It was a relief when I heard the UPS truck pull up in the rain. I was waiting by the door afraid that the package I needed to letterpress 5 drawings of the maryland sky wouldn’t arrive. That night, it took 3.5 hours to fully letterpress 35 copies of this micro fiction collection but after I finished, I couldn’t be prouder of my first fully letterpress micro-chapbook
This experience has allowed me to learn several things. First, and probably most valuable is the idea that I can pull anything off. I certainly know that there are limitations to this but I feel a bit more confident in taking on rad book projects that can be done in only a few weeks. I realize that it doesn’t have to take a year to create a book. This inspires me because it opens up multiple avenues to explore and experiment with book arts as well as collaborate with varies people that are similarly interested. I’m excited for many more books to come!
However, sometimes months of planning are useful and necessary. For Sorry I Wrote So Many Sad Poems Today, the last handmade chapbook Ink Press Productions published, we planned well in advance. As a result, the process was really smooth—much smoother than this chapbook—and we could handle “hiccups” a lot easier since they weren’t happening at the last minute with a deadline literally days away. With 5 drawings of the maryland sky, I wasn’t able to plan as much because the idea to make this assignment into a “bigger” project for Ink Press was spontaneous and life happened to be busy (school, moving, & preparing for AWP) during the entire process. All the hiccups felt like crises. This is why I was so happy (and relieved!) when they actually came together and I had a stack of little books to take with me to Boston for the conference—and I sold a bunch! People received them really well, gave many compliments.
More than anything, I learned from this process that you will quickly begin working against yourself if you feel as if you “know what you need and what you are doing,” that things will be covered since you have been through the process before. When it comes down to it, whenever I set my mind on a project I always pull it together somehow but relying on that as a safely will certainly make the process much harder than it needs to be. Not to mention, it’s hard to letterpress when you’re back is in stress knots. From these two ideas I believe the best method for me as a book artist and publisher is to find a happy balance between planning and spontaneity. I believe that part of the fun in creating art is about figuring out how to handle “mistakes.” And the beauty of bookmaking is linked to this because each book passing through your hands opens up the chance for “happy accidents.” Without fail, probably the ONLY thing you CAN expect is that something unexpected is bound to happen. It’s defiantly best to give yourself enough time to deal, turn it into something awesome.
In the end, 5 drawings of the maryland sky turned out super and it is something I can confidently stand behind. It represent what I want to be doing with Ink Press: collaborating with great authors to produce expansive books of art.
5 drawings of the maryland sky by Joseph Young is a brief collection of micro-fiction hand stitched by Ink Press Productions and fully letterpress printed at Baltimore Print Studios. This is a limited run of only 35 copies with 5 different color covers.
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