Printing with Nature

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Printing with Nature

Hello Friends of the Press,

Last year we published Reverie, a little book poems that featured illustrations printed from grasses growing in our field. I loved the process and the look of these nature prints (which I first learned about from John Ryder's wonderful book Printing for Pleasure), and they came immediately to mind when I began to think about what illustrations might accompany our newest production ~ Wind Intervals, a chapbook of poems by Jeff Schwaner.

Collected and dried last autumn from the tree outside our print shop door, I had a stash of beautiful Japanese maple leaves under weights in a corner of the shop. Many of Jeff's poems include the presence and imagery of trees, including maples. It seemed like a perfect match.

So, this past week I began adding prints made directly from these dried leaves to the pages of Wind Intervals. Here's a little peek at the process ~ enjoy!

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Wind Chimes

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Wind Chimes

On the heels of this week's snow and sleet, the wind has come howling in. Today at the Press we're feeding the woodstove, catching up on reading and writing, and going over proofs of Wind Intervals, the new chapbook of poetry by Jeff Schwaner.

What is the sound of a loosening of leaves
like forgetting hands just before they drop
to our sides?
— Jeff Schwaner, in the title poem "Wind Intervals"

One of our favorite poets, Jeff brings to his work a deeply engaging mixture of observation, introspection, and connection. We are honored to be publishing his next chapbook of seven poems, carefully selected and printed by Emily Hancock.

Recently, we invited Jeff to the Press to record some of his poems. Let these whet your whistle for the rest of the book!

Wind Intervals will be published in two formats, a Standard Edition and a Special Edition. We are currently taking pre-orders of both.

STANDARD EDITION

  • 150 numbered copies
  • hand-set in Bembo types (cast by the Bixler Letterfoundry in NY)
  • two original illustrations
  • letterpress printed on our 1909 Golding Pearl treadle press
  • Mohawk Superfine text paper
  • Hahnemühle Bugra covers
  • hand-bound at the Press
  • $24

SPECIAL EDITION

  • 35 signed and numbered copies
  • hand-set in Bembo types (cast by the Bixler Letterfoundry in NY)
  • two original illustrations
  • letterpress printed on our 1909 Golding Pearl treadle press
  • Revere Book mouldmade text paper
  • St Armand handmade covers
  • hand-bound at the Press
  • $35

To pre-order a copy, please email Emily Hancock at stbrigidpress@gmail.com, or fill out the form below.

Mark your calendars ~ the official book launch for Wind Intervals will be April 28th, at 7pm at Black Swan Books in Staunton, Virginia! (Pre-orders will ship that day.)

Thanks Friends, and hold onto your hats!

St Brigid Press

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"Wind Intervals" chapbook

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The People's Press

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The People's Press

The constitutional guarantee of freedom of the press is something we’ve always taken seriously here at St Brigid Press. We’re grateful to be able to practice our crafts of printing and poetry in a free spirit and a free society. 

It’s important, however, to continue to be vigilant ~ to remind each other and our elected representatives of how precious and vital are our democracy and freedom. We have many wise voices, past and present, who stood up (or, like Rosa Parks, sat down) and spoke out for our inalienable rights. 

In honor of their voice ~ your voice, my voice, our collective American voices ~ we’ve created a series called The People’s Postcards.  

Alexander Hamilton was an immigrant from the Caribbean who, in his early 20s, found a job as an assistant to George Washington. He eventually became a delegate to the Constitutional Convention, helped author the Federalist Papers, and served as the first US Secretary of the Treasury. The quote on our postcard was part of a speech Hamilton gave at the New York state convention in Poughkeepsie, where he urged representatives to ratify the US Constitution.

Born a slave in Maryland about 1818, Frederick Douglass became one of the most ardent and eloquent human rights activists and orators in US history, speaking and writing on behalf of African-Americans, Native Americans, women, and immigrants. He also became a government official and newspaper publisher. The above quote was part of a speech Douglass gave in the District of Columbia on the 23rd anniversary of emancipation in DC.


Friends, we are the WE in “We the People…” Let’s keep up the good work of forming a more perfect union. Together.


The People’s Postcards

  • letterpress printed by yours truly
  • postal service-compliant at 6” x 4.25”
  • pre-stamped! — ready to pen and send
  • sturdy bamboo cardstock paper
  • $8.50 for a set-of-10 stamped postcards
  • order direct from Emily Hancock at stbrigidpress@gmail.com

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Loving Letters

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Loving Letters

Hi Friends of the Press, and a very Happy Feast-Day of St Brigid to you all! We are most glad to celebrate this day with the launch of our latest book ~

Love Letters: An Abecedarium of Type Designs by Frederic W. Goudy

This project all began with the simple love of letters ~ letters beautifully designed, cast, printed, and shared. 

One of the most gifted and prolific type designers in American history, Frederic Goudy began his life’s work at his Village Press in Park Ridge, Illinois in 1903. Beginning in the 1890s and continuing until his death in 1947, he designed well over 100 typefaces, many of which are still in use today in both metal and digital formats. 

At St Brigid Press, we are honored to care for and print with a couple of rarer metal castings of Goudy’s designs. This book presents the gorgeous 60-point Cloister Initials and the elegant Friar in the form of an abecedarium, or “a-b-c book” ~ the large Initial letters are accompanied on each page by the name of another of Goudy’s typefaces, printed here in his Friar. The book was designed, handset in metal type, and printed on the circa-1915 iron handpress here at the Press by Emily Hancock.

If you want to see more of the process on printing a page of this book, please see our previous post, “Diary of a Printed Page.”

Steve Matteson, Creative Director at Monotype and historian of Frederic Goudy and his type designs.

Steve Matteson, Creative Director at Monotype and historian of Frederic Goudy and his type designs.

Frederic Goudy energized a new generation of type designers with his beautiful, time-tested work. One of those designers who takes inspiration from Goudy is Steve Matteson. Steve is one of the finest digital type designers in the world, serving currently as Creative Type Director at the legendary Monotype Corporation. His roots are in metal and cast iron, though — he and I met in the Fall of 2015, at the American Printing History Association’s conference celebrating the iron handpress, held at the Rochester Institute of Technology where Steve first studied typography. 

From the Droid font family to digital revivals of Goudy’s own types like Bertham Pro and Friar Pro, Matteson has a brilliant sense of lettering and typography. And history, too — we were thrilled when Steve agreed to write an introduction for Love Letters. In a few paragraphs, he manages to introduce us to Goudy the late-19th/early-20th century craftsman, and to bring the beauty of Goudy’s art and heart forward into our present age. 

We love letters. And Frederic Goudy's are some of the most beautiful ever designed. May they spark joy in you as well!

  • Edition of 45 numbered books.
  • 6 x 4 inches (closed)
  • Interior papers are Rives Lightweight mouldmade paper (cream), with accents of French Paper Company’s Parchtone Natural.
  • Covers are Chestnut-Pinto Lokta, handmade in Nepal.
  • Sewn side-bound with linen thread.
  • Preface by Emily Hancock.
  • Introduction by Steve Matteson.
  • Goudy Old Style type for the text was specially cast for this printing by Patrick Reagh in Sebastopol, California.

TO ORDER, please continue to our secure check-out HERE.

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Diary of a Printed Page

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Diary of a Printed Page

I must confess ~ each time a piece of paper goes into the printing press blank and emerges again filled with words, I am astonished. 

What still feels like the sudden epiphany of language out-of-nothing is not, in fact, miraculous. It is careful, collaborative craftsmanship by author and papermaker and metal-caster and printer, among others. It’s a strangely fluid movement of human and machine ~ an always-changing choreography of eye and iron, hand and fiber, thought and ink and breath. 

Joyous!

Here’s a little photo diary from today’s print run. I was printing the second color (in red) on the title page of St Brigid Press’s newest book, forthcoming in early February.

Thanks so much for joining us on this journey. All best to you all,

St Brigid Press

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