MORE HOLLOWAY NEWS, KIND OF
There has been a sort of quiet excitement surrounding the publication of the Faber & Faber edition of Holloway. Demand was unaccountably high; Faber had to reprint the book four times before publication date because of pre-orders from bookshops, and the other week the book made it into the Sunday Times top ten hardback releases, which was both gratifying and hugely unexpected. It is, after all, a book about a hedge.
Right, anyway, I forgot to mention that Caught By The River are selling prints of the five pictures I drew for the book. You can buy them here, and they're £50 each. I printed them with Cefmor Tallboy on his magnificent clanking, clicking and wheezing 1960s Heidelberg platen press. They're signed, and are an open edition.
I also forgot to mention that Mr Macfarlane did a 'slideshow' and an article for The Guardian newspaper the other day. The slideshow is here, and there's a link there to the article.
Oh, and there's a flickr group for people who have taken or will take or intend to take photographs of holloways. Again, the prolific Robert Macfarlane has written something about that, which you can find here.
I think that's everything, although it probably isn't.
Oh yes I nearly forgot, that's Emerald Holloway above, which now belongs to Faber.
- 30th May 2013
Hello again. I usually try to avoid cross-pollination between projects, as it could lead to a lot of confusion. I can only cope with making artwork for Radiohead and Atoms For Peace by a performing series of complicated and painfully arcane rituals under a waxing moon, or something. Anyway. All I mean is that I'm not sure where to put this bit of news. It's to do with Mr Macfarlane, so in a way it goes here, but it's not to do with Holloway. Oh, whatever, as they say. Also, WTF.
I've done a cover for the paperback edition of Robert Macfarlane's book The Old Ways and have made twenty prints of it. These aren't available from the shop here because Penguin, who've published the book, have them all. Ten are part of a prize for a competition and the other ten are for sale on their site.
The details are all here: www.ajourneyonfoot.com
And here is what the print looks like:
- 24th May 2013
Should you wish to spend money there is an opportunity to do so here: www.faber.co.uk/holloway.
Many thanks to everyone who came to the event last night, and top cheers to Caught By The River and Rough Trade for organising it.
- 15th May 2013
COOL AS FUCK
The Faber edition of Holloway is out soon; on the 16th May 2013, and it's already been reprinted once before publication as the demand for it is inexplicably intense. We had a fevered few hours when it was 4th in Amazon's 'new releases' chart, ahead of the redoubtable Hilary Mantel although behind Dan Brown and a couple of pornographic novels. The company we keep, hey? It was dead exciting, but the last time we checked (yesterday) we had slipped to number 8! It was crushing.
The book has been beautifully produced by Faber; a hardback, with a dust-jacket, and high-resolution lithographic reproductions of the drawings I did. the type has been re-set too. It's a very different-feeling book than the letterpress version we made last year under the Quive-Smith imprint. It's £14.99 and will be available to pre-order from all good bookshops, and some other ones too. I'd advise anyone who has a bookshop/store nearby to use it, as the disappearance of bookshops is much too high a price to pay for discounted books from tax-avoiding online operators.
And in a week or so is the London launch event (see below) which is at Rough Trade East, near Brick Lane, as was the launch for the letterpress version last summer. It's kind of like a tangible deja-vu. I've made/am making a large new artwork for the space, called Emerald Holloway, and me and Cefmor Tallboy will be printing live at the event; you'll be able to print your own commemorative poster on a proofing press whilst me and Cefmor warn you not to get your fingers caught under the roller.
Anyway, here's a picture of the tests for Emerald Holloway:
- 5th May 2013
FABER/CAUGHT BY THE RIVER EVENT AT ROUGH TRADE EAST NEXT MONTH
There may be some more information on the Rough Trade site here, and you can buy the book here, although do be aware that it isn't album shaped as shown, but book shaped. Rectangular; you know. Not square. Admittedly, some books are square. Not this one though.
I'm going to be installing a large artwork at the venue too, called Emerald Holloway which will be 4 metres by 2 metres. I haven't started making it yet, which is starting to kind of worry me.
- 19th April 2013
ROGUE MALE: THE NEW EDITION IS NOW AVAILABLE
And here it is, pictured on my carpet. It's a very handsome hardback and there are only 500 of them and you can only get them HERE. It's £12.99, I should add.
- 17th March 2013
I forget what I've written before. I can't really be fucked to find out either, so please forgive me if I'm repeating myself.
This whole section of my ever-expanding website is about holloways and my various responses to these evocative features of the human landscape. What I may have not made clear (although I should have) is that this interest, although latent, was made apparent through the reading and re-reading (and re-reading, and re-reading) of a book called Rogue Male by Geoffrey Household, originally published in 1939. It's a strange novel, a sort of proto-thriller, wherein the anonymous narrator comes close to assassinating the dictator of a European country (but doesn't, due to various feelings of honour, etc), is captured, tortured, and thrown off a cliff to his death. Against all odds he escapes, and the story propels him from place to place, until we share with him the intimacies of a Dorset holloway.
The book had been published many times, and reprinted more times; it's inspired the writers William Boyd (Ordinary Thunderstorms) and David Morrell (First Blood, famously made into the well-known film Rambo) and itself been made into a film in 1941 (Man Hunt). Strangely, despite all this, it's less well known than it perhaps should be.
Here are some of the covers that the novel has been sold under:
There's a kind of theme that emerges here, and for reasons which will forever remain obscure there's nothing evident regarding holloways or cats. And anyone who reads the book will realise that both the holloway and the cat are crucial.
Hence my new cover for a new, extremely limited, hardback edition of Rogue Male:
This edition will be available soon. Watch this space, isn't it.
Oh yes: hapy n yr, etc.
- 10th January 2013
A GOLDEN HOLLOWAY FOR 2012, SOLD OUT
Hello. The print has now sold out, and there are no more.
I'm sorry to say that there has been some kind of problem with the 'news'paper called The Slowly Downward Taglibro that I send out on Wednesday 12th December, and with the PDF that was sent out (on Monday 10th) to those who had expressed an interest in the print. It seems that many of these mailouts ended up in spam folders by mistake. I'm sorry about this, but I've no idea why it happened. My apologies for any inconvenience, et cetera. Do check your spam as your Taglibro may be in there, making friends with get-rich-quick schemes, erectile dysfunction and horny singles.
- 14th December 2012
A GOLDEN HOLLOWAY FOR 2012, COMPLETED
All done. This print will be available through the shop very soon. If you'd like to reserve one, please write to email@example.com
- 7th December 2012
A GOLDEN HOLLOWAY FOR 2012, CONTINUED...
The print is now approaching completion. Here are some pictures.
Here's some gold powder. I tried to find out how it's made, but it's like entering a strange world of alchemy and secrecy. For example, I found this quote:
"You must grind your gold leaf finely with honey and salt (which keep the particles of gold separate as they are pounded), using a ceramic pestle and mortar, for at least 30 minutes until the mixture is uniformly beige. Then carefully wash away the additives to leave behind pure fine gold dust. This should be moistened with gum-water and a little glair (beaten and settled egg-white), shaped and allowed to dry before use."
I didn't do that. I bought it. And if you noticed that it's 22ct (demi-jaune) rather than 23.5ct (superieur) that's because there isn't any superieur available until later in 2013. I've no idea why, but the gold market is a volatile one. Anyway; next...
This is a pretty disturbing part of the process; mixing the valuable gold powder with solvent-based varnish, ready for screenprinting. It's at this point that the mind is overcome with the feeling of having done something irreversible and potentially stupid. And expensive.
So, here's the mixture of gold and varnish on a screen. There's no image on the open part of the screen, because the first stage is just printing a rectangle of gold to form the background of the image. The plan is to make an edition of 24, because 24ct is pure gold. Let's hope nothing goes wrong, hey?
Above is a photo of the edition with the first layer of gold printed, then the first, background image.
(In the background is the screen used for the print called 'Terrordome') Following are images of the print as it's made, layer by layer. What I'm after is a golden mist, with a pure golden gleam showing where the path of the holloway opens out.
These are the second and third stages; the first drawing printed on to the blank gold background, then another blank golden layer printed over that; below are photos of the print as it progresses through each layer of alternating drawing and gold. The last picture shows the completed print.
A Golden Holloway 2012 will be priced at £200. The paper is 250gsm Somerset velvet white stock from St Cuthbert's Mill in Wells, Somerset. The gold to be used is 22 carat powdered gold from L. Cornelisson & Son of London. The print is sized approximately 145mm x 115mm and the paper will be hand-torn to approximately 260mm x 200mm.
Anyone who is interested in obtaining one of these prints should email firstname.lastname@example.org, and will receive further details by reply.
- 4th December 2012
A GOLDEN HOLLOWAY FOR 2012
At about this time last year I made a print of a holloway using 24ct gold dust. It was made by mixing powdered gold with a transparent screenprinting medium; this mixture is then printed over a previously printed drawing. Then another drawing is printed over that, then another layer of gold, and so on. The end result is a illusory distance, as the drawings that represent 'further away' are lost in a kind of golden fog.
The drawing was done directly on to a sheet of something called 'True-grain' which allows direct exposure of a drawing to the mesh screen that the ink is pushed through. I made 24 of these prints and they were really quite nice, (and sold out very quickly) so I'm doing another golden holloway this year. It's a little solstice celebration in my head.
On a wet and foggy day I sat down and tried to figure out how I'd done the print last year. This is the work in progress. The drawings at the top, in the sketchbook, are done on layers of tracing paper so I can kind of figure out what the end result will look like. The blank sheet in the foreground is true-grain.
Below you can see a closeup of the sketch. I've become slightly addicted to drawing this kind of thing.
And below are the sketch and the finished true-grain drawings.
I hope to start work on printing the edition this week, and as with last year it will be an edition of 24. The price of gold continues its upward trend, but the price of a golden holloway remains the same at £200. As before, the paper will be 250gsm Somerset velvet white stock from St Cuthbert's Mill in Wells, Somerset. The gold to be used is 23.5 carat powdered gold from L. Cornelisson & Son of London. The print is sized approximately 145mm x 115mm and the paper will be hand-torn to approximately 260mm x 200mm.
Expressions of interest to email@example.com
- 19th November 2012
HOLLOWAY: TO BE PUBLISHED BY FABER & FABER
I am very pleased to be able to announce that Holloway is to be published by Faber & Faber in 2013. As you may know, the 277 copies we made of the book in the first instance sold very quickly, so this new edition is extremely welcome. I've always liked Faber's books, and I would go so far as to say that I'm really quite happy about this. Watch this space for further breathless wonderment, and for publication date, further information, stuff like that.
- 16th November 2012
A FRENCH HOLLOWAY
A holloway on holiday. Photographed by Jonathan Baker in Coutances, Normandy.
- 15th August 2012
Thank you very much to everyone who came to our book launches or who reserved a book or showed any interest in any way whatsoever. Above is a picture that didn't make it into the book because a] it was in pencil, and b] it's completely the wrong size and shape.
We will be making prints available some time in the autumn, but we haven't even talked about it yet. We will also continue work on the 'deluxe' special editions. In the meantime, messrs Macfarlane, Richards and Lawrence will be at the Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall...as will be the Pink Milkfloat, which was driven at heroically low speeds all the way there by Mr Devlin Crease...
- 6th July 2012
HOLLOWAY: TWO BOOK LAUNCHES and A LINK.
The book by Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood and Dan Richards will be launched at two events, one in East London and one in East Anglia. If you click on the diminuative flyers above your computing device will download a zipped PDF of the flyer in A4 format. If you desire, you can then print this out loads of times, and even enlarge it to A3, and then you could go flyposting. Which is at least slightly illegal, and you absolutely mustn't do it.
As I type, the rain falls as incessantly as ever. This does not bode well for my plan to spend the time between the two book launches sleeping in a series of hedges as I make my way from London to Norwich.
Some information about the making of the book.
It's taken nine months to make this book, from conception to publication. To print it we used fresh lead, melted in cast iron buckets and then cast into individual letters. This is very different from typing on a computer and then clicking 'print', and has certain attendant hazards.
The composition of the type was done on a Monotype caster, a machine that was made in the 1950s. Here's a few pictures of it and its mechanisms.
It's the kind of machine that won't break, and if it does then you can fix it. I've lost track of how many plastic Epson or HP or whatever printers I've had to throw away, and it pains me to think of them on some African or Asian dump, being picked over by starving children to find whatever parts of them that might still have some value. It's very sad and very stupid that few machines that are manufactured today are intended to have any kind of durability. All of our energy is focussed on upgrades or updates or new models and the consequence is a global tsunami of electronic waste that will not go away.
Here are some more photos.
- 6th July 2012
In September of 2011 Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood and Dan Richards travelled to southern Dorset in search of a hollow way.
Moving south a mist lowered itself, wet smoke pooling in valleys and encircling hilltops. Southward was a descent, disorientating gradients rising as they fell. Elbowed hills reared up and the hollow way began to reveal its intentions; it would remove them from the everyday.
In an attempt to escape from the fogs, they climbed to the top of Pilsdon Pen, a sharp-sided hill now inhabited only by depressed cattle, but once some vital part of a vanished civilisation. The hill was indistinct, the fog was thick, the level hilltop seeming to float in the mist like a half-formed green raft. There was silence from the cows and a sense of waiting from the hill.
The three of them stood looking out into the void, gazing in the approximate direction of the valleys of the holloways. But there was nothing there, only wraiths, only shadows. They descended from the hillfort, feeling their way, each yard of country having to be uncovered, and all the while followed, haunted by silence.
Towards the close of the day they perhaps found the hollow way which they had been looking for. The everyday had gone, and night was falling swiftly. Things began to happen secretly around them, and the past conspired with the present, and those that had found the holloway before them were part of that present.
A book by Robert Macfarlane, Stanley Donwood & Dan Richards.
Typeset and letterpress printed in Oxford by Richard Lawrence.
48pp in Royal Octavo format (234 x 156mm).
Five full-page line illustrations by Stanley Donwood.
Typeset in 12pt Monotype Plantin Light.
Printed on 115gsm Somerset Book Wove paper.
277 copies sewn and limp bound; £27.70.
27 specially bound copies in a slipcase; price on application.
Expressions of interest to:
50 Hurst Street
Oxford OX4 1 HD
Some time ago we made the decision to print Holloway using a Monotype caster, which essentially means that we use molten lead and a casting machine to make fresh lead type to print the book.
The font we chose is Plantin, a typeface named after the printer Christophe Plantin. It was first cut in 1913 for the Monotype Corporation, and is based on a face cut in the 16th century by Robert Granjon. Plantin is one of the typefaces that influenced the creation of Times Roman in the 1930s.
The type is made by using a huge keyboard to punch holes in a paper tape about five inches high; the roll of tape looks like something that goes in a player-piano. The text is input 'blind'; that is, the person doing it has only their memory to tell them where they are in the text and whether or not they've made any mistakes. All they have to show for hours of punching keys is a roll of white paper, speckled with small rectangular holes. The guidance for this task is provided by this slowly rotating drum:
...as well as arcane information such as this:
The roll of paper looks like this. In no way does this resemble a book, or text, or a typeface, or, in fact, anything much at all. But it's where the book begins, as it contains all the information that will be needed to cast the type, which is done on an adjacent machine which uses brass dies to impress the typeforms on the molten lead.
And that is something I will leave until the next time I can get round to adding to this dubious and ignorant account of our slow and laborious progress towards the publication of Holloway.