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Sixty (2017) Robert Browning. 2 ½ by 1 ½ inches. Accordion, wooden covers, printed with wood type. Made for Donna’s 60th birthday. 60 copies. $60.

Artists' Statement:

This book was made by Peter to celebrate Donnaís 60th birthday. The text was letterpress printed on Peterís handmade paper. The first press runs were made with found printers cuts of cows grazing in fields. Each press run the image was printed on the tympan so it would offset and print as a ghost image the back side of the paper. The ghosted images were intended to make a nonspecific statement about how the past can either haunt us or provide a fertile field for pleasant memories. The block was then reversed and printed in a second color the same way. Finally all sheets were looked over and if the ghost image was too light that sheet was reprinted with little ink and little pressure to mimic the ghost prints (but in this case the image was right rather than wrong reading). Next the background type was printed using a split fountain so that the type would print with a rainbow look to it. Large wood type numbers were used to print 60606060 across the full length of the accordion page. Different sized numbers were used for each side of the page. Next the type for the quotes was printed, one quote per side. The Browning quote was printed with transparent black ink so the printing underneath would ghost through. This was intended reinforce the nonspecific statement about the past. Then the anonymous statement was printed on the other side, and finally the title and colophon information were added under that line of text. In all there were about a million press runs made to print this book. The binding is made using sustainably harvested rosewood that were off cuts from guitar tops and backs from the Santa Cruz Guitar Company. The SCGC chooses each piece of wood it uses for its quality as a tone wood, so when you beat this book with a mallet it will sound more beautiful than most other books. The title is wood burned into the front cover. Each time a cover is stamped it smashes the type and new type is required, final act to reinforce the nonspecific statement about the results of the passing of time.




© 2002 Peter and Donna Thomas