Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Last Night -- At Last!

While I've had a blast following everyone's posts here, and watching all of these wonderful book projects unfold, I've been a terrible slacker and have just gotten around to finishing my book for Group Two, "Last Night."

I went around and around with the idea for this book, but got an image in my head months ago that I was never able to shake. I've been doing a lot of work that is fueled by mythology lately, and one that stuck with me was the story of Lailaps and the Teumessian fox: it's a classic tale of an unending chase--one that was destined to last forever. The dog that was destined to always catch his quarry was set on the trail of the infamous fox, who was destined to never be caught...and thus their chase was placed in the constellations to go on as long as the earth turns.

Of course at the time I first came upon this story, I couldn't help but draw a parallel between this pairing and my own attempted pairing with a man that I was just doomed to move in circles with. It wasn't as dramatic as your typical Greek tragedy, but the comparisons were just too fruitful for the making of books, and so several editions were born of that experience. You can see images and excerpts from those books on my website, Firebrand Press. Vixens have appeared in other of my mixed media pieces as well, but even after working on several pieces, this story of the doomed chase still haunted me.

And so one day, an idea came to me for "Last Night" in the form of the dog and the vixen. I took some liberties, feeling like drawing a wolf more so than a hunting dog. At left is the sketch on linoleum.

I wanted them to be close, but separated by a barrier that just barely held them apart. I've become quite fond of the boustrophedon structure, one I've used a time or two before. The maze-like quality seems perfect for a book about a chase, or for a tangled love affair. And so I planned to print a single sheet that would have to be unfurled for the whole image to be revealed. 

The final print is shown here, with cuts and folds in place in the 'Z' pattern. I letterpress printed the covers using a couple of wooden typefaces in the shop, and then covered .059" boards to give these a little heft. The book opens to about 12" by 17" and closes to approximately 4" x 4.75".

And finally, here's a close-up of the troubled vixen (it ain't easy being chased):

The last step is to create a simple slipcase for each of these books, and then they are bound for the U.S. Postal Service. 
I'm thrilled to have been a part of this exchange, and have taken great delight in opening the mailbox to discover the books my group members have been sending. Thanks for all the wonderful books! 

Now on to my other piece for Group 10, "Collaborative Dreaming with Dick Turpin"...


dinahmow said...

A nice analogy.
I understand the frustrations of a personal slant impeding the creative work, but thank you for sharing a little of that angst.

Rosie Kearton said...

It's great and I enjoyed reading about your process

Sara Bowen said...

A gorgeous book - I always love a good relationship between structure and content and this certainly ticks the boxes! Thanks for sharing,

Best wishes,


Helen M said...

I too love the content and structure.

Lauren said...

Thanks, folks! Can't say I'd been thinking of it as angst--I have to take all those little romantic failures in stride, you know? But they make for great book fodder!