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Saturday at the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair

November 1, 2015


Luscious colours of book-binding leather from Harmatan Leather Ltd.

Caliban Press

Books from Caliban Press included an accordion-fold edition of Edward Lear’s The Jumblies complete with a volvelle, David West’s wood block printed tunnel book Kumano Kodo Pathway, and – below –

November Velma Bolyard

the exquisite meander book November, a Map – eco-dyed papers and a poem by Velma Bolyard.

Carolyn Trant

New this year from Parvenu Press is The Alchymical Garden of Thomas Browne by Carolyn Trant, an artist I admire enormously.

Valeria Brancaforte

In common with Carolyn Trant, Valeria Brancaforte cuts text in wood or lino for her books. She also prints the texts as long broadsides. I love her bold, colourful style.

Leopard Studio

Sue Huggins Leopard of Leopard Studio Editions had some very special books on display. Two that particularly appealed to me were a pochoir and letterpress flutter-book of Ruth Kessler’s lovely poem Hummingbird (left foreground) with cover paper hand-made by the aforementioned Velma Bolyard, and This Past Winter, an accordion structure hand-printed with antique wood type and “selectively handwaxed to varying degrees of translucence in an ever-expanding white on white statement that grew to 25 feet in length as the snow finally melted…”. Sue’s book for Al-Mutanabbi Street Starts Here, Elegies, can be seen here.

Tara Bryan

It was a delight to meet Tara Bryan from Newfoundland and to explore some of her books. I loved Making Bread (not bombs), and World Without End, a tunnel-book listing hundreds of dates on which it has been predicted that the world will end.

But her tour de force is the extraordinary book To Stretch the Night, a collaboration with artist-printmaker Elena Popova and sculptor Luben Boykov. The front cover is shown in the photo above. Each of the 18 unique volumes has a one-off bronze bas-relief on the cover and each contains eleven love-poems by women authors as diverse as Sappho and Anna Akhmatova. Each poem was the inspiration for a series of eighteen monoprints on which Tara then letterpress-printed the texts, varying the position of the type to suit each image … then she bound the books. No wonder these 18 volumes took three people over two years to make! Tara kindly gave me a copy of the prospectus, which is in itself a lovely thing.

These, and a lunch-break shared with my friend and former collaborator, the artist Judith Yarrow, were just a few highlights from a rich and inspiring day out from my currently rather restricted life. It was another friend, book-designer James Shurmer, who did the driving – three hours there and three hours back to Wells. Thanks Jim!

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Jane Paterson permalink
    November 1, 2015 11:27 pm

    Thank you so much, Ama, for sharing the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair with us. The books you sent images of are all SO beautifully made and precious enough to require wonderfully crafted Japanese stile boxes. I needed that reminder. I wish I could have seen the exhibition, it must have been really inspirational. I hope we shall have an ABCD meeting soon. I need to start making books again!

    Love Jane

    Sent from my iPad


  2. November 1, 2015 11:27 pm


  3. Karen Young permalink
    November 2, 2015 1:01 pm

    Thanks so much for sharing the lovely books! Hopefully we shall all meet up soon! X

  4. mcooter3 permalink
    November 24, 2015 9:54 pm

    Thanks for the tantalising glimpses, and especially for the link to information on volvelles (a word new to me, but a concept I’ve dallied with). As a consequence, “Reinventing the Wheel” by Jessica Helfand is on order and eagerly awaited.

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