Some reflections on The Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair – 2014

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Finally returned home after a long stay in New York and still very energized and excited from the fair. It is always a treat to see my fellow printers and the work they produce and this show was exceptional with the breadth of fine presses in attendance. There were 43 of us from around the world exhibiting our work for those two days and not nearly enough time to catch up with many of them and meet new people. Representation from the UK, Germany, Canada, Chile, Guatemala and parts in-between all converged on Manhattan for the inaugural NY FPBA show coinciding with Rare Book Week and countless events and exhibits around the city.

The fair started off for many of us with a lovely reception at The Grolier Club for the exhibitors and friends where I had the opportunity to finally meet a great advocate of contemporary fine press, Chris Adamson, who writes the Books and Vines Blog. Chris also arranged a smaller gathering of some of us after the Grolier Club at the home of Mrs. Jeanne Shiff (of the Limited Editions Club.) where Peter Koch and I quickly digressed from books to trout and I had the pleasure to meet David Pascoe of Nawakum Press and Richard Wagener of Mixolydian Editions among others. I had slipped a copy of my Saturnalia in my sport coat pocket and felt a little sheepish giving it to Jeanne as a little thank you token for having us at her home and felt a little uncomfortable at her enthusiasm for it. It seems the LEC never published anything with collagraphs as illustration, just my luck to miss out on a potential opportunity to work with George Macy and Sid Shiff although an opportunity that would have only likely existed before I was born!

The show was well attended, I haven’t talked that much and seen that many people in months and months. A grueling pace for a slacker like me who prefers to work nights and sip coffee ’till noon. I had the fortune to have my table between John Randle of Whittington Press and Walter Bachinski of Shanty Bay Press with good friend Graham Moss of Incline Press nearby as well so I had plenty to digest in moments of spare time as I flipped through copies of John and Rosalind’s publication Matrix, now on #31, gleaning ideas for my own forthcoming journal (No, I haven’t forgotten that one – more to come soon!) and many other very well printed, illustrated and bound books. Fellow printer extraordinaire Russell Maret hosted many of us at his home Sunday evening after the fair for those of us who could still stand and talk and he and his wife Annie were gracious hosts (with very palatable scotch, thank you Russell). My first real taste of the city that evening as I hoofed it home from East 70 something Street down to my lovely accommodations on 1st and A in East Village.

The bookish fun didn’t end there either as I had meetings after the weekend at the New York Public Library where I got to admire yet another copy of the Gutenberg Bible and then on to The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Unfortunately after my meeting at the Met I had only about 20 minutes to explore before the museum closed for the day and all that was readily available was the Byzantine section. I’ll be back. That morning I had walked up 6th Ave and came back down 5th shuffling my way through to the end of a work day for many and the beginning for many more. I found an Orvis Shop on 5th Avenue and was quickly assured by the staff that despite the obvious lack of (live) trout in Manhattan it was the highest grossing retail store in the franchise. Another likely fish story… I ended up loving New York and will return for the next show and any other opportunity that might present. Coming from me it’s a huge personal compliment to a city but New York energy is different somehow and feeds the soul in a different way I suppose.

Once again I’m going to link to the FPBA page here that has a mostly complete list of exhibitors. I’ve had to reference it a few times myself as the reality of NY shifts more into a dream like state. And again I’d like to mention the Books and Vines website where you will likely find many of the above mentioned printer’s books reviewed and accompanied by many photos.

Some pictures of the show and highlights of the trip, I couldn’t get away from the table much during the exhibit so most of these are from during set up time. Also, I wish I had taken more pictures of the beautiful books, broadsides and prints but hopefully some of you might follow the abundant links above and explore them as the makers best show them in this strange interweb we occupy our time with.

Hope to see many again at Oak Knoll Fest XVIII: October 3-5, 2014 in New Castle Delaware this fall.

 

Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair ~ Book list for April 5th & 6th

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This is just a little list of items I’ll have available for next weeks big show in New York. I’m pulling out some of the older titles I haven’t shown in a while where there may only be one or two copies left for sale and I’ll also have some of the broadsides available for purchase.

Looking forward to meeting some new people whom I’ve only had the pleasure of communicating with online or snail mail. Chris Adamson, who has the excellent blog Books and Vines, will be attending the show along with a few others coming in from all parts of the world. Hope to see some of you there!

Books:

  • The Intruder, by Robert Traver with wood engravings by Jim Westergard
  • Heart of Darkness, by Joseph Conrad illustrated by Marc Castelli
  • The Path, by Sigrid Christiansen with lino cuts by Chad Pastotnik
  • Saturnalia, by H.P. Lovecraft with a collagraph by Chad Pastotnik
  • Killing The Bear, by Judith Minty with wood engravings by Glenn Wolff
  • There Be Monsters, written and illustrated by Chad Pastotnik with lino cuts
  • The Changeling’s Exile, by Gerard Wozek with an intaglio print by Chad Pastotnik
  • The Frogs Who Wished A King, Aesop with intaglio prints by Chad Pastotnik
  • Ripping Oblivion, written and illustrated by Steve Toornman with his intaglio prints
  • The Legend of Minisens, by Judith Hitz with lino cuts and intaglio by Steve Toornman, Meredith Krell and Chad Pastotnik
  • Folly, written and illustrated by Erin Murray with lino cut. Erin was my star apprentice a couple years back.

Broadsides:

  • The Mad Angler’s Manifesto, by Michael Delp with lino cut by Chad Pastotnik
  • If, by Rudyard Kipling with a wood engraving by Chad Pastotnik
  • Along With Youth, by Earnest Hemingway with a wood engraving by Jim Horton
  • The Trout in Winter, by Jerry Dennis with an intaglio print by Glenn Wolff
  • Where They Run, map of Montauk Point, Long Island. Intaglio by Glenn Wolff
  • September Inverness, by Robert Hass

I’ll also have along some other small ephemera which is rarely seen outside the studio.

 

 

 

Early spring update – off to NY

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Well I’ll fully admit to being a slacker here. My thanks to those of you who have subscribed despite the lack of recent posts here on the blog. Aside from the inevitable destruction distraction of the holidays with young children it has been an interesting year so far which has kept me mostly off the computer and the whole social network thing. Family sicknesses, a fried motherboard on the studio computer, a failed septic system and an unrelenting winter here in Northern Michigan have kept me relatively unproductive here in the studio. It’s March 25th and we got another 4″ last night to add to the 3′ still on the ground – I love winter, and this has been the best XC skiing in a decade but….

So, unprepared as I am with new work, I’m off to Big Apple for the inaugural Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair coming up in less than two weeks. Some more information can be found here at the FPBA website.

FPBA-NYBF-postcard

This will be my first trip to New York actually and I have mixed feelings about that. It’s no secret that I like to cloister myself in my studio, not leaving for months and finding all the hidden night life on a trout stream still has a lot more interest for me than Broadway but this is business and one must make sacrifices I suppose.

I am looking forward to seeing my book friends though. These are people I only see at these sorts of events and gatherings – makers of fine books like myself, those who collect my work and others who work in this rather specialized trade. An extra treat will be to see good friend Graham Moss from UK’s Incline Press whom I stayed with on my lecture trip to England 4 years ago. I’m very fortunate that I have use of a friends penthouse in the East Village and will be in town for a few days after the fair to meet with some of my institutional collectors at the Met, MOMA and The NY Public Library.

This is very late notice for some of you but if you’re planning to be in NY for Book Week and the “Best Book Fair in the World” please consider a visit to the FPBA fair. Here’s a link for Rare Book Week which sums up all the major happenings going on in the city.

Some nice bits of PR or “Black Arts Tuesday”

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Last week, right before Thanksgiving, Jonah Olgles from Outside Magazine online requested a pdf of the Mad Angler’s Manifesto. I wasn’t sure what his plan was but happily sent one along. Apparently Jonah is a old fan of Michael Delp and he put up a very nice piece about our broadside though I wish now I had sent a better image. Jonah has let the cat out of the bag in the article so yes, very soon, squeezed in before Oscar Wilde, there will be a new edition of The Mad Angler Poems with 12 new pieces to make 25 in the collection. I can’t help myself, I love these poems and they speak to me more than most so they must be a DWP book. As Judith Minty wrote:

No writer is more at one with the river than Michael Delp. It is as if he emerges from mud and rock, the very soul of moving water, to speak its words, to sing its songs. He is a true mystic, a celebrant of life on this earth…

This is the sort of fluke exposure that artists daydream about before the holidays. While I can’t complain it seems I’ve spent the better parts of my recent days packing up shipments. If you’ve been waiting to get a copy of the broadside, I wouldn’t wait much longer, they’re going fast at the moment. Thank you Jonah.

Chris Adamson, from his Books and Vines blog has also put online a very nice piece about supporting your favorite fine presses this year instead of big retailers. It has a nice mention of Deep Wood Press and also shows the Mad Angler print. This blog post features other fine presses as well with images and links to some of the more affordable offerings out there to be had. Chris writes with an interesting perspective about the people who make the books he loves, a very entertaining read.

Saturnalia by HP Lovecraft and other seasonal offerings

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Saturnalia is the Feast of Saturn in ancient Rome which traditionally begins around December 15th – Beautiful bit of verse suitable for the holidays or any time of year and a very nice example of Howard Phillip Lovecraft’s early poetry. Handset in 14pt Freehand type with Menu Shaded on the title page and printed on Hahnemühle Schiller paper from Germany. Original collagraph image and border design by Chad Pastotnik. Pamphlet stitched with 450gsm (heavy) Twinrocker Micah Rose covers, a heavy Arches Black spine, printed washi eastern pattern flyleaves and silver foil stamped title on the cover.
6 pages, 4 3/4 x 5 1/2 inches. Signed by Chad Pastotnik, edition of 60 books. $30.00 and can be found on the website here.

This is another case of a little project of mine that dated back to 1996 which continued to get much demand. Unbeknowst to me, somewhere on my website there was still a “buy” button that was miraculously still active with PayPal and, of course, someone found it a couple weeks ago and ordered a bunch of them. Hmmm, what to do? The greedy capitalist in me suggested a 2nd edition and upon examining the original collagraph intaglio plate it showed to be in pristine condition. It’s also a piece that I wanted to do better justice to – back in ’96 I didn’t have the type selection I have now and it was originally set in an ugly sans serif font of Twentieth Century that was hardly harmonious with the subject, the choice of supporting materials is also much nicer.

May I also humbly offer up some other stocking stuffer ideas? I recently added a page of ephemeral items that might please a print loving friend or two this season. Check them out here on the Cards, Coasters & Journals page.

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A little piece for Nikki Giovanni

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I’ve started a little partnership with the Traverse City National Writers Series which was started by Doug Stanton (and a couple others) back in 2009. Since its inception nearly 70 writers  of note from around the world have come to Northern Michigan to give readings in the Traverse City Opera House, meet the local book culture and perhaps ingest enough of our region to spark their imaginations in other creative ways.

This Wednesday on Devil’s Night Nikki will be giving a reading and then, of course, you can buy her books, chat a little and, if you’re lucky, get something signed. As a bonus for buying a book on this evening you will receive a copy of the little broadside I made for Nikki and the NWS.

An edition of 100 broadsheets in two colors, composed in 14pt Egmont and Americana titling and printed on light grey Whiting Brockway stock.

Poetry by Nikki Giovanni

Giovanni

 

New Literary Journal – Need a name!

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For the past month or so I’ve been I in the early stages of forming a literary journal, a biannual with an overall nature motif and each issue will have a theme with the first issue centered around “creation stories”. I’ve got some literary heavy hitters already on board, an editing staff and even the format worked out but what we’ve failed to come up with is a name.

Of course it will be letterpress printed and include original artwork from wood engravings and linocuts. Open to all writing – fiction, non-fiction, poetry and short stories that might work in a serialized format. No politics – to ephemeral.

But in order to start promoting and informing the world at large we exist we need a name to attach to a website/blog and print media.

Here’s where you come in dear reader. If you have an idea that you would care to share please comment. If it’s a really really good idea send it to me in a personal message. If we use your idea you will be compensated with a year subscription to our humble effort.

proto cover

This image is taken from a cover I did for the Wood Engravers Network publication Block & Burin, #24 Winter 2000 that featured one of my wood engravings and a quote from Thoreau – with a little digital editing so you get the idea.

New York, here I come….

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What does the Deep Woods have to do with New York? Normally, absolutely nothing, there are no trout in New York.

However, yesterday I got a notice that the Fine Press Book Association (see sidebar link) is sponsoring a new event in conjunction with the Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Show (Shadow Fair) which is in conjunction with the New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory:

~ The Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair

April 5th and 6th, 2014 at the Altman Building on 135 West 18th Street.

Saturday, 5pm-9pm and Sunday 8am-4pm

More details to come as the event has just been announced but if this year proves successful it will join the ranks of the FPBA sponsored fairs at Oak Knoll in Delaware and at Oxford in the UK. More chances for me to catch up with fellow printers and meet those on the collecting side of things. Northern Michigan has lots of trout but no other fine press book publishers.

The Altman Building in Manhattan.

The Altman Building in Manhattan.

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