Mission, Canada: Barbarian Press and Sperling Printshop, 2023. Softcover. One of 110 copies each accompanied by a handsome original woodcut of a raven, signed and numbered by Edith Krause. This delightful book is a flock of poems on birds by 15 Canadian poets. The book provides a diverting anthology of poems about birds by sixteen contemporary Canadian poets, some of them well established figures, such as Lorna Crozier, Susan McCaslin, Harold Rhenish, and Bill Richardson, and others younger emerging poets. The result is a rich cross-section ranging from the lyrical to the satirical, the humorous to the elegiac. Edith Krause provides an introduction to the project itself; ornithologist Rob Butler, a thoughtful ecological preface; and wildlife biologist Phil Henderson, a short reflection on the relationship between the poems and the birds in the book. Edith’s 26 woodcuts of birds, each representing a letter of the alphabet, provided the core of the project. In addition she created four further woodcuts to accompany the three prefatory essays and an extra poem, and provided a title page block, a selection of woodcut feathers for the endpapers, and a press device. Book artist and proprietor of the Barbarian Press, Crispin Elsted writes about the book: "Early in 2023 we were approached by woodcut artist Edith Krause and poet Susan McCaslin with a ready-made book project in hand for which they needed a printer. It had been many years since we had printed a book for another publisher, and it was a practice we had not planned to renew – especially since we had a considerable list of our own book projects in various stages of planning or production. However, we were struck at once by Edith’s delightful woodcuts of birds, and it seemed to us that the project deserved to be encouraged. Crispin consulted on the design of the book and Jan and Apollonia [Elsted] devised the imposition of the pages and subsequent details of placement and colour. Jan and Apollonia, Edith and Susan sorted out the logistics of acquiring materials and established the nature of the collaboration, and work began." The poems and other texts were handset by Apollonia in Joanna roman and italic type and printed on Hannemühle paper, with help from Kirsten Way and Lea Sanchez Milde, while the lion’s share of the presswork, comprising all the poems and the prose elements, was done by Apollonia, Jan printed the preliminary pages and the second colour title lines. We decided that we would make a departure with the blue paper binding of An Avian Alphabet, and imposed the texts and images so that the pages could be French-folded (i.e. with the fold at the foredge), then stabbed (that is, drilled) and laced into the covers with waxed coloured linen cord in an exposed sewing, and housed in a beige cloth covered slipcase with title label to spine. In fine condition. Measures 6 7/8 x 10 inches. Unpaginated [About 70 pages] PRI/112023. Fine.
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Philadelphia: Luminice Press, 2023. One of 14 copies signed by the book artists. This charming and informative book, Spider and the Stars, is a Luminice Press artist book by Thomas Parker Williams and Mary Agnes Williams. It combines an original illustrated story for young readers with factual information about spiders and the curious way they travel long distances. Called ballooning, this form of spider travel appears to be flying, but in fact spiders take advantage of the Earth's electric field to become airborne. This particular spider became so airborne that she soared past the earth and planets to weave her webs among the stars! Book artist and printer Thomas Parker Williams began creating artists' books in 1998 while also painting. As of 2009 he has limited his art practice exclusively to artists' books. In that year he also began collaborating with his wife, photographer Mary Agnes Williams. In 2013 they started Luminice Press, incorporating letterpress printing into artists' books and broadsides. The artists' books draw on a range of conceptual sources in creating their books, including mathematics, music, literature, theology, philosophy, astronomy, natural sciences, and Eastern thought. Books by Williams or the Luminice Press may be found in over 75 public collections around the country. For this delightful collaboration, both artists developed the concept and design and did the printing. Thomas did the illustrations, the moveable pop-up and the binding. Mary Agnes wrote the original story and handset the text. The round black cover has a smaller cut out circle. It is laser cut wood with oil-based pochoir printed paper. The outer circle depicts the starry skies, while the spider and her web are visible in the smaller circle. When the cover is opened the spider and her web are fully visible. On the first page is a large brown, cream, and orange spider with moveable head and legs that pop open. There are 16 pages that tells the spider's story with colorful images of her and her adventurous travel to outer space. They are done in oil-based pochoir over linocut flood coats, with hand painted accents. The text is hand set in Janson and Janson Italic on Arches book paper and letterpress printed. Housed in an acrylic case with a brown title inset. In fine condition. The book measures 7.5 x 8 inches closed. The pop-up spider opens to 19 x 24 inches. ARTB/050523. Fine.
Santa Cruz: n.d. This is an undated original photograph taken by Bill Richards, a Santa Cruz fisherman and photographer. The mounted photograph captures a blue whale breaching almost its entire length amidst sea birds swimming and fluttering over the water. On the back of the photo is a mimeographed sheet of paper recounting how Richards captured the picture after trying for over fifty years to "jump" his own whale out in the ocean and photograph him. Finally the day came. While out fishing off the coast of Santa Cruz, Richards spied a sooty cloud of "whale birds" through his binoculars and knew they must be following a whale. And so they were - a big "Sulphur Bottom Bull - a blue whale - all of seventy feet long and easily weighing seventy-five tons. Richards was able to get within 200 feet and watch him feed on thousands of sardines. But then a life or death drama ensued. A pair of killer whales, orcas, went by the boat toward the blue whale. Orcas are fast and ferocious and travel in small pods. Although much smaller, a few of them are capable of killing the largest of whales. They attacked this whale, causing him to rise out of the ocean in a mighty effort to escape. It was during this battle that Richards was able to get his prized photograph. The combat was continuing as the boat returned to shore. Richards writes that this was "probably the only photograph ever secured of the largest living creature know, taken in his native element, in a battle for existence." Given the mimeographed text and reference to Plastigmant camera lenses, the photograph probably dates from the 1950s. The photo is mounted on a bedraggled piece of grey cardboard, with the inscription "To my friend Charlie Bosworth from Bill Richards" written in white ink under the photo. The photo is in very good condition save for three marks that might have occurred during processing. They do not affect the image of the whale. It measures 8.5 x 10.5 inches. A unique item in very good condition. PHOTO/062719. Very Good.