It has been a whirlwind of a week around here! We’re six weeks into the semester now, which is when things hit a little bit of a fever pitch. In my Hand-Printed Book class, I’ve spent the first several weeks looking at other people’s printed books, making mock-ups, doing printing experiments, and waxing Japanese papers (my first time with this — more on that soon), but time is waning, and it is now the time to order materials. This is the really scary part. Nice paper is expensive! Understandably so, of course, but since it’s also cumbersome to return and since you can wait a while for shipping, putting your order in is a major commitment. You want to be darn certain that you’ve calculated everything correctly based on size and grain direction and ordered the right amount in the right colors. In the end, it feels like a bit of a miracle if you get all of it correct. I am happy to report, however, that I have ordered almost everything that I need, which hopefully means that by this time next week, I will be scheduling a date with the board shear to cut all my paper down to size in order to be ready to start printing. Have you ever printed a book before? Did you know that cutting the paper alone can take multiple hours, even for a relatively small edition? I’m going to print 30 copies, which seems so measly, and yet the cost of materials (including paper for the textblock, endsheets, covers, shipping costs, polymer plate material, and thread for the binding) will run between $400 and 500. Oy. Hopefully they’ll fly of the small shelf that they occupy when all is said and done.
I’m printing a dramatic monologue called “A Dilettante” by Victorian poet Augusta Webster. The book will include the text printed on Rives Lightweight (a western text paper) as well as interleaved folios of a Japanese paper called Kitakata that will be printed with calligraphic imagery and then waxed. Above is a mock-up of facing text pages; below are some early and basic experimental prototypes for the calligraphy and waxing.
Since this is a lot of what I’ll be doing this semester, I’ll post updates as I have more to share. Next step: production schedule and setting type!