The Gallery — August 2011

Printing Lucie Lambert's Alphabet


With August came a commission design and printing project for Lucie Lambert Editions of Vancouver. Although I don't normally take on commission press work, simply because I hardly have enough time to print Greenboathouse Press books, when Lucie contacted me about this project, it felt a good fit, and as an admirer of her books, it was a wonderful opportunity to have Lucie visit the Okanagan for us to work together for a few days.

The project is a unique one, and was extremely challenging, both of these qualities making for a wonderful - although at times frustrating - experience. Over 20 years ago Lucie created a series of drawings, each of a lowercase roman letter, presented in gold leaf over a variety of ornamental backgrounds. These drawings stayed with her for decades, and a handful of years ago she latched onto the idea of producing a single copy of an alphabet book to showcase these artworks. Poems, focused on each letter, were commissioned in French and English by Robert Robert Melanšon and E.D. Blogett respecitvely, and the task of designing and printing of the book was offered up to me.

The papers for the book, hand-made by Reg Lissel in Vancouver, were the main challenge, as they were both heavy (and thus warped) and deckled all-around, creating sheets that were far from uniform in dimensions. As we were to print on a Vandercook, this variation in size and deckle made registration nearly impossible (most pages had two colours to print, with a handful of pages requiring three passes). While these limitations made exact positioning impossible, the printing itself came out beautifully, and the process provided, as hoped for, a wonderful few days of working together with a dedicated and important fine-press publisher.

Also along for these few days was the Vancouver-based photographer Ryah Mah (who, coincidentally, documented the entire process of my packing up and transporting Jim Rimmer's typecasting equipment from New Westminster to Vernon a couple of years ago - all for the film he's working on about Jim). Ryan's photos came out beautifully, and captured perfectly the experience of these fine few days in August.






















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