Thursday, December 2, 2010

weekend class at mcba: the intentional page

I had forgotten the peace of that smooth rhythm, sewing the signatures together. I need to return to the full-length course on introductory bookbinding and then maintain that practice. My friend Meryl has amassed quite the collection in her mentorship experience.

The book we bound was one on intentional design--making font decisions, placement choices, the terminology of the book designers world. This class called to me when faced with the great privilege of designing my own book cover. I did not love what I did with the photographs I had, though I knew what I loved from my own bookshelves. But I couldn't translate that to the page.

Fortunately, my little sister could and came up with the front and back that is at the printer now.

I feel comfortable taking a photograph, but its transformation is beyond me. I do love the quiet peace of needles and paper, of linen thread and blocks of beeswax. It brings a certain calm.

Friday, November 19, 2010

film night: helvetica

From the film: "It's like being asked how you feel about off-white paint."

I have an immense preference for the serifed font. I love black and white photographs of authors working at their desks. I am fascinated by scientific diagrams, taxonomy, marginalia, cartography.

I also love wood blocks.

From the film: "... all in favor of a certain atmosphere..."

When designing my book cover, my sister told me the sans-serif was easier to read; indeed, the awards announcement at the bottom of the image was originally in Helvetica. I asked her to serif it up, and instead of choosing the font I sent to her, she chose something easier to recognize.

Overheard in the MFA graduate assistant offices: "I'm in the market for a new font. Anyone have a good font to recommend?" We hover at the computers, using drop-down menus to show our preferences: High Tower, Cochin, Goudy.

From the film: "You will do what the typeface wants it to do."

I do see the quiet beauty of Helvetica when used in branding--a simple name, a small phrase. It's crisp, clean, lacking that clutter. Like binder clips.

From the film: "It's air. You have no choice; you have to breathe."

My friend Eireann's handwriting is so pretty, they turned it into a font for her first book.

I once wrote a letter to our exchange student from France entirely in WingDings with a decoder attached. I doubt she took the time.

From the film: "If it tells you do or don't, it's written in Helvetica."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Letterpress Demos

After the Twin Cities Book Festival, Meryl and I headed to the Open Book where MCBA was hosting free demonstrations on letterpress techniques. We saw Monica and Meryl was introduced to Regula, who is one of the mentors in MCBA's mentorship program, a competitive series of one-on-one meetings and workshops designed for an artist in another medium to explore the book arts. Meryl is the winning poet this year, and I truly cannot wait to see what comes out of this experience for her.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tattoo Lit

My tattoo-in-trade has been published in a book, out by Harper Collins, and originally titled The Word Made Flesh, which is now used as the book's blog name. I love the matte feel of the book and enjoyed paging through, seeing how others might preserve the work that they love in unique ways.

Missing from my page is my entire last name (Molly Sutton Kiefer), my geographic location (hello, Minnesota!), the story of the tattoo, and credit to the amazingly talented Shawn Hebrank, whose work I hugely admire. But it is a truly impressive little book with so many wonderful tattoos celebrating the love of literature.

My mother took this photograph last Christmas; it's fully healed and receives much admiration when sported at places such as the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and the Twin Cities Book Festival.

And the little Kelsey is wedged into the Hebrank / DePasquale basement, preparing itself for a beautiful journey.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Platen Press Workshop

My dear friend Meryl (that's her, up above) and I took a class through the Minnesota Center for the Book Arts this month with Monica Edwards-Larson, who runs Sister Black Press and previously gave me a quick-and-dirty tutorial on the MCBA's dusty and roller-addled Kelsey press.

I'm in the first trimester of my pregnancy, fully in the throes of morning sickness, tumbling up and down the wooden stairs, which meant I kept my fingers out of the lead and mineral spirits, and Meryl did most of the muscle work, finding those sweet spots, the hiccup and catch bringing handle down and running the new rollers down the chase bed.