Saturday, November 12, 2011

printing Robert Creeley

I've been lucky enough to print work of Robert Creeley, twice. First, when he toured New Zealand in 1976 as part of a trip around the Pacific - the title of the book he wrote on this  tour was Hello, the title also of the specifically New Zealand leg of the journey, and which I printed on an Arab treadle platen (not motorised) later that year. Second, when he returned to New Zealand as a Senior Fulbright Fellow in 1996, where he spent a semester at the University of Auckland, and wrote the wonderful poem, The Dogs of Auckland. As it happened, artist Max Gimblett was in New Zealand for an extended stay at the same time, and I asked both if they'd like to do a book together for The Holloway Press where I was printer. Of Hello I made 750 copies, of which 50 were on Glastonbury Antique Laid paper & signed by Creeley, and the rest on a machine-made Conqueror Wove. The cover title is in Eusebius Open, a type I did not have then - I had found a specimen alphabet, which I photocopied and enlarged, cut out the letters I needed, pasted them up, sharpened the outlines by hand, then reduced the image to the size I wanted and had a zinc block made - the colour is a Morrison Ink titled Russet Brown, which is no longer available - and the page size of the book is the same size as that of the notebook Creeley used to write the words of Hello - here's the cover and the titlepage -
as can be seen, there's a bit of foxing and general wear & tear (my books have moved to more addresses than I sometimes want to remember -
         by the time I got to print The Dogs of Auckland Robert had returned home to the US but Max was still in Auckland and he assisted with the printing process thruout the production. Also assisting was the only intern I ever had, Natasha Herman, who now runs her Redbone Bindery in Canada, which can be seen here -
         here is a spread from The Dogs of Auckland, in which the title lettering is by Max Gimblett -
there is of course a problem with scale here - Hello's page size is 195x120mm, 7.75x4.75ins, while Dogs is 235x320mm, 9.25x12.5ins - the poor point & shoot camera and the vast complexity of the computer are nevertheless completely unequipped to preserve such basic things like exact colour, relative scale - and all that sort of thing. . .