I want to make a book.
Okay, let me rephrase that…I want to create the text, create the artwork, design, set, print, and bind a book…I want experience the whole process.
In 1998, I took a graduate level class at Westchester University with Michael Peich, of Aralia Press. In that class, I had the opportunity to hold some beautiful and rare books. I also had the opportunity to learn a small part about book arts and design. The construction and layout of a finely printed books feels and looks different than a typically published book. The use of materials and white space make reading one of these books an entirely different experience. This, in part, is the reason I purchased a press: the desire create a fine book.
So what are examples of beautiful books?
I have several books published by Aralia press, but one of the most beautiful is Planting A Sequoia, by Dana Gioia (above). I purchased it from Michael Peich and had it signed by Dana Gioia when he was visiting West Chester.
When I was researching printing in Michigan, I came across Deep Wood Press , run by Chad Pastotnik. Out of a small shop in North Western Michigan, he produces incredible books. The book, The Intruder, by Robert Traver is another excellent example. I do not own any of his books, but would love to have one someday.
I am a long way off from creating anything remotely as finished and beautiful as these three presses produced. I have a lot to learn and a lot of mistakes to make, but someday…given time, experience, and dogged perseverance, I might make something worth holding in your hand, paging through, and thinking it’s worth the price of the paper, ink, and time.