While I can’t call myself a typophile in the exhaustively knowledgeable sense (and I do know a few of these “founts of knowledge”) I do aspire to be a sensitive publisher. Did anyone catch the pun??? So with Ray Young Bear’s manuscript of poetry in mind, I thought “how can I be sensitive to Native American history?” and not reference a another culture by the very choice of typeface? You might not know it, but typefaces carry with them baggage, um, I mean history. For example, a metal typeface I used in Crazy Eddy on the Judgement Day by Mary Swander, Garamond, was ascribed to Claude Garamond, a French type designer in the sixteenth century. The face continued to be modified in the nineteenth century by American type foundries. A break from all this entrenched history seemed in order.
I decided to go with something completely different than anything I would find in my metal type cabinets: Journal OT (Open Type) is a typeface designed by Zusana Licko in Berkley, California in 1990. In The Elements of Typographic Style, Robert Bringhurst describes it as a Postmodern type, “. . .rough and concrete rather than lyrical and abstract,” and further:
Licko has exploited the harsh economies of digital plotting routines, slicing from control point to control point not with a knife, file or chisel, but with digitized straight lines.
I find it interesting that Bringhurst describes Postmodern art as ” for the most part highly self-conscious, but devoutly unserious.” Young Bears’s poetry feels this way to me, always conscious of the place in the Meskwaki culture he speaks from, yet never heavy-handed, and often humorous and ironic.
One of the advantages of purchasing a font is that you are buying access to so many options built in to it: Above: my InDesign screen shot showing the Discretionary Ligatures, or connected letterforms that you can optionally use.
- Small Capitals From Capitals
- Case-sensitive Forms
- Discretionary Ligatures
- Standard Ligatures
- Lining Figures
- Oldstyle Figures
- Proportional Figures
- Scientific Inferiors
- Small Caps
- Tabular Figures
Here is a close up of the word “scaffold” which contains two fs next to each other. While there is nothing inherently wrong with non-connecting fs, especially in body copy, it’s little tweaks like these that I enjoy putting into practice. Another great option is the variety of number forms or figures, which is proving very useful in this text.
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed this little peek at what going into the typesetting of Manifestation Wolverine by Ray Young Bear.
by Ray Young Bear
I would like to invite you to follow along with this project from its beginnings as a manuscript by Meskwaki poet Ray Young Bear. I plan to document the progress of this hybrid letterpress/offset book, as I go about designing the interior pages, planning and making the illustration plates, and of course printing and hand binding. The above picture shows my wolverine sketch for the centerpiece illustration, which will be translated to a wood engraving. The blue paper is the cover paper choice: So Wool in Blue Jersey by Boutique. For the cover I am going to try something a little different. The cover image will either be embossed or debossed without ink. Emboss: raised design. Deboss: impressed design (the typical letterpress impression but with more depth.) The image will “manifest” from the paper! If you would like to see all the posts regarding this undertaking, hit the “follow” button that is hovering in the lower right corner. I hope you will join me on this journey and come to a reading this spring! The first reading scheduled is May 1, 2014, 7pm, James & Meryl Hearst Center for the Arts, 304 West Seerley Blvd. Cedar Falls, IA 50613.
Posted in Caveworks Press titles, Letterpress, Manifestation Wolverine, Poetry
Tagged caveworks press, collagraph, concertina binding, Julie Russell-Steuart, Manifestation Wolverine, poetry, Ray Young Bear, wood engraving
New book of poetry forthcoming
Caveworks Press was chosen to receive an Iowa Arts Council grant to produce a brand new book of poetry by Native American poet Ray Young Bear, which will be entitled Manifestation Wolverine. The book will be a hybrid of offset and letterpress printing featuring wood engravings, pressure prints, and hand binding.
It’s listed with other grants on the Iowa Arts Council website.
I’m planning on doing all sorts of documentation: blog posts, photographs, videos (YouTube debut!) and presentation work to share the letterpress printing traditions. I really want to help poetry reading audiences understand the hand processes involved to produce this book –of wood or linoleum carving, making pressure prints, and binding. I’m looking forward to continuing my experimentation with the pressure prints, which began as a background image in a print, Evanescence. I continued experimenting with ways of making images in Throwaway, an artist’s book, using found items and “painting” with glue. See this image.
I’m incredibly grateful to the Iowa Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and poet Ray Young Bear for the opportunity to publish Manifestation Wolverine as a fine press title from Caveworks Press.
The project is supported, in part, by the Iowa Arts Council, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and the National Endowment for the Arts.
The article as it appears in the Summer 2012 issue in
the North American Review
Back when I was attending a poetry class at the University of Northern Iowa
—amid the concentration and depth of a single class that fit with my work schedule, amid the mornings spent, bent to my drawing table, crafting language, I became a reader at the North American Review. It was an experience that I will never forget. We readers lounged in the office absorbing earnest poetry submissions, noting our reactions, inner ears attuned to rhythms in word patterns, sound sense, the overall “Mono no aware”, a Japanese term that refers to the essential meaning of an artwork, beyond the superficial, housed in the moment of discovery. I was looking for such moments in the poetry I was reading.
At poetry review meetings, armed with our copies of poems that had been culled from submissions, a stack at least an inch thick, we discussed which poems we liked and why. We got to know each other’s likes and dislikes. I became an unsung champion for poets who had written a poem I thought was outstanding and should be published. I am proud to say, because of me, that poem was published, though the poet will never know what I had done. My duty was to support excellence.
Now as a publisher of small press poetry titles, the same fire burns. It is my pleasure to get to know the poets I work with, to support them more fully by designing books myself, printing them, arranging readings, and being so closely involved.
I am working on another poet’s book plan presently, and I hope to be posting some details in the near future, as well as a Kickstarter campaign.
I’m pleased to announce the completion the first in an edition of 20 for the current BookArtObject Edition #4, one of one hundred titles taken from an artist’s book by Sarah Bodman. Below is the colophon for Throwaway:
C O L O P H O N
BookArtObject Edition Four, Group Five, http://bookartobject.blogspot.com
Title #99 of 100 taken from An Exercise for Kurt Johannessen (2010), by permission of the author, Sarah Bodman.
Throwaway (2013) by Julie Russell-Steuart explores ways in which our culture/economy tosses aside things.
With permission from http://wearethe99percent.tumblr.com, two people’s stories have been adapted poetically. “Throwaway” materials like cereal boxes and string were used to make pressure prints on hand-painted DuPont Tyvek, a spun polyester material that is 100% recyclable and safe for landfills. The format is an accordion style booklet that opens up on the other side to a map style folding.The text is letterpress printed with hand-set types in English Caslon Oldstyle 37, Century Bold, Della Robbia, and Style Script. The box enclosure was constructed with the design and engineering skills of David Steuart, and is made from boards covered in hand-painted Tyvek.
Posted in Artist's Books, Caveworks Press titles, Letterpress
Tagged accordion binding, artist's books, BookArtObject, caveworks press, collagraph, Julie Russell-Steuart, letterpress, poetry, printing on tyvek
Letterpress printed broadside of poem “Human Acquisitions” by Julie Russell-Steuart.
Originally printed for the 2010 APA poster bundle, with 55 prints reserved for sale. Handset type in gray and linoleum cuts in two colors on gray Stonehenge paper. There are about 45 left.
$45.00 Human Acquisitions Broadside
The subject matter is a sci-fi inspired, somewhat fantastic account of growing up with hearing loss (based on my experience). It is the story of a boy and a girl, brother and sister, who find the world of reading, particularly sci-fi, much more attractive than the real world, who escape into fantasy as a means of coping with the social alienation of hearing loss. A bit of a surprise ending, too.
It was chosen in 2002 as the winner of the Roberta S. Tamares Sci-Fi
award at the University of Northern Iowa, while I was taking a
single poetry class with Vince Gotera and volunteering at the North
It was featured in a Atelier 6000 Broadside Exhibition at Atelier 6000 in November of 2010.
Crazy Eddy on the Judgment Day
by Mary Swander
2004, Edition of 125, Sold Out
Swander writes the roiling river; her language moves with elemental force, unstoppable. Upturned, near familiar phrases momentarily surface like a favorite article of clothing and are submerged again, often with comic results. Humorous stories within stories emerge, like “Samson of Wisconsin,” dwarf Crazy Eddy’s giant nemesis, and how he defeated him. Swander’s rural midwest roots cling tight to her stories and capture their idiosyncratic characters with a close relative’s unflinching eye.
Colophon: Hand set in Garamond and Engraver’s Shaded type and printed on Mohawk Superfine. Bound in Fraser covers with Thai Mango endpapers. Binding assisted by Margaret Whiting and Julie McLaughlin. Printed in an edition of 125, and illustrated with linoleum cuts by Julie Russell-Steuart in one of the coldest summers on record.
Out of the Blue, poetry by Aaron James McNally, 2007, 32 pages, letterpress edition of 250.
$20.00 Out of the Blue
Aaron McNally’s poetry is driven by rhythm and sound, but guided by emotion. As readers, we are challenged to pinpoint the complexities of emotional expression each poem contains. Simultaneously, a strong cerebral bent works an angle on meaning that uses metaphor, imagery, juxtaposition, poetic form, and an inner narrative voice. Where we end up rests on our ability to take a journey, propelled along by rhythm, absorbing the emotional atmosphere, our destination up for grabs as McNally sets our heads spinning, then gently, with careful consciousness, sets us down.
Colophon: “Illustration: Julie Russell-Steuart. Composition type set by the printer on an antique Intertype, thanks to Jim Daggs at Ackley Publishing. Typefaces: Palatino, Baskerville. Printed on the Vandercook UNI III at Caveworks Press in the year Cassandra was two. Paper: Mohawk, Neehah cover, and Thai endpapers. Hand-bound by the printer, poet, and Jim Russell. No. ___ of 250.”
A line of poetry from Out of the Blue is cast on the Intertype
About the poet:
Aaron James McNally is a master’s candidate in English at the University of Northern Iowa. His collaborative poetry with Friedrich Kerksieck has appeared in several magazines and as two chapbooks. He has edited and published several local chapbooks and small publications and served as the design editor for The Cream City Review. His reviews of poetry have appeared in Rain Taxi. Out of the Blue is his first book.