Lumiere's Shining New Light

Received notice of a new book from Michael Torosian's Lumiere Press, Steichen: Eduard et Voulangis. The book publishes for the first time 16 photographs taken by Edward Steichen between 1915 and 1923, with an accompanying text by Torosian. (Factoid: Steichen was the most-published photographer in Alfred Stieglitz's journal Camera Work, for which he also designed a logo and typeface.)

Over the past three decades Lumiere Press has established a reputation for publishing books with and about 20th century photographers, designed, printed letterpress and bound by Torosian at his Toronto shop. Although Lumiere Press doesn't seem to come up often within the narrow context of discussions about contemporary fine press activity in Canada (a short discussion at best), Torosian has been consistently publishing some of the country's most interesting and beautiful limited edition letterpress books. He's also one of very few people combining a passion for traditional book arts with a deep interest in photography, a field that has been at the center of contemporary art in exactly the way "fine press" publishing hasn't. The Lumiere Press site also has excellent images and information about its books and methods of work. Worth a look.


Making an Exhibition of Ourselves

Another post from last weekend's Wayzgoose printing fair, this one all about us (mostly). Jim Westergard and his wife flew in from Red Deer to accompany Oddballs' first (& only, at least by us) exhibition in Canada, and it was brilliant to have them on hand. As previously mentioned, we printed up 10 copies of a poster ganging all 40 (plus one) of the oddballs together, which Jim signed and numbered with assistance from the HM devil, before the doors opened. These are 22 x 30 inches (image area is about 12 x 21 inches), giclée printed on 180 g all-rag paper. A few copies of these remain, priced at $60. 

Barbara Hodgson was on hand to discuss The WunderCabinet, a display of which occupied most of HM's second table. As shown above, she didn't get a minute's rest all day, in large part due to an interview with her about the project which aired on CBC Radio's North By Northwest show that morning. As proven in previous years, a mention of the wayzgoose on Sheryl McKay's show assures a significant boost in attendance at the show, and this year was no different: many people came in specifically to see the book and meet Barbara, having heard the interview that morning. A podcast of can be found here.

Jim was diligent about pulling his weight as an exhibitor, but he did manage to make a few circuits of the room over the course of the day. Below he's talking to HM's secret weapon, Reg Lissel, who was demonstrating how to make paste papers. 

Jim brought along a number of the trade books that feature his artwork, and lucky people snapped these up (and got them signed). Jim's off to Toronto in late November for an event organized by Beasts of New York publisher The Porcupine's Quill. It will be an evening's discussion between/among Jim, author Jon Evans, and Toronto printmaker George Walker. 


Things We Saw

A few things we saw at the Wayzgoose printing fair in Vancouver....

Marlene Yuen's A Haunting History of Vancouver. A collection of short ghost stories that Marlene culled from and about neighborhoods in Vancouver (the book, published this year, also commemorates the city's 125th anniversary). The text and images were silkscreened, with additional glow-in-the-dark colors printed on the images. Marlene had a haunted house set up on her table, with a dormer window that let you peek in and see one of her pages glowing. Very cool. Accordion fold in printed boards, edition of just eight copies, a steal at $300. See more about the book and Marlene's other work here.

Peter Braune created an etching that he and Lesley Anderson editioned at their table (next to HM). Quite lovely. An addition to Peter's large collection of frog art. (We must ask him about the origins of his frog fascination.) Among the many imaginative cut-outs and pop-ups at Judy Ng's table, the HM devil (below, being shown by Peter how to ink the plate) found a card that opens to reveal a croaking frog, so she got it for Peter.

Emma Lehto's work stood out from the crowd (look under Typography, page 2). In concept and execution, it reminded us of the books Cara Barer creates for her photographs. While the Danielle Steel paperbacks that had been blasted with shotgun and rifle (the spent shells on display in a Lucite box) where dramatic (the paperbacks proved surprisingly resilient), her most sublime work on display with a completely deconstructed copy of a Lemony Snicket book: she cut out each individual work in the book (she must have used two copies, one for the recto words and one for the verso), and then assembled these on letter-sized sheets of paper in alphabetical order, i.e. all of the word "after" glued down in neat rows, then "and," then... Thus, the entire story was there to flip through.

Polly Elsted, daughter of Jan & Crispin (a.k.a. Barbarian Press) was there with a prospectus for a new book from her Horse Whisper Press, featuring wood engravings by former BP collaborator Peter Lazarov. Balancing production with her undergrad in English, she hopes to have the book completed in early 2012... Greenboathouse Press was there with copies of the latest books on hand, including poet Robert Kroetsch's last work... Reg Lissel was making paste papers, and a mess... Phyllis Greenwood was making marbled papers, and a bit of a mess but not as much as Reg... Finally met Marcus Fahrner. He had a small book on hand called Hell Box - The Book, which, if we got the story straight, is a sort-of reduced reprint version of an extensively illustrated text detailing the development of printing technologies. That's probably not quite right. It looked intriguing, but the Fahrner & Farhner Web site is somewhat inscrutable, so we'll have to track Marcus down again in person... The Bowler Press continues its descent into the depths of Jane Austen, a voyage that is heading toward a three-volume edition (with text set by hand) of Pride and Prejudice... Lucie Lambert has a new book, but every time we went by her table there were people clustered around, so we didn't get a chance to see it or talk to her... Andrea Taylor had just completed her second suite of prints in the Artists' Portrait series. HM assisted with production of the first suite, in 2009, but our schedules didn't match up for this one, so Andrea set and printed the text pages herself. More beautiful intaglio portraits of (mostly) 20th century artists. Lucien, shown below, is from the first series.

There was more to see, but attending to our own tables prevented us from getting around to everyone. Perhaps in future years we can think of a way to introduce a social aspect to the event, to allow us to mix and mingle more. For whatever reason, Vancouver seems to have book arts silos, as opposed to a book arts community.


Get Your 'Goose

The bi-annual Alcuin Society Wayzgoose in Vancouver this coming weekend. Seems to be some attrition among the local printing scene, never a good thing but most particularly unfortunate here that it's among the younger (i.e. under 40) members. But HM will be there: Barbara Hodgson will be laying out a mini-exhibit with a copy of The WunderCabinet on one table, and Jim Westergard will be traveling in from Red Deer to show off Oddballs. Our Oddballs poster (10 copies, signed & numbered by Jim) will be on display & available. The New Leaf Editions crew will be there, pulling copies of an original etching created for the fair, and showing copies of a new book created by artist Kitty Blandy. Reg Lissel will be there, showing people simple ways to create paste papers. Saturday 22 October, main branch of the public library, 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.. Free admission to all.


Oddballs (sold) Out

The first tranche of the Oddballs edition - about 20 of the 35 copies - was retrieved from Claudia Cohen's bindery last weekend. Half of those were immediately taken down to the Seattle Book Fair and delivered to exhibitors who had ordered copies. It was strange having no time to digest the completed, bound book - after over two years of planning and work - before placing it in the hands of our customers. But it was also fun flipping through it with them, watching reactions and seeing how different oddballs stood out to different people.

The binding, as previously described (but not as initially described, way back when) is full Japanese cloth over boards. Befitting the book's size, and to act as a counterpoint to the binding's simplicity, we wanted an imposing spine. It actually is a leather label, which Claudia managed to match very closely with the blue of the cloth. The endsheets are Guarro laid, like the text, but in a blue-gray color. As Claudia pointed out, the book becomes more monochromatic as you get into it (with the exception of the title page, the book is entirely white and black).

The tipped-in prints required building up the spine with paper shims - a total of 26 per copy - to even things out. It's still an awful lot of tip ins, and not our preferred approach, but as described in the Publisher's afterword, it was the only way to combine Jim's paper preference for his engravings, with HM's preference for printing text. The size of the book also required strong hinges, which were made of the same cloth. For the pastedowns, Claudia used a generic sans serif D to echo the book's double-D design in gilt.

In our last post we reported that a few copies remained available from the edition. Since the book's debut in Seattle, we're happy to report that it is now sold out. Most copies, however, went to our regular booksellers, and copies are available from them.

A final note: the book was issued with a glassine wrap. This should not be considered part of the book proper; it's intended only to protect the book while in transit to a new home.


Oddballs Creeping Out

The Seattle book fair is this weekend, and copies of Oddballs are being picked up from Claudia Cohen's bindery on Saturday morning and taken directly to exhibitors who have placed orders. So we'll have the drive from Claudia's chateau to downtown to become acquainted with the completed project before sending it out to the world. (Even Jim Westergard and Barry Moser won't get their copies until next week, by which time it'll be too late to remove their names from the thing.) Most of the edition has been spoken for, but we'll still have a couple of copies on hand available at the publication price of $1,800.

A copy will be on exhibit - along with the artist himself! - at the upcoming Alcuin Society Wayzgoose, to be held in Vancouver on October 22. It's a one-day printing and book arts fair, open to the public. We also plan on having a few copies of the print shown above available for purchase. The print expands on a preliminary concept for the book's title page, abandoned for a variety of technical and common sense reasons. But it works as a print, and so we're doing a few up, printed a la giclée (French for ink jet) on rag paper. The image measures 10.5 by 21.5 inches (about twice what it would have been in the book), on a sheet 20 by 30 inches.

And so the very long road travelled by the Oddballs, starting with a visit to Vancouver by Jim and his wife Carol in the summer of 2009, is coming to an end. Next in the press: the third volume in Claudia Cohen and Barbara Hodgson's colo(u)r series, Occupied by Colour - The Palette at Work.