For the love
of books

An exhibition of contemporary
fine press and artists' books

21 October 2014 to 22 February 2015

Exhibition Room, Sir George Grey Special Collections,
Level 2, Auckland Central City Library.

Monday to Friday, 9am-5pm
Saturday and Sunday, 10am-4pm

Judith Haswell. An abecedary for the appellation of woman.
Auckland: J. Haswell, 1997.

A selection of the best national & international examples of fine book making, held by the Sir George Grey Special Collections.

A Guide to Higher Learning Julie Chen

Julie Chen has been making books at her Flying Fish Press in California since 1987. The variety of unusual structures in her books reflects her aim of creating a coherent whole, so that the form emerges from the words and images.

In A guide to higher learning the mathematical formulae which unfold are accompanied by a stream of consciousness commentary describing, moment by moment, the experience of learning something difficult. The book looks like a games board as it unfolds, behaving a bit like a quest.

Julie Chen. A guide to higher learning. California: Flying Fish Press, 2009.

Presented with kind permission of the copyright holder, Julie Chen and Flying Fish Press.

Soundtrack: "Salted Caramel" by idaydream is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Full Circle Julie Chen

Full circle is another of Julie Chen’s books from her Flying Fish Press. The intersecting circles on the book’s surface cycle through thoughts about faith and belief. The structure of the book incorporates a turning wheel which reveals windows of changing images, words and everyday objects that reflect on the experience.

There are also drawers to open at various points around the wheel that provide pop-up images of infatuation, estrangement and reunion.

Julie Chen. Full circle. California: Flying Fish Press, 2006.

Presented with kind permission of the copyright holder, Julie Chen and Flying Fish Press.

Soundtrack: "Oui" by Poddington Bear is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Marbled paper Karli Frigge

The ancient art of marbling is brought to the fore in these examples of fine press printing. In a dream Karli Frigge tries to describe marbling as ‘a rainbow of wavy colours… polar lights and… the glow of sunset’, and it is all these but still more.

Commonly used as endpapers, here marbling has been incorporated as both the subject and star of a book. All the marbling in the book was hand done by Karli Frigge.

Karli Frigge. Marbled paper. Buren, Netherlands: Antiquariaat Frits Knuf, 1985.

Presented with kind permission of the copyright holder, Karli Frigge.

Soundtrack: "Backed Vibes Clean 1973" by Kevin Macleod is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

From the snows to the seas: original prints and textJoseph Guy Lubbock

Joe Lubbock was born in 1915 in London and grew up in Norfolk. In the 1960s, he moved to Suffolk with his wife, where he still resides. From his studio, Lubbock views the fields, woods and river which appear in many of his illustrations. His travels to more remote places, like the Galápagos Islands, Himalayas and the Antarctic have influenced his work too.

From the snows to the seas is printed on handmade paper with uncut edges by Will Carter at Rampant Lions Press, Cambridge. The prints in the book are etched on to copper plates, applied with paint and printed on a hand press.

Joseph Guy Lubbock. From the snows to the seas: original prints and text. London, Bertram Rota Limited; Cambridge: Rampant Lions Press, 1986.

Presented with kind permission of the copyright holder, Joseph Lubbock.

Soundtrack: "Dances and Dames" by Kevin Macleod is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

The head, the heart and the hand Tara McLeod

Tara McLeod has always been a champion of letterpress typography, using traditional metal and wooden type in creative and experimental ways. He is New Zealand’s premier private press printer, founding his Pear Tree Press in 1988, while also working for the Holloway Press and as one of Otakou Press’s occasional printers in residence.

The head, the heart and the hand is both an argument for hand printing in the digital age and a demonstration of what can be achieved with this level of technical and artistic skill.

Tara McLeod. The head, the heart and the hand: private press printing in the digital age. Auckland: Pear Tree Press, 2007.

Presented with kind permission of the copyright holder, Tara McLeod and Pear Tree Press.

Soundtrack: "Hold on Tight" by idaydream is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 4.0

Anansi Company Ronald King and Roy Fisher

Based on Walter Jekyll's Jamaican song and story, this book features Anansi, a trickster who is both spider and man, along with his friends – Tiger, Snake, Turtle, Cat, Rat-bat, Dog, Cock, Parrot, Dry skull, Rabbit, Chicken hawk – and Jack Mantora.

It is a modern rendition of the Anansi stories, which were told for over one thousand years in Africa, and then transplanted to the Caribbean by slaves. These storytellers typically close Anansi stories with, “Jack Mantora, me no choose none”, Caribbean patois which means “Mr Listener, don’t think I’m getting at you”.

Anansi Company is the seventh collaboration by artist Ron King and poet Roy Fisher of Circle Press.

This publication pushes the boundaries of what a book is. Although it begins in a familiar shape, the solander box once opened spawns fifteen separate sections, each holding a puppet which, similarly, can be removed from the main body of work, even though Ron King “designed, printed and constructed the works to be viewed as a whole”.

Formed in 1967, Circle Press reflects Ron’s vision to work with like-minded individuals in a supportive group. Currently the circle includes over one hundred, with the main contributors being artists John Christie and Ron King, and poets Roy Fisher and Kenneth White.

Ronald King and Roy Fisher. Anansi Company: a collection of thirteen hand-made wire and card rod-puppets. London: Circle Press, 1992.

Presented with kind permission of the copyright holder, Ronald King and Circle Press.

Soundtrack: "Wind Up Toy" by Poddington Bear is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

PortmeirionRobin Llywelyn

John Randle’s Whittington Press has been making finely crafted, letterpress printed books since 1971.

Portmeirion signals a new departure for the Press, with its vividly coloured illustrations by Leslie Gerry. These were drawn on an electronic tablet and printed digitally onto handmade paper. The concertina structure allows the double page spread to lie flat.

Portmeirion in North Wales was constructed as an Italianate village by Clough Williams-Ellis, beginning in 1925, and is now a major tourist attraction.

Robin Llywelyn. Portmeirion. Images by Leslie Gerry. Herefordshire: Whittington Press, 2008.

Presented with kind permission of the copyright holder, Whittington Press

Soundtrack: "Erik Satie: Gymnopedie No 3" by Kevin Macleod is licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0