Limited Edition Books
Much as I enjoy making prints to hang on walls, there is an additional dimension for me to the production of an edition of books. They are about a passion that began many years ago. One day when I was in a seminar at graduate school, a printmaking instructor showed us a limited edition book which had been produced at a press where he had been a master printer. Seeing that book, holding it, and wandering through it were a singular experience. Never before had I beheld anything like it. I can still recall the mixture of wonder and excitement I felt when I saw that work. This was something I needed to do – to make a book of my own, from start to finish. Prints soon became material for books in my mind and very little time passed before I was searching for a conduit into the university's graphic arts department, assuring someone there that I knew how to set type (a bold-faced lie), and only needed to use the equipment for a small project over the weekend. A fellow student who was familiar with type setting acted as my guide, and we completed the text for my first venture into making books. All that was ten books ago. It was and is important to me that the books be all mine, so I have never sought the skills of a letterpress printer or a bookbinder to assist me in their production. Each book is the culmination of a lengthy process that involves working through many stages, a process that began in graduate school when I saw that first small press book and said to myself, "Now, that's something I need to do."
The books shown here are focused on places I have lived – Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where I grew up; the Berkshire Hills of Massachusetts, where I lived and worked for a number of years; and Damariscotta Mills, Maine, where I now make my home. Each was begun with images produced on etching plates. The poems and text then followed and were printed on a small hand press using hand-set type. Glassine sheets are sewn into the bindings to protect the prints. The poem which accompanies each print is bound facing the print. A description of each book follows.