Crane Giamo moved to Austin recently, and has generously joined me at the press this week to resume work on Ted Greenwald’s Con Dot, due out from Cuneiform Press in the fall of 2014. I’m very grateful for his expertise as a printer and bookmaker, as well as his enthusiasm for poetry and poetics. According to the notes I made in the mockup, I started printing this book exactly one year ago today, but I recycled most of the printing I did last summer when I realized that the high temperatures in my studio were having an adverse effect on ink viscosity, thinned by the summer heat, causing the ink to slur and bleed. I later learned that air conditioning was essentially invented by Willis Carrier at the request of a printshop in Brooklyn in 1902. With a new air conditioner installed in the workshop, the temperature now sits comfortably around seventy-five degrees, even on warm days, and the humidity has fallen considerably, which is favorable for the press, ink, paper, and printer(!). Paul Moxon advised me to use Damp Rid when I’m not running the air conditioner, and that’s helped decrease the humidity as well, especially effective in preventing rust on the the press.
So, we’re taking Con Dot slow, getting to know the press a little better each day, and loving the way Graphic Chemical’s Albion Matte Black (recommended by Phil Gallo at the Hermetic Press) sits in/on undampened Crane’s Lettra Pearl White. The book will consist of four signatures of four sheets (sixty-four pages total) measuring twelve by seven inches after the face trim. The font is Dax, a sans serif designed by German typographer Hans Reichel for FontFont in the late nineties. It has quickly become a favorite of mine, for letterpress as well as offset printing, and looks great at eighteen point for the text in this particular book.
First thing this morning I packed up the colophon page in a double carton box and sent it to Ted by way of UPS in New York City to letter A to Z and sign. I purchased additional postage for him to send the signed colophon pages on to (recently former Austin resident) CJ Martin in Colorado Springs, who will perform the binding. All twenty-six copies will be bound in red cloth over extremely light boards, allowing the book to lay almost flat. The mockup has a substantial heft, complemented by a surprising grace and balance provided by the binding and light boards. On the way home, I stopped by Sixth Street Printing to pick up some fresh photopolymer plates Max Koch made for the book, including an updated copyright and title page. There was a stop at the local coop along the way as well, which is only to say that it feels good to have the support of local friends and independent businesses in the production of a handmade book.
That said, I don’t know of a local distributor for the color inks I want to use for the images in this book, so I just placed an order for four different reds directly from Van Son, including Florescent Red, Dutch Fireball, Red Popper, and Red Flame. There will be four images in each book, and each image will be different in each copy, or what is sometimes called a variegated multiple edition. In the next three weeks, I hope to produce 160 of these images, each with at least four passes through the press, yielding at least sixteen colors per page. Stay tuned for more photographs and updates along the way!