Sunday, January 6, 2013

Vale Steve Pratt

looking this morning at Milroy Rollins's blog (Heavenly Monkey) I'm distressed to find that the maker of my Albion press (and one of Milroy's), has died of cancer. Go to Milroy's blog to see more of Steve's history - here's a photo of Steve Pratt and one of his Albions - I have, I have to say, taken this direct from Milroy's blog - 
each of the Pratt-Albions (as they are sometimes called) are dated and numbered - mine is number 11, dated 2001 - and the last information I have about the most recent one is number 18 - tho, if there are any later ones, I'd very much appreciate knowing - what I do know is that a small gathering of Pratt-Albion owners will be at CODEX 2013 in February -
here's mine (even tho I have posted this before - 
Steve Pratt's Albions are reproduced from a small (foolscap folio) Albion made by D & J Grieg, Edinburgh (I think in the 1860s - anyone have better information?) once owned by the late great printer Lewis Allen at his (with his wife Dorothy) Allen Press in California - 
at Allen's death, his printery was gifted to the University of Utah, and somehow a decision was made to strip the little Albion down and make reproductions - for me, owning this press is a special story - in the mid-1970s I discovered Lewis Allen's Printing with the handpress (Van Nostrand Reinhold 1969) and this book became, and was so for many years, my close-read handbook on printing, along with Clifford Burke's Printing poetry -  later, in 1982, in Fine Print Vol VIII, No. 1, Lewis Allen reviewed I book I had printed, of short aphorisms on the creative process plus a number of drawings by designer-bookbinder Edgar Mansfield - Allen was very kind in his review, and I wrote to him saying so and with thanks - after that we had an occasional & sporadic correspondence that I should say did not venture into the craft of the art of printing at any real level - and the last card I had from him arrived just a few months before he died - so, to have a copy of one of his presses (which I ordered just over 20 years after Allen's review) on the other side of the world was and is to me one of the most significant connections I have with the centres of the craft, which are decidedly not in Australia or New Zealand - now, all my printing is done on the Lewis Allen press, and I am thus in daily memory of him and of Steve Pratt - in this sense, every time I touch the press I honour the memories now of both men, and salute the pleasure & information I have gained from their labours - Vale, Steve Pratt - Vale, Lewis Allen -