The Making of the Covers

7 runs, 9 hours, 4 days, 3 different presses, 3 different covers. Maybe only another letterpress printer will understand the insanity that felt like, getting three of the four handmade letterpress covers for the Anomalous Press 2015 season done in the past week. (The fourth is being printed by the phenomenal Lee Marchalonis, and I don’t even know what it looks like yet, but she’s one of my favorite printers ever!).

I started out last week with the cover for The All-New by Ian Hatcher, cover designed by Chris Wegman. My first day back on a press since moving to San Francisco, and the only press available last week when I needed to print at the San Francisco Center for the Book was their largest press, a Vandercook larger and heavier than any I’d operated before. Larger than the Universal-I with the automatic carriage I’d run at Brown. And no automatic carriage. So doing the two runs of 170 pulls each was exhausting, and my shoulder felt it for days. But look how amazing the silver ink is on the violet-blue paper (and it’s even more glittery and beautiful in person):



Finishing those in one 4-hour day seemed insane, so what made me think that I could do 4 runs in the next 4-hour printing day? Well, overconfidence, and deadlines, I suppose.

The cover for Drown/Sever/Sing by Lina Maria Ferriera Cabeza-Vanegas was designed by our own A. Kendra Greene to be a beautiful single-run of dark blue on light blue paper. And after deciding to over-ink the form a bit for saturation, I went managed to get it all the way done in under an hour, thanks to the much lighter and faster operation of the Vandercook 4 I was on. I love that the texture of the paper (a gift from Burning Deck Books!) shows through the ink.


Also, Lina realized that the title, translated into Spanish, is equally awesome: Aguar/Cortar/Cantar.

Feeling confident, I decided to set up and try to run 3 out of the 4 colors for Third Person Singular by Rosmarie Waldrop. This cover I designed on-press using the type on hand at the Center, which is my favorite way to print. I was especially happy to find the font I used to set Rosmarie’s name!



I did the whole front, 4 runs of 170 pulls, in under two hours. Yeah. It was crazy, and delightful, and I’m so pleased with how it turned out. So, as if by magic, but in fact by actual insane printing and editing days, these books will be available at AWP. But you can always pre-order them individually or the whole season. Pre-orders help pay for the cost of the making of the book (and guarantee you’ll get one of the 100 limited hand-made covers), so these books are really brought to you by our readers.

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