Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Printing the Covers for The Passion of Woo & Isolde

On June 6th and 7th, we gathered in Boston to letterpress the covers for the chapbook chosen by judge Amelia Gray as the winner of our Eleventh Annual Short Short Chapbook Contest. This year's winning chapbook is Jennifer Tseng's The Passion of Woo & Isolde. 

Happily, we were able to print again this year at Union Press in Union Square, Somerville, with the amazing and expert help of UP's Eli Epstein. We printed one color a day, cranking roughly 500 covers across the Vandercook press each day to end up with the lovely 2-color covers we used for the 425 finished books in this limited edition run.

This year we used a Steel Blue-colored paper from the French Paper Construction line for the covers, and used metallic gold and deep brown as our ink colors. In The Passion of Woo & Isolde, the final story of section II, "Zealots," hinges on an argument Woo and Isolde have over a pair of scissors. We felt like scissors made for a good motif and cover image for this book, which features sharp, clean prose and often invokes the feeling of being cut off or separated in some way from one's family, community, or homeland. The similarly crisp title font is Kabel. The cover and interior were both designed by our award-winning designer Rebecca Saraceno. The amazing linoleum cut of the scissors was made by Eli Epstein, a master of creating nuanced artwork for letterpress from linoleum blocks.

The covers came out beautifully and the finished books look terrific, featuring gold and white patterned endpapers and cool white interior pages. The book launches today, August 8, and you can order your copy here.

One highlight from this year's printing fun was that author Jennifer Tseng was able to stop by and personally roll out a few copies of her book's cover! It was the first time one of our chapbook authors has been Boston-based, and it was a pleasure to share our letterpress process with her.

Here are some photos of our printing process this year:
The magical gold metallic ink
The gold ink and Day 1 lock-up on press
RMP intern Sara Henke printing
Designer Rebecca Saraceno checking our gold ink coverage
Day 1 covers drying
Eli Epstein setting the type for Day 2
The lock-up for the brown ink on Day 2
A finished cover coming off the press
Finished covers drying on Day 2
Our letterpress printing team this year! L to R: Sara Henke, Kathleen Rooney, Heather Butterfield, Rebecca Saraceno, Abby Beckel, and Eli Epstein. Also, check out Union Press' amazing work on the wall behind us.

Many thanks to everyone who helped print covers this year and especially to Eli Epstein of Union Press for his help, expertise, and use of UP's equipment and inks.

Order your copy of this limited edition contest-winning chapbook! More details about the book, including the book trailer, are available here.


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