Sunday, July 14, 2013

Week 28: Horizon

  This week's book is titled Horizon. Like all of the Book-A-Week books, Horizon is made as a stiff leaf book.  It's pages are of Stonehenge paper and it has hard book board covers with a book cloth spine piece of gray silk that matches the hinge material inside the book. The illustrations are collograph prints. The text was printed on a Golding® Pearl letterpress with 24-point Brush type.

   This is the is a platen press.. meaning it has a flat plate to which the paper is attached which presses against the type to make the print. I call this press Pearl and I fell in love with her the first time I saw her a couple years ago. This press is probably about 100 years old and was manufactured by the Golding company of Boston, Massachusetts. You can read more about this press at:  My Pearl came to North Carolina from a letterpress shop near Ann Arbor, Michigan a couple years ago. I purchased her from a shop in the NC mountains and moved her to Raleigh last year. This week (Week 28!) was the first time I have printed on Pearl. Wow! What a sweetheart to work with.... everything worked just fine and I'm pretty excited!!!!
   Equally fun was making the illustrations. These prints were made on an etching press, not Pearl. (I haven't named my etching press.. wonder what would fit... rePete? Mark? Bruiser?) The illustrations are a series of collograph prints made from the same matrix (plate) of torn paper and a piece of pleated fabric glued onto a piece of bookboard to resemble a horizon. What a fun and exciting day that was experimenting with ink color! Using either a brayer or a squeegie (to get in the low spots) I applied several ink colors to the matrix... each time wiping the surface with a soft rag... thus leaving some colors in the nooks and crannies of the collograph plate and others on the higher spots and surface plane. This complex application produced lots of blending of the transparent oil-based inks, creating new and unexpected colors and hues.  Collograph printing creates a lovely layering effect which can be really surprising. For some of us printers, this process never produces two prints exactly alike.. just like life.

This is the poem, Horizon...

                                                             This horizon
                                                             It is an end
                                                            It is a beginning

                                                           It lies at the edge
                                                           of what is now
                                                           and what is yet to be

                                                           Silent as a broad sea
                                                           meeting the sky

                                                          A raucous mountain sunset
                                                          streaky with magenta,
                                                          orange, and red

                                                           This bridge
                                                           This curtain
                                                           This door
                                                           This line
                                                           This ridge

                                                           Two dimensions
                                                           Seen and not
                                                           This horizon
                                                           It is not an end
                                                           It is the point to transcend

   All books should include a colophon.. the biography of the book... which might include anything about the making of the book and sometimes includes the weather or the printer's frame of mind! In commercial books they are often found at the beginning of the book along with the copyright information. Sometimes they are printed at the end of the book. Horizon's colophon is on the last page of the book.. and is pretty circumspect for such an auspicious printing at Orange Lantern Press.

Finally, the back cover is another horizon... of a sunrise... or a sunset.. depending on how you look at it.