Mimi-nashi Hoichi, a "Small Plates" artist residency at the San Francisco Center for the Book


My newest letterpress/linoleum block book, "Mimi-nashi Hoichi," recounts the story of a sightless biwa player named Hoichi, whose ears are sheared off following a score of nights performing the "Heike Monogatari" song cycles in a cemetery off the shores of Shiminoseki, Yamaguchi-ken. 

Over the course of roughly four months, I was one of three artists that were invited to do a residency at the wonderful San Francisco Center for the Book, to complete the project. The challenge of the Small Plates residency is that the book must be 4" x 4" trim size, and utilize the resources and equipment of the Center as best as you can. It was an incredible experience, with the best access to book arts tools, equipment, and most importantly— knowledge in the form of staff, other fellow printers, and even the other two artists in residence, Michelle Wilson and Andy Rottner.

The first step required me to draw and hand carve the many linoleum block illustrations to accompany the text which was printed entirely on letterpresses.

The text was printed from polymer plates created by local printing powerhouse, Logos Graphics, which took a fair amount of wiggling around to make sure that everything registered correctly since the pages were printed six pages up per run. No room for errors!

The entire final book was printed using black Ganson rubberbased inks on Chandler and Price and Vandercook letterpresses.

And then there was the binding. I gathered up a group of my most awesome book arts friends in the SF Bay Area, plied them with food (thank you for cooking, Thy Tran!) and had many, many hands at the table to pierce, clamp, trim, collate, glue, fold, sew, and put the books to bed.

 Twenty pages printed on natural and jade handmade Loksa Nepalese papers with a Japanese stab binding. Wheeee!