53 Lines, an Artist’s Book commission

53 Lines Book Promo for webCaveworks Press has produced an artist’s book for Maintenance Ends Press, a Midwest-centric publishing imprint dedicated to bringing fresh, off-center voices into print.

Join Julie Russell-Steuart and publisher Todd Kimm on November 13 at 7pm at the James and Meryl Hearst Center for the Arts in Cedar Falls, Iowa for a book release party! Julie will show images of the process of making the book and talk a bit about it. Both 53 Lines and Voices after Evelyn will be available.


James and Meryl Hearst Center for the Arts, 304 W Seerley Blvd, Cedar Falls, IA 50613 Get directions

This limited edition artist’s book of 75, entitled 53 Lines, comes out in advance of the novel Voices after Evelyn by Rick Harsch (Fall 2018 Maintenance Ends Press) and excerpts a portion of the text from the first appearance in the novel of the Chorus voice. The novel seeks not so much to dig up a cold case–the 1953 disappearance of La Crosse, Wis, babysitter Evelyn Hartley–as re-open its heart.

Caveworks Press’ collaboration with Maintenance Ends Press is an unusual partnership that’s wholly due to publisher Todd Kimm’s vision and indirectly, Ice Cube Press, of which Maintenance Ends Press is an offshoot. Kimm describes the impetus, “The mission of this Iowa-based press is to bring together the talents and visions of all types of Midwest artists, from visual artists to musicians to photographers and, of course, writers. Julie is a great example of an artist coming up with brilliant things out there in rural Iowa, a place so often overlooked or discounted.”

Artist Julie Russell-Steuart of Caveworks Press explains that “artist’s books are a category of book arts that encompass the book as an art object.” In 53 Lines, the viewer is invited to explore the mystery of Evelyn’s disappearance through the book’s unique structure, called a tetra tetra flexagon. As the viewer moves though the unfoldings, recombinations and separations of images occur. Excerpt:

Evelyn, fingering her
Indian bead belt,
impotent talisman
against the pulmonic
dark moving
outside the windows

Artist Julie Russell-Steuart uses imagery, both hand-drawn and photographic, to pick up certain elements of the Chorus. Her photographs of the rock and fossil formations at the Iowa Coralville Dam become embedded in the narrative. Without knowing the full story of the novel, she based 53 Lines off the imagery suggested in the Chorus. The structure was designed to circle around the mystery.

Ms. Russell-Steuart will use the laser engraver at Cedar Valley Makerspace to cut the digitally printed interior and hand-set letterpress printed cover. The enclosure is constructed of paper, board and handmade paper, and the tetra-tetra-flexagon folded and hand-cut.

The origins of the changing-faces flexagon structure, of which there are many, date back to 1939, when a Princeton student, Arthur H. Stone, was folding paper to fit into his notebook. Several of his colleagues also became intrigued with his paper folding and they formed the Princeton Flexagon Committee. Now, flexagons are embraced by mathematicians and book artists alike for their magical yet logical properties.

Find order information for 53 Lines at http://www.icecubepress.com
Funds raised through the purchase of 53 Lines support Maintenance Ends Press and adventurous, diverse, thoughtful books.

About Maintenance Ends Press and Voices after Evelyn:

Maintenance Ends Press begins with the notion of exploring and discovering what lies beyond the path of the familiar. In that spirit, the press aims to expand the notion of that most underestimated of safe zones, the Midwest. Voices after Evelyn is a fugue of voices across time (cracked, offensive, profound) reverberating toward today, when the phantoms of so-called innocence and greatness grow scarier than whatever took Evelyn away.

On Rick Harsch

Rick Harsch appeared on the American literary scene in 1997 with the cult classic The Driftless Zone, followed by Billy Verite and Sleep of the Aborigines (all Steerforth Press) to form The Driftless Trilogy.

Born and bred in the Midwest, Harsch received degrees in sociology and history from UW La Crosse and lived there off and on for 22 years. He migrated to the Slovene coastal city of Izola in 2001, Rick is also author of Arjun and the Good Snake (2011, Amalietti & Amaliette), Wandering Stone: The Streets of Old Izola (2017, Mandrac Press), and The Manifold Destiny of Eddie Vegas (2018, River Boat Books).

The author lives in Izola still, with his wife and two children. He teaches about 100 hours a year at a maritime academy in Trieste, and has co-authored numerous scientific works in the maritime field.

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