Wednesday, June 5, 2013

production restart on Jenson's Greek

fresh paper arrived yesterday from Magnani Papers Australia - mouldmade not handmade -  and which I will experiment printing dry, particularly with larger more solid color areas than 12 pt type - like these, from the forthcoming ode to Nicolas Jenson - 
whether these colors will be preserved is another matter - but I do like them nonetheless - from left to right the letters are 1) a double sigma/theta, in English 'sth', 2) psi, English 'ps', and 3) pi, English 'p' [even tho it looks like omega, in English a long 'o'] - since fifteenth century types, a number of joined and other forms of the letters have dropped away - 

right now I seem to be involved in a kind of revolution in thinking about what I do & how I do it in the printery - as much as anything by reading three things : David Pye, The Nature & Art of Workmanship; Ludwig Wittgenstein, Remarks on Colour; and John J McKendry, Robert Motherwell's "A la pintura", The Genesis of a Book - the proposed connections of course are within mine owne fever'd minde - but while I have often made, in the words of one reviewer, 'colourful books', I have never explored what happens to various colors in the mixing of 'em, nor other color ranges than the traditional printers' black first, then red, then blue, then a few others - among the 'others' have been the metallics silver, gold & copper, but nothing of the the earthy tones used by printmakers, burnt & raw sienna, Umber, red & yellow ochres - and the hell of it is that I have always responded feelingly to these latter colors while using the traditional ones instead - what a conservative & unadventurous lump I have been all these years - SO - a few cans of colored Graphic Chemical substances have arrived from Takach and a few more are coming soon - by the time I get to the type specimen book, the "&" project, there'll be a color shift in the Electio printshop - and I too will therefore be watching this space - I should never forget Alfred North Whitehead's lovely remark, All is there for feeling, plus Keats's note that he wished for a poetry in which thought & feeling both happened at once - if you don't feel it so, don't do it so - my lesson to myself today - 

Sunday, June 2, 2013

what to do with the pressman's angst

so far, I have drawn up two entirely different texts & modalities for "&" - both consigned to the reject pile - usually, when I have an idea for a book, it comes out of the general way of working, something pops up, an idea is triggered by thinking about or working on something else, or an old idea re-emerges as a distinct practical possibility, sometimes while printing or laying out a particular color, or setting a line of type - in other words, each new work tends to present itself while working on other things so that the pressure to make the new book comes from the very making of books itself - but a type specimen book is another matter, or so it has been to me - the idea of the book came first, without any sense at all of how the types may be exhibited - the notion of arranging alphabets on the page does not appeal, tho others have often done it brilliantly and I have been very grateful for seeing them - but for me, this is not how I work - most of the books come from the inside of the process, but the type specimen comes from the outside of it - and I'm now stuck, not sure how to move next - in my diary last night I wrote :

the '&' book has collapsed in the planning - so it's back to the beginning - return to the &s [one of the failed plans had dropped them] - the textual 'illustrations' in Clifford Burke's book ["Printing Poetry"] are more interesting - I should make texts that include caps & lc where they are in the font - in other words, I should compose in the type - & make sure that each text occupies a similar amount of space on each page - 

writing like that is hard to do, would, for me at any rate, take time - and time now is not quite what I have a lot of - it is however, a prospect that has been forming in my mind in writing texts to go alongside a number of images in a specific typeface, possibly different colors, and perhaps different positions on the page in relation to the images - but I have been living with some of those images for some weeks now & I don't expect the words to be too far away when I turn to do the required writing - in other words, while no words are on the paper with this project, I have been 'at work' on it since the images arrived in the mail - but with the type specimen book there is as yet nothing to rub up against, nothing to respond to or be resisted by -it must be put aside for now, and return to Jenson's Greek, waiting for new paper to arrive, and let the "&" book gestate until the emergence of a viable textual idea that will allow it to go ahead -