B – Books

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.


In a used book shop in Grand Rapids, MI, Redux Books, I found a copy of The Seared Conscience, by Wilfred Owen. It was printed at Tern Press  by Nicolas and Mary Parry in 1993.

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.


9 thoughts on “B – Books

  1. You had me at your letterpress picture and Wilfred Owen. One of my daughter works in an historic printshop at a living history museum. She too oohs and aahs over fine books.


      1. Cooperstown, NY — better known for its baseball museum. This one is called The Farmer’s Museum and it’s a reconstructed village of the 1840s.


  2. There is nothing that replicates the beautiful, sensory experience of a book. That goes for my books of music, too–the notes dancing across the page, the marks I’ve penciled in, the pleasure I get from reading the music…and thanks for visiting my blog today! All best to you!


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