Progress Report + art & craft

DISASTER STRUCK!

So it goes with book production—at least in my experience. I had big plans to have the book ready to be sewn and finished up today (March 4) but of course my letterpress plates didn’t come in the mail on time. (I want to note that this isn’t because I didn’t order it in enough time but because my (thank goodness now old) apartment has an inefficient system of sometimes letting mail-people into the building and sometimes not.) This created a several problems: The first, since I don’t own my own letterpress, I had to reserve studio time for this project. You can’t cancel these reservations within 24 hours of your scheduled time so I had to pay the full amount for the reserved time which up-ed the cost of the project by $30 since I’ll need more studio time to complete it. In addition, I am now off schedule and will have to complete the letterpressing and binding in a hurry Wednesday and Thursday this week since as I’ve mentioned before, I want to have these chapbooks ready to share with writers at AWP this weekend.

Other than that, I am still super excited about this chapbook. The paper is prepped, the letter press plates are somewhere in the mail and I am (more than) ready to sewn these babies and make a book. It is my first full letterpressed book and I sure it’s going to turn out very nice in the end. This experience reaffirms that more than now something unexpected happens and as a publisher and bookmaker I would do well to remember that ideal situations are unlikely when planning to produce an edition of books.

Here is my revised production schedule:

March 5, finally receive plates by waiting at home (my new apartment doesn’t have a fortress door to get through) all day for UPS.

March 6, letterpress book!

March 7, sew book 😀

Itemized cost of materials:

paper: $20

letterpress plate: $42

hemp thread: $5

missed studio time: $30

actual studio time: $30 (or $45, if it ends up taking more than 2 hours)

total: $127 / $3.70 per

On Art vs. Craft

This is a topic that I have thought about A LOT.

The idea is very deep but I think it is safe to say that the line between art and craft is very thin. I think the basis of the distinction has to do with intent. This shouldn’t be confused with devotion but intent. If you think you are making art you are, simple as that. That doesn’t necessarily mean it is “good” but since the relevance of all art (even the most successful art that is almost understood to be artistically valuable) is based only on the opinions of other people. Of course these can be educated opinions but really opinions nonetheless considering how objective art is.

This isn’t to say that craft is something that should be snuffed at. In many cases, a refined craft is something that takes years and years to develop. And in my opinion, the best art has a huge attention to the craft involved in creation. In addition, ultimate care required for superb craft is sort of an artistic gesture in itself in that it involves transfer of emotion. I agree with what the funny man on the video was saying—such distinctions create barriers that place limitations on the way we see the world. With that, I believe art to be a way to view the world, craft a way to translate this vision.

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