Earliest Spring

William Dean Howells was a US-American author who lived from 1837 to 1920. He wrote this bespoke seasonal poem starting off with dramatic words of ruthless deathly winter, while then gliding into a warm and vibrant ode to life, that has never ended or surrendered, but was just waiting out the hard times patiently and confidently.

The artist’s book is made from two aged qualities of Hahnemühle deckled edge paper I was able to adopt from a friend’s father, who had at last given up on his intaglio printing due to old age. The stronger quality was used for the cover sheet, the slightly lighter one for the inner pages. 

The text is hand set from Trajanus and Jaguar and printed on my Grafix proofing press. The book comes with two linocuts. The cover has been burnished from an old weathered board. The colours are in bright yellow, referring to the first wave of vibrant colour sweeping through after winter with dandelion and cornel cherry going in early bloom; and bleak black and grey for the gusts of snow and sleet veiling the countryside at times while seemingly draining all colour from nature.

The book is a portrait format of 17 x 26 cm and comes with 12 pages, the 4-page cover sheet and a sheet of glassine paper with an ice crystal pattern sewn in. Design, typography, printing, linocuts and binding are all my own work. The text is in English. The book is a 5-hole pamphlet stitch and an edition of 7 numbered and signed copies. It is published in spring 2020.