Baedeker         span         ware         doctor         best         begin         machine         motor          hotel         reaction         rang         &         stand         cargo         radio         blue         band         en masse         dividend         effect         avant-garde         manuscript         burger         held         week         journalist         per         post         loudspeaker         past         auto         stank         detail         face         gladden         coefficient         credit         cyclostyles         offers         dogma         surplus         element         sport         war         mutter

Saturday, July 28, 2012

nice double image

I cannot for the life of me remember where I found this image, or who made the work or who posted it online - if anyone can tell me I'd be very grateful - 

[a few days later] many thanks to Philip Gallo, who sent me the following information - 
Italian furniture and interior design company Saporiti has come up with a clever and unique concept for this wooden bookshelf. By playing around with the placement of the shelves within each box, they were able to visibly form the phrase “READ YOUR BOOKCASE.” Each individual shelf contains a different letter and can 
be stacked to form a complete word or stand freely on its own.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Codex Australia to be launched

amidst everything else happening in this or any other neck of the woods ("the neck of the woods is everywhere" saith the poet) - the big thing happening for the book in Melbourne is the public launch of CODEX AUSTRALIA on Tuesday August 7 at the Leigh Scott Room at the University of Melbourne at 6pm for 6.30pm - Susan Millard, Acting Curator at the Baillieu Library and Alan Loney will be the speakers - a number of Australian books by contemporary book artists (Carolyn Fraser, Bruno Leti, Petr Herel, Peter Lyssiotis, Alan Loney) will be on display before being sent off to Washington DC to join the CodexMexico exhibition at the Mexican Cultural Institute in September/October this year - and various aspects of the organisation and its programs will also be announced on the night - most invitations will be sent by email (contact me if you want to get one) and a few handprinted invitations have been printed by 'the present writer' - and can be seen spread out to dry here - 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

timeless 'ephemeral' printing

occasionally I am in the happy circumstance of printing something small - 2 day's work rather than 2 months' book-making - for a friend - it does not at all mean I'm available for jobbing printing - and right now I'm turning a calligraphic work into a an editioned print for Deirdre Hassed (see Calligraphic Works) - 50 copies on damped Twinrocker handmade paper, in 50 copies on the Albion - the text is a portion of the Bhagavad Gita in both Sanskrit & English, and the Sanskrit block is here locked into the press - 

a trial of inks is laid out - Handschy Copper and Fire Red (we decided against the Red. . . 

and printer & calligrapher set about using a time-honored measuring device to establish the positions of each magnesium block in relation to the other - 

today the second color will be printed - not the red but Handschy Cyan mixed with Opaque White. . . 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

alphabeta series complete

for reasons of health, age, mortality, energy etc, I have closed the alphabeta series now, and will concentrate on printing my own work - it has been a hard decision, and I know in my own experience how disappointing for others this can be - the series got to number 3, and issued poems by Tony Green (New Zealand), Marion May Campbell (Australia), and Kyle Schlesinger (United States) - henceforth, all my printing will be focused on the series of 'own' works under the heading of The next word - & news of the first of these will be posted here soon - meantime, there are still 3 copies of Tony's book left, and 7 of Kyle's - here's a picture of them. . . 

Monday, July 9, 2012

Zukofsky found

many thanks to those who replied to my request for a reference to a specific quotation I posted last month - an exact quote was provided by Mark Scroggins, whose book The poem of a life : a biography of Louis Zukofsky (Shoemaker Hoard 2007) I am now reading with great pleasure. . . 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

with deckles affix'd

not all deckles lopp'd - here's 2 views of India Office - light & dark = Barcham Green & Ruscombe - with bottom edge retain'd - more news on what the paper's for soon. . . 


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

desperately seeking Zukofsky

well, not 'desperately' really, but I've been trying to locate the (or an) exact quote from Louis Zukofsky where he wrote, or is said to have written, or I half-remembered that he did write or someone said he wrote, that somehow, all one's life one (or the poet) writes just one poem - if anyone can direct me to a direct quotation from Zukofsky's writings where he writes such a thing, please let me know - many thanks. . . 

Monday, June 18, 2012

the book-in-a-box

at last the book is made, and all the orders will have been sent out by the end of today - of the 26 copies for sale there are just 8 left - buyers in the US should contact Vamp and Tramp for copies HERE - and Antipodeans should get in touch with me - 

and here's a closer look at the type, especially to the outline of Eusebius - 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

fragment from Crankhandle

what you’ve written
will resist you

what you have resisted
will rewrite you

can you say yes to it
can you say no to it

two birds screech
left to right

he has always been
a long way
from home

Monday, June 11, 2012

"please retain the deckles"

or, something like that, said to have been said by William Morris to a binder who, in turn, chopped off the deckles and kept them nicely in a separate packet to return to Mr Morris - so, if what's good enough for him is good enough for me, here are the deckles !  -  actually, I cut them off because, in the next book I'm printing, most of the material on the rectos is the same, and if I kept the outer deckle on the sheet I'd have to reset the form on the press each time I wanted to print on the other side of the sheet - but with straight edges on both sides of the sheets, I can simply flop the sheet over to print on the other side. . . in any case, it's a nice opportunity for me to announce, however slyly, that there's another book coming up and that the paper is (some) vintage Barcham Green India Office, and (some) Ruscombe Mill India Office - I've had the Barcham Green now for some 20 to 25 years, and have used it just once in the special edition of New Zealand poet Kendrick Smithyman's poem Tomorata at the Holloway Press at the University of Auckland back in 1996 - anyway, behold ! the deckles -

Sunday, June 10, 2012

another fragment from Testamenta

song sauntered into him between
         the notes of short & long
from where does what word spring
         to mind         you can’t know anything
about the simplest flower         in this
         midday blue so dark you expect
to see stars         Rembrandt’s lion still poised
         and nonchalant after all these years
silent entry of four white pink-faced
         geese into the lake         with a memory
ticket marked everything hanging from
         your neck         reading withdraws
from him         voices of the dead bellowing
         at you from all sides

Friday, June 8, 2012

pictures for Picture Day

Miriam has kindly taken pictures of the last of the print-runs for Kyle's Picture Day, the sheets laid out to dry, and the other sheets stacked ready for collating - in various lights, angles etc - the sheets will be sewn this weekend and orders will be invoiced and sent out next week -

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

from Testamenta

weird thing about the blog is that it can only 'publish' a serial poem backwards, bit by bit - but here beginneth Testamenta, some of which appeared in the Australian version of Jacket, and some was read at St Mark's Poetry Project in New York (a shared reading with Fanny Howe) a couple of years ago, and some now will appear here. . . 

whatever done         by one’s own hand
         sky closes for day         opens for night
one-winged         one-eyed         what object
         under the sun         suing a one-sided
axiom of grief         how different it was
         on your return         silver gulls fly out
of cloud into cloud at day’s
         end         to have caught yourself
at the few times when your shadow
         is equal to your height         with
turtledove’s single wing spread out
         to dry        I         Nicolas Jenson
alien & printer of books         Venice
         September 1480         hold one arm
out over his death         it’s not
         possible to change the subject

Sunday, June 3, 2012

from the Adventure & Art show

sadly, the Adventure & Art : the fine press book from 1450 to 2011 exhibition has now come down at the Baillieu Library in Melbourne - but my friend Bruno Leti took some nice photos of it and here are some of them, sans captions - 

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The books to come paper-back'd

to my great pleasure this small collection of essays/assays on the material and what the wondrous Rochelle Altman calls the 'immediate metaphor' or 'first level abstraction' that is the book in its making and its use and in how to think about them, is now available in paperback from publisher Cuneiform Press - the price is great at US$21.95 - buy it now (!) from H E R E 

there is also a lovely review of the book by Roger Horrocks, to be found H E R E

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Picture Day - voiced

Kyle Schlesinger reads his Picture Day on the online magazine The Volta
seeing/hearing is possible here

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

New book from Nawakum Press

one of the great pleasures of being a printer/poet is that I get at times to be printed by printers other than myself - just out now is a new book of my poetry, In a single gesture, published by David Pascoe at his Nawakum Press in Santa Rosa, California - designed by Jason Dewinetz, with calligraphy by Judy Detrick, printed by the legendary Patrick Reagh, and bound by John DeMerritt - it can be viewed at the Nawakum website here

Monday, May 14, 2012

Picture Day on the move

this blog too is on the move after a hiatus - busy getting Codex Australia founded, shaped & incorporated - & printing also has been put aside, but now Kyle Schlesinger's Picture Day is in production, the boxes have arrived, and here's Kyle signing the colophon sheets in Austin, Texas, before sending them off to me in Melbourne for sewing -

Monday, March 5, 2012

Adventure & Art

Aventur und Kunst is what Johann Gutenberg - Johnny Goodhill, or, if your take his given name Johann Gensfleisch, Johnny Gooseflesh - is reputed to have called the art of printing - and is title of the Melbourne exhibition & symposium to be launched Friday 9 March - among the distinguished guests will be Jorge Alberto Lozoya, Mexican Ambassador to Malaysia, who was pivotal in developing CODEX MEXICO, an affiliate body to the CODEX FOUNDATION - Jorge will talk at the symposium on how Codex Mexico was set up, to honor & spread the word on the hand-made book in that part of the world - 

here's the front cover of the exhibition catalog, 48 pages, in full color - the cover woodcut is by John Ryrie, and is from Pelican Poems by Adrian Rawlins, printed by John Ryrie at his Incunabula Press, Melbourne 1997 -

Friday, March 2, 2012

wood type in Australia

this image blatantly filched from the website of Sylvan Type Works of Nicholas Summers of Plum Letterpress in New South Wales, with occasional help from Sue Anderson of Impediment Press - Sylvan Type Works can provide wood type -

Manufactured using traditional and modern methods and materials.
New typefaces, historical revivals and exploratory projects.
Complete founts, missing characters and replacement sorts.
Specimens and occasional publications issued.

(this news came from Jurgen Wegner's Brandywine Newsletter (about printing, printed ephemera, type, books etc. . . to be on Jurgen's mailing list email him here

Monday, February 20, 2012

Centre for the Book at Otago

the new Centre for the Book at the University of Otago has just launched its website - the aims of the Centre are - or better, go to its website here

As a Centre we interpret ‘book’ broadly to encompass every aspect of written or printed communication, including physical representations and the cultural impact of the written word.
The Centre for the Book aims to:
  • Enhance the wide range of book-centred activities that take place throughout Dunedin
  • Emphasize Dunedin’s rich cultural heritage in print, as producer, consumer, and preserver of books
  • Encourage research in all facets of the book (in its broadest sense) by utilizing the diverse resources available
  • Promote interaction and communication on the book within the University of Otago, and other local, national and international institutions.

here's one view from the University's Otakou Press which has an active Printer in Residence program (with the present writer as the 2008 PiR -

Monday, February 13, 2012

Exhibition & Symposium

Adventure & Art - an exhibition & symposium
         the fine press book 1450 - 2011

Leigh Scott Gallery, Level 1, Baillieu Library, University of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
     1 March to 27 May 2012

Adventure & Art, curated by poet and fine press printer Alan Loney, is about the printer’s craft, evidenced from the first printed books in the 15th century, and given a hugely influential impetus by William Morris and the Arts & Crafts movement at the end of the 19th. This exhibition will show how a number of technologies that are obsolete in commercial terms are still current in creative & craft terms in the 21st century. Exhibited will be books from the Baillieu Library’s Special Collections from Europe, North America, New Zealand and Australia

A Symposium discussing the nature and definition of fine press books will be held from 2-5pm on March 9th 2012 in the Leigh Scott Room in the Baillieu Library.

Each of the speakers at this symposium has arrived at the fine press book in different ways. It is hoped that the symposium will inform as much as interest and delight those who see the exhibition and attend the day's discussions.

Speakers at the symposium are Alan Loney, Andrew Schuller, Peter Vangioni, Chris Wallace-Crabbe, Carolyn Fraser and Caren Florance.

To book, go HERE 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

the mystique of damped paper

John Denny of Puriri Press, Auckland, New Zealand has kindly sent in the following note about some of his experience of damping paper - 

. . . I've been meaning to contact you re damping of paper. Beth Serjeant and I have had success freezing damped paper in between printings. The record so far is six months in the freezer between printing text and image. I've installed a special little freezer in the garage just for handling paper, and it's most useful being able to yank a piece out, let it thaw, and have it almost instantly ready for use. Even after six months, the paper was beautifully limp and not at all wet, and printed perfectly

and Philip Gallo of Hermetic Press sent me a nice little card about which he wrote the following - 

cover damped 10am; printed
1:00pm, the same day - all
3 colors.

held one week; inside
re-misted, printed interior -
held one more day -
colophon printed
All told - eight days - 

I'm now getting very interested in experiences that are somewhat outside the usual assumptions about the vulnerability of the paper-damping process - and would like to hear from anyone with experiences of the same order - and thank here Philip & John for their permission to post

Friday, January 27, 2012

two more eyes for you

having been somewhat quiet over January, it's time to get this space moving again - and it starts with two blogs I have found, one sent to me by Juergen Wegner in Australia, and the other by the printer himself -

this is the blog of James Mosley who, according to one source, is Visiting Professor in the Department of Typography & Graphic Communication at the University of Reading. He retired as Librarian of the St Bride Printing Library in London, 1999, and was founding editor of the Journal of the Printing Historical Society. He received the annual award of the American Printing History Association for contributions to printing history in 2003. His blog is full of detailed, interesting information about type & type history. Here it is -

the fresh new blog of Norman McKnight, handpress printer (uses a Pratt-Albion handpress, as I do) at Philoxenia Press. I wonder if it's possible, perhaps even desirable at this early stage, to document the Pratt-Albions, list their owners, serial numbers & dates etc. In any case, Norman's Philoxenia Press is a fine mix of the traditional and the quirky, worth following in my view as a further sense of what the handpress may do, even on such a small press. Ephimeros (in ancient Greek the accent is on the second syllable) means, according to my lexicon, longed for, desired: delightful, agreeable.  Here it is -

Sunday, January 1, 2012

herein : the new year

drawn by Thomas Digges, 1546 - 1595, astronomer & mathematician, the first to postulate (wunnerful word, postulate) the Copernican system in English, and the first to postulate (aaahhh) the dark night sky paradox [look it up in Wikipedia (I did) but basically it says that anywhere you looked into the sky, the infinity of stars means that there will be a star in your line of sight, and that means that the night sky would be covered in stars, and therefore completely white, rather than mostly dark] - in any case, whatever light comes to you from wherever, may your 2012 year bring you all it damn well ought to - cheers to y'all - and with the sincere affection of the printer/poet. . .