Monday, December 7, 2009

sliding titles

Another gem: the cover of Lloyd C. Douglas's 1929 novel Magnificent Obsession, which was later adapted for two films. For an intro to cinema course, I recently assigned the 1954 Douglas Sirk version as part of a study on "surgical melodrama" (the other film was Kim Ki-Duk's Time, from 2006). I think the steep incline of the letters in this title design points to how quickly things can come undone in that sharp-edged subgenre. It's like a door half-open, words spilling out before the story's even begun.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


I recently discovered, via a Google image search for the frontispiece on a rare edition of Borges' Library of Babel (I love the fortuitous linkages that can happen while searching for things online, like a Surrealist party game), the smart and delightful feuilleton blog. There I found some of the loveliest ornaments I've ever seen on the cover of a 1945 edition of Oscar Wilde's The Picture of Dorian Gray.

In addition to the repetition of the motif, the uneven delicacy of the ornament offers a sense of a hand-picked bouquet carefully arranged around an afternoon table, or an archaic stringed instrument that produces a thin reedy lilt. As John Coulthart notes, the backwards-swinging "y" is especially enchanting, and is so cleverly employed for this story of wayward time and its consequences.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Community Studio

Lettre Sauvage offers training in letterpress printing, book design, simple binding and rents the studio for $10 an hour to trained printers. We're no longer scheduling group workshops since it's been more convenient for everyone to make appointments and pursue individual interests. You can check out our workshops page for examples of things to make while you learn the ropes.

Our Community Studio program has been a way for us to meet romantic, detail oriented people and share our love of letterpress. A few of our guests are Faith and Kathryn of Creative Shift Design, Jennifer from Ambrosia Creative who posted cool photos of our studio, and David and Serg of Hertz-lion.

The photo above is of the lovely Faith with her hand on the steel lever of the C&P. Tours are free. Come on down.


Named upon reading the following lines in Henry Miller's Tropic of Capricorn:
“Now for the aluminum wings with which to fly to that far-off place, the bright country where Apis, the father of fornication, dwells.”

APIS is a journal of art, literature and essays presented as an offering to the erotic --sensual, hyper-real, striking, mystical, awful, gripping-- realities that collect our minds and senses in seeming unison, with orgasm and true love as prime metaphors.

An all letterpressed, hand-bound limited edition of 123 to be released in 2009. Write to for more information.

Submissions are still being accepted.

To date, contributors include:
Poetry & Prose: Lorinda Ann Neumann, Sophia Kidd, Gina Covarrubias,
Art & Photography: Dame Darcy, John Nichols (from the collection), Ken Volok, Doug Anderson

Editor's Note:

I enjoy working on an erotic collection because it keeps my mind on essentials. Much of my time is spent doing work that exists in a sort of spiritual mid-range: helping people along with their projects, keeping the house clean, using a calendar and online banking. These are the guts of life that must run smoothly. And, when I turn my attention toward the erotic, the tuning of the senses, the waking of the heart, I see that my other work plays an important supporting role as clean, bright foil for ecstasy.

That we might enjoy a ride on the surplus of our labors. That our bodies, our hearts, our minds, our souls, our books, might come to fullness. And, of course, that somebody at sunrise will be distraught with love!

The making of the publication is just getting started. Evaluating submissions, editing, designing the book are coming along. Raising the money is loathsome. And yet, I know that the work will emerge from this mess totally pure.

And in closing, I was delighted to find that the Advanced Papyrological Information System goes by the acronym APIS!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Yma at Work

Yma Ray is the youngest worker at the press. Her jobs include mixing ink, making monoprints, counting envelopes and cutting scrap paper into even smaller stacks of pieces on the guillotine.

There comes a time when real work is a welcome break from all the games, songs and activities we so carefully plan out to practice simple things like counting and spelling. Checking items off a list or counting envelopes and paper are jobs Yma enjoys and she likes knowing that she's really helping.

I read about including children in work in the book Better Late than Early by Raymond Moore. Here's a brief excerpt from the Moore Foundation site:

Work. Constructive, skill-building, entrepreneurial work builds children's self-confidence, creativity, and self-control, and does it more quickly. It is the most dramatic and consistent cure for behavior and personality problems. If you give children authority to manage your home to the extent that they can accept responsibility, they mature rapidly and naturally. Make them officers in your home industries. There is no more certain key to happy home education-or other schooling-regardless of institutional level. We've seen no one fail, rebel, or burn out.

Begin small. Start your children to work when they start to walk. Add freedom as they accept responsibility. No cash allowances! Let them earn their way, helping you make or grow and sell cookies, muffins, bread, wooden toys, vegetables, or service lawns, baby-sit, etc. By 6 or 8, many can run businesses. See Minding Your Own Business (MYOB) for more than 400 cottage industries. Do comparison shopping: apples/oranges, Grapenuts/Sugar Pops, etc. (nutrition, frugality, and math lessons). Let your kids use your checking account to pay your bills. The bank corrects their "math papers."

And also, for a stark look at creepy child labor, check out the photography of Lewis Hine.