Golden Solstice Smeuse

So, right, each year I do this thing of making a small edition of prints using 23.5ct gold powder from L.Cornelisson & Son in London. It’s a bit scary, pouring one of the more expensive powders available into varnish, but the results are really nice; and a lot more appealing than the photo below, which I must confess I took with an iPad. But still, you get the idea.

This print is, as usual, in an edition of 24 (as I can’t do an edition of 23.5) and entails 11 layers, 6 of which are gold and 5 are black. The effect intended is one of a golden mist. This one is called ‘Golden Solstice Smeuse‘. The first couple of years I did a golden holloway, then last year it was a golden avenue; this year, a smeuse. You probably don’t know what a smeuse is; I didn’t, until this summer when I was sent the manuscript for Robert Macfarlane’s forthcoming book ‘Landmarks‘. In it, he has prepared a number of glossaries of words which you would struggle to find in a standard dictionary. They are words from dialect, slang and so on, and describe matters loosely pertaining to the land. For instance, an old Essex dialect term for a kestrel is ‘wind-fucker’. An old Sussex word for the gap at the bottom of a hedge made by the regular passage of a small animal is… smeuse.

I’ve done a linocut of another smeuse for the cover of the book – I don’t know when it’s coming out, but it’ll be soonish, I think. Recommended reading, innit. Anyway, me and Comrade Winstanley only just finished printing at about 6pm this evening, but the print is now ready for its launch into the world, which is taking place over at the Zmas Boutique. Along with a few other new things, as we have updated the old place; given it a refurb. Or a defurb. Or a makeunder. Anyway, there’s some new stuff there.

golden_smeuse

7th December 2014

Treasure Island Sunset

Last weekend, in between me working in clouds of graphite and chalk dust, Comrade Winstanley came over to the studio and we printed another Treasure Island edition; this one with a red and orange sea which is going to be called Treasure Island Sunset. It’s still to be guillotined, checked, numbered, signed and stamped, but it should be up on the Zmas Boutique in a couple of weeks. (I know, these simple tasks shouldn’t take so long…) It is identical in every respect to Treasure Island Blues, except for the colour of the ocean – a wine-dark sea – but the earlier release sold out so quickly that I thought it’d be a good idea to do another one. Also I think there are some more prints to be added to the FOUND department, but I haven’t quite figured that out yet. I’m currently far away.

sunset

11th November 2014

Quite printeresting.

Printing can get a bit complicated. I know that for most people it’s just a matter of clicking ‘print’ on a dialog box on a computer, but it’s not like that for me and Richard Lawrence. Richard has been printing my ‘Holloway’ prints; the ones that have just gone on sale in the Zmas Boutique. These are done on a 1965 Heidelberg platen press; the exact same machine that we used to print the 277 copies of the first edition of Holloway.
We had a few problems with ink getting into places where it shouldn’t be, and so Richard is, as I write, fixing the problem…
“I am getting there. I am also learning more things about my Heidelberg. A frisket made of beermat supplemented by strips of draft excluder all held together with copious amounts of masking tape has nearly done it. What I have learned is that the ink smearing is due to the sheet being drawn to the block by the vacuum as the press opens. This explains the one little bit of the press that I never really understood before. There are holes in the roller tracks that blow air into the void between the printing surface and the paper as the machine opens. For whatever reason I never previously seen fit to connect these up. Now I just need to find a short piece of flexible piping.
I found a piece of pipe at about 5.25pm. It’s silicone and from my local tropical fish supplier. Helps a bit, but slowing the press just as it opens (careful use of clutch) does the most to help.”
heidel

Here’s a bad photo of the press that I took when we were printing Wage Packet covers the other week. Not exactly an Epson XP666, is it?

9th November 2014

HUMOR: A FABER POP-UP SHOP

Between 21st November and 31st January I’ll be having a small exhibition at Natalie Galustian Rare Books, at 22 Cecil Court, between St Martin’s Lane and Charing Cross Road in London. As well as being an outlet for Humor (both the standard hardback and the deluxe hemp paper version) the shop will be displaying work connected, at least tangentially so, to the book; comprised of paintings, letterpress prints, giclée prints and original drawings – and an unpublished page of typed notes from an early draft of Holloway, the book I made with Robert Macfarlane and Dan Richards.

5th November 2014

HUMOR

Humor, a collection of stories of varying lengths was published by Faber & Faber on November 6th 2014. It looks like this, and is available from all good bookshops as well as various online outlets.

humor2650

I’d like to point out at this stage that:
a) All of these stories have been published before. They have been lightly copy-edited by an expert at Faber, and very occasionally tweaked by me, but if you have bought, borrowed, stolen or read both Slowly Downward and Household Worms you will have read all this before.
b) Even the introduction has been published before, in the catalogue to the Red Maze exhibition I did at Schunck in The Netherlands a few years ago.
There are several reasons that I wanted the book to be published by Faber; not least of these is that I’ve had a great admiration for Faber since I was a teenager, and to have my work published by them is like some kind of fucking amazing dream. As well as this, I kind of hope that the work will find a new audience. This may or may not happen.
Faber have done a grand job with the book. It is a very nice thing. In addition to the edition I’ve taken one of my customarily poor photos of, above, Faber have also made a special limited edition, a de fucking luxe edition, printed on hemp paper and presented in a slipcase with a signed lithographic print. Hemp paper. I like this; venerable independent British publisher goes to Spain, buys a bale of cannabis, ships it back to the UK, takes it (I’m not kidding) to Hemel Hempstead, where it’s processed into paper. And I got to design the watermark for it; it’s the crying minotaur I drew for Radiohead’s Amnesiac a long time ago.
So. It’s all quite exciting.
For more information, specification, pricing and blurb, please go HERE for the standard hardback, and HERE for the flabberghasting marijuana-infused art version.

And, naturally, that is not all. To launch this book into the world there is an event in London; it’s on the 3rd November (which is a Monday) and is at The Social, on Little Portland Street which is a few minutes walk from Oxford Circus. It’s ten quid a ticket; Ric Jerrom will be reading from Humor, Paul Kingsnorth with be reading from his ‘shadow language’ novel The Wake, John Matthias will be playing live, from his latest record Geisterfahrer, and Bleep DJs will be adding an acidic flavour to the night.
I’ll also be giving out 99 wage packets, shown below:

wages650

Details HERE and click through to the ticket outlet…

There is other stuff happening too, not least a popup Humor shop in London’s well salubrious bookshop-lined lane Cecil Court, but I’ll ramble on about that in a little while, as it’s not until the 20th November…

3rd November 2014