Back in February, Brian and I ventured down to the SF Bay Area to peek in on the 2017 Codex Book Fair. It was our first visit to this biennial event, and proved to be just as eye opening as promised. The Craneway Pavillion was filled with over 200 people showcasing their artists books & fine press publications, and hundreds of visitors strolling the aisles to peruse the offerings. Exhibitors were there from all over the world, with a focus on Chinese Book Arts and notable international contributions from Germany, South Korea, Italy and the UK.
Though many methods of production are being used in contemporary book work, there was, of course, a lot of overlap with our typecasting community. The progress that Ed Rayer (Swamp Press & Letterfoundry) and Barbara Henry (Harsimus Press) have been making with their Kliluk asemic typeface is impressive, and Barbara had both spec sheets for the first castings and also an example of her book in progress. “The Seaweed Journal” uses the Kliluk typeface to tell the story of an alien mermaid experiencing the underwater world on earth.
Portland-transplant, Andres Chaves of Clinker Press had his fine books for sale, most of which focus on the Arts & Crafts movement or relate to printing arts specifically. The majority are cast in Intertype and Ludlow composition. The folks from M&H Type were roaming the pavilion, though they didn’t have a table set up. And Russell Maret was displaying some of his newer books, featuring type he designed, one cast at the Type Archive and another from Swamp Press.
We had the chance to visit with Mark Sarigianis of Prototype Press while in the Bay Area, and to take a quick peek at his studio where work is in progress on “Ham on Rye”, the Bukowski classic. The prospectus is out, the book uses hand made paper from St. Armand and is set in Goudy Powell. Nearly all the type is cast, initial proofs have been pulled, some final pages already printed. All this in a very bare bones studio space — when we visited, the building roof was leaking and the studio was covered in fireproof tarps which had to be emptied of water puddles daily. It’s amazing & heartening to see that Mark is driven to carry on the work that David Johnston and he started, with true passion for the printing of finely crafted books from metal type.