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Printing a Book

Assignments Calligraphy Letterpress Paper

book It has been a whirlwind of a week around here!  We're six weeks into the semester now, which is when things hit a little bit of a fever pitch.  In my Hand-Printed Book class, I've spent the first several weeks looking at other people's printed books, making mock-ups, doing printing experiments, and waxing Japanese papers (my first time with this -- more on that soon), but time is waning, and it is now the time to order materials.  This is the really scary part.  Nice paper is expensive!  Understandably so, of course, but since it's also cumbersome to return and since you can wait a while for shipping, putting your order in is a major commitment.  You want to be darn certain that you've calculated everything correctly based on size and grain direction and ordered the right amount in the right colors.  In the end, it feels like a bit of a miracle if you get all of it correct.  I am happy to report, however, that I have ordered almost everything that I need, which hopefully means that by this time next week, I will be scheduling a date with the board shear to cut all my paper down to size in order to be ready to start printing.  Have you ever printed a book before?  Did you know that cutting the paper alone can take multiple hours, even for a relatively small edition?  I'm going to print 30 copies, which seems so measly, and yet the cost of materials (including paper for the textblock, endsheets, covers, shipping costs, polymer plate material, and thread for the binding) will run between $400 and 500.  Oy.  Hopefully they'll fly of the small shelf that they occupy when all is said and done. I'm printing a dramatic monologue called "A Dilettante" by Victorian poet Augusta Webster.  The book will include the text printed on Rives Lightweight (a western text paper) as well as interleaved folios of a Japanese paper called Kitakata that will be printed with calligraphic imagery and then waxed.  Above is a mock-up of facing text pages; below are some early and basic experimental prototypes for the calligraphy and waxing. prototype japaneseinterleaf Since this is a lot of what I'll be doing this semester, I'll post updates as I have more to share.  Next step:  production schedule and setting type!


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  • Jessie on

    I want to buy one of your books too!

  • Karyl Smith on

    Laura,
    It has been a while since I checked in on your blog – I just added Pentameter Press to my book marks, so now, I can easily check in daily. I am so impressed with what you are doing – Grandpa Leo would be so proud of you!! He was very talented, but never developed his talent into anything tangible – he was too busy working three jobs – and he really did not have any confidence in himself that he was truly talented. He painted many signs – for bars, mainly – but that was just another side job. He would be so proud of you, as I am! I want to buy one of your books, so please reserve one for me!

  • Music&Meaning on

    PPS: a great post, and i’ve reposted…thx for sharing! RT

  • Printing a Book | The Rag Tree on

    […] Printing a Book. […]

  • Karyl Smith on

    I don’t have any pictures of his bar signs, but I have a few of the ‘horrible heads’ that he drew – I will have to look for them! I think they are in the chest by the l-shaped couch in the old family room.



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