Monday, December 21, 2009

Miniature Books, A Outrance and Snow

I have been working on a miniature book recently. I had already engraved a panorama of Ely from the village and engraved a title page:

...and a colophon on separate blocks:

These were printed in the small Albion press to make a very wide image which I trimmed and folded, concertina fashion, to form the inside of the book:

The case of the book was cut from card and covered in various paste papers. I used thin ribbon at the spine. This was tied into bows to hold the book together.

Here is the finished book. I will explain the ribbons in a moment:

With the ribbons tied, you can open the book as normal:

However, if you untie the ribbons, you can open the book to see the whole panorama:

These books will shortly be available from my website.

Tuesday saw a long drive over to Oxford. We spent the afternoon in the Pitt Rivers Museum, a unique institution and then wandered around town as night started to fall. Then it was time to head for the Bodleian Library where A Outrance was being launched in the wonderful setting of the Divinity School:

Philip Pullman gave a wonderful reading from the extract of his novel, ending with a marvellous bear's roar!

Bruce from the Oak Tree Fine Press then spoke about the great needs of children suffering from the effects of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa. All of the proceeds from the sale of the books goes towards this cause.

I had seen the letterpress edition on Somerset paper at the Oxford Fine Press Fair and, despite the high price (but all for a very good cause), I decided that I had to have a copy of my own. The next day, I was able to spend some time with this beautiful volume which arrived snug in a slipcase:

It is a very handsome volume, half bound in leather:

With a wonderful hand marbled paper:

Opening the book, the engravings and letterpressed type look wonderful against the textured paper:

My decorated capital letters look particularly good with the use of red and black type:

Red type also adorns the pages where there are full page engravings:

Philip Pullman has added a line from the text and his signature underneath the engraved portrait by engraver and blockmaker Chris Daunt:

The top edges of the pages are gilt:

In the back of the book is a collection of the six full page engravings:

All signed by the artists and author:

One of my engravings was not used in the text but, instead, appears as a gold image:

All in all, this is a most beautiful addition to my bookshelves. Copies are still available from the Oak Tree Fine Press.

Luckily, the weather was fine on Tuesday and the drives to and from Oxford were uneventful. Since then, we have had snow for several days and I have enjoyed several walks through the lanes and droves:

This will be my last post before Christmas. I send every good wish to you at Christmas and for the New Year.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Christmas Open Studio

I am taking part in the following event this weekend:

Christmas Open Studio
The Studio at Beechcroft, 51 Fen End, Over, CB24 5NE
telephone 01954 230324
11am to 6pm on Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 November
Althea Braithwaite - brilliantly coloured fused glass
Andy English - wood engravings
Antonia Galloway - papier mache sculpture
Edward Parker - metal sculpture
Ken Smith - carved wooden birds

Meet the artists and enjoy your
Christmas shopping with mulled wine and mince pies

Friday Evening "Private View"
6:30 - 8:30pm

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Oxford and A Outrance

The Oxford Fine Press Fair is always a real treat and this year was no exception. I found an hotel just a short walk from the city centre but with lovely rural views. Here is what I could see looking out through one of my windows:

My journey on Friday was very pleasant and, once I had settled into my room, I did some last minute preparations and then slept soundly ready for a relatively early start in the morning.

Saturday morning found me setting up my table and stand.

As usual, I was engraving and well as selling. Copies of "25 Bookplates" and the "Freshly Cut" portfolio can be seen on the corner closest to the camera:

I was engraving a garden piece on a natural "round" of boxwood - one that I had started to engrave in Chicago.

Saturday was most pleasant and successful; the evening equally pleasant and relaxing.

On Sunday, I took the opportunity to explore the work of the other presses.

I was particularly keen to visit Oak Tree Fine Press to get my first view of "A Outrance", the extract from Philip Pullman's Northern Lights that I have contributed engravings for (see this earlier post). I was not disappointed.

It is a superbly produced book with a generous page size. It is available for sale here in three editions.

Seeing this exciting book, catching up with the Oak Tree Fine press Team and meeting Philip Pullman were just some of the things that made this a weekend that I will always remember.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Freshly Cut Portfolio

I decided to make thirty portfolios of the engravings that I had decided to edition from the "Freshly Picked" project. This is called "Freshly Cut". Each portfolio is handmade with red spine cloth and tie ribbons and marbled paper covered boards with dark green card inserts to hold the engravings.

I made a template so that I couyld sign each engraving neatly. This involved cutting a window in a clear plastic folder. It worked well:

Each portfolio contains the ten engravings with the same edition number. The first set are all numbered 1/100 and so on.

I decided that the images should be prefaced by a title page that I would print letterpress in the small Albion. I composed the type:

After printing a proof, I used makeready to give a neat and even printing:

Soon, printed sheets were drying on the rack:

I rather enjoy bookbinding and making the portfolios was a pleasant change. Here is the finished item:

Inside, a card folder contained the engravings:

All spread out:

The Freshly Cut Portfolio is available from my website at a price of £135.

These portfolios were destined for the Oxford Fine Press Fair. I took the opportunity to print some more copies of "Twenty Five Bookplates":

Its always a pleasure to use my nipping press:

However, bricks wrapped in brown paper provide the weight for larger stacks of drying volumes.

After a week of long days and late nights, everything was ready to set off for Oxford.