American Breeding Standards explores the systemized rules about what comprises a good or bad horse, a good or bad woman — and the steps one might take to achieve the breed standard.
American Breeding Standards is designed and letterpress printed on Zerkall Book by Ellen Knudson, Crooked Letter Press. Images and text printed from photo-polymer plates and handset metal types. The binding structure is an exposed spine sewn on Cave Paper tapes and attached to paste paper covered boards. The book was produced in 2012–2013 and printed by the artist in Gainesville, Florida. Text excerpted from American Horses and Horse Breeding (John Dimon, 1895) and Canine Breeding Standards of the German Shepherd (American Kennel Club, 2012). Other text and illustrations by the artist.
The cover of the book has a hinged pop-up that folds out. The interior of the book contains 3 foldout pages.
Edition of 60.
Subject / Verb / Object is a word game that grew from a need to process feelings of anger. The game has no beginning, no end, and no way to win. The turning, fitting, and order of words can lead to clarity or confusion. The reader plays with language and considers some of the options about what we all want, need, and have.
The concept behind the book stems from the frustration and anger I feel towards art criticism and other academic writing. Academic language seems intended to control its audience, exclude "outsiders", and is not meant to clarify the subject for a reader. It takes the beauty and passion out of language and, in turn, out of people. Subject/Verb/Object pokes at this idea by doing something similar: it uses simplistic language and structure to force the reader to attempt a visual organization of the things we cannot put in order: our desires.
The entire book was letterpress printed on a Vandercook Universal I from a combination of handset metal types and photopolymer plates. Handset body text is Stymie Medium and Bold 12 pt. Larger type is a combination of various display metal types. Volvelle, interior sleeve, and belly band are all printed on Murillo paper. The exterior sleeve is covered in Iris book cloth in Coffee. Metal brad binds the volvelle. Metal grommets on other portions of the the sleeve.
Closed sleeve: 13”W x 13”H x 0.25”thick
Volvelle: 12” diameter
Edition of 85 books.
From the Prologue: "I only recently left North Carolina, having lived in both Carolinas my entire life. It seems ludicrous now, but I somehow thought I was a city girl, that I cared nothing about quiet, warmth, trees, and the absence of crowds — all of the things a city lacks. North Carolina kept its arms around me for so long I began to hate its comfort. I struggled against it and like a good parent it let me go, knowing all along I would miss it. It bided its time, doing what it does and let the longing build in me. The realization of what I’d lost crept up on me, caught me off guard like steam after a cool rain. These are the details, the myths and the handwriting on the wall — the how and why it wriggled its way into my heart. (The text above was written in 1998. It is all still true, except that we left North Carolina fourteen years ago.)"
The type is handset in Palatino 10pt, 18pt and 42pt and Harold Berliner's Lutetia Italic. The color illustrations began as colored pencil drawings and later became magnesium plates which were four-color process printed on the letterpress. The line drawings are from the Webster’s Dictionary circa 1950. The entire book was letterpress printed on a Vandercook Universal I. Each book is built with 75 passes through the press. The book block is composed of Rives BFK (beefcake) and my handmade Philippine Gampi. The binding is a stab binding cased into a hard cover/soft spine structure, and enclosed in a handmade slip case.
Edition of 50 books.
Wild Girls Redux: An Operator's Manual is the revisit of a book created almost 12 years ago. The original book, How to Become One of the Original Wild Girls, was designed and printed in 1997. That book is a playful list of imaginary "rules" that "should" be followed to achieve Wild Girl status. The rules are light-hearted, but they have the sting of recognition that most women realize to be sexist in nature. Wild Girls Redux reexamines these issues, using motorcycle road and driving rules as text along with images of pin-up girls and industrial schematic illustrations. The tactile materials of the book include pink heart paper doilies, white doily placemats, flocked paper covers, and green office ledger papers. The intent of the "Operator's Manual" is tongue-in-cheek and provides the ordinary, mechanical, and absurd rules of how to operate women.
All parts of the book are designed and letterpress printed from photo-polymer plates by Ellen Knudson, Crooked Letter Press. 2009. Text adapted from the Missouri Department of Revenue Motorcycle Operator Manual. Typefaces are Blue Highway, French Cursive, and Cooper Black. Paper is Indian Sunn Hemp Contemporary. Cover is flocked paper in maroon. Binding is an accordion portfolio cover with two pamphlet structures sewn in. Lining paper is Hahnemühle Bugra in Fawn. Each book comes with with a set of stickers, kept inside a yellow office mailing envelope decorated with a wrap-around belly band.
Edition of 100. Signed by the artist.
This book is a collection of
poems written by Leah Eisenbeis. She wrote the poems in 2001 as part of
her final project for her degree in English from The University of
Minnesota. Leah and I met and became friends as we were students in the
University of Alabama Book Arts Program. I wanted to print the poems
because they are so unaffected, honest, and beautiful. Just like my
friend Leah. The illustrations throughout the book are done in reaction
to her poems. The collages of animals, plants, and birds are letterpress
printed from linoleum cuts that I produced. In addition to the poems, I
decided to include the text of a few emails that Leah and I exchanged.
Written by Leah Lintner Eisenbeis. Designed and illustrated by Ellen Knudson. Typeset in Bembo and Incognito types letterpress printed from photopolymer plates on Hahnemuhle Biblio paper. The two large fold-outs in each book are printed on Kitakata. The binding is french-sewn and bound in a full-cloth, built-in groove, flat-back case. Each copy of the book is contained in a handmade clamshell box. The cloth for both the book and box is decorated with stitching done on my Janome sewing machine. 4.75” x 6.5”, 60 pages with map-style foldouts.
Edition of 75
Signed by the author and illustrator. $325.
The process once used for printing everything from literature to newspapers is now used for printing as an art form and craft. The type high object in the bed of the press — whether it's type, linoleum, wood block, or photopolymer plate — is impressed into and becomes part of the paper on which it's printed. The possibilities of words combined with images are endless. Different types of letterpress printers include fine press printers, (traditional books and poetry chapbooks), job printers (invitations, announcements) and book artists (books and flat art pieces, combined with other art and printing processes). Crooked Letter Press produces letterpress books in the realm of book arts, with a focus on high craft and quality printing in the tradition of fine press printing.
Setting metal or wood type by hand is the way type was set before the advent of photographic reproduction or computers. Type comes in a variety of typeface styles and sizes. In a font of type, each letter of the alphabet, (plus other characters, figures, & ligatures) is set on top of a piece of metal of a specific height (.918", or type high.) The letters are selected from the type drawer, one by one, and set side by side to form words and sentences. Spacing material sized shorter than the type is placed between words for wordspacing, and pieces of leading are placed beneath each finished line of set type for line spacing. The lines must be set firmly in the composing stick so they can be removed without falling apart, tied together into a form, and moved into the bed of the press for letterpress printing.
Using a Pantone mixing guide, any ink color can be mixed from a standard collection of basic ink colors — either rubber-based or oil-based ink.
For two years I traveled the road between Starkville, Mississippi and Tuscaloosa, Alabama while I attended graduate school. This book is a collection of visual and textual vignettes in reflection of that trip; little pieces of the scenery and of my thoughts during that drive.
The paper is 100% cotton rag, handmade from my family's clothes. The six large illustrations are linoleum reduction prints, the other illustrations are line art drawings printed from photopolymer plates. The type is handset in multiple sizes of Lutetia metal types, cast by Harold Berliner. The book is bound in a built-in groove case in a dos-a-dos style binding. 4" x 6", 56 pages with two illustrated fold-outs.
The six linoleum prints are also available as a set of prints in a handmade portfolio. The prints are only available as a set with the book. Edition of 15 sets of prints.
Edition of 50 books, signed.
$250.00 (book only)
$385.00 (book and portfolio set)
Photo by Jerry Mathiason
This broadside is a poem that reads:
"The thing that puts me in my place is clover on the roadside. The thing that puts me in pieces is you in the morning." Handset in wood type, Cooper Black, and Lutetia metal types, with imagery printed from photopolymer plates. Printed on Bugra Hahnemuhle paper. 9" x 12".
Edition of 40.
Paper can be made in many different ways and from many different fibers. When making paper from clothes or rag, the fabric is cut into small pieces, soaked, then put into a large beater and beaten until it is a usable pulp. The pulp is added to a large vat of water and a mould and deckle is dipped into the vat. Fibers are gathered on the mould screen and lifted out of the water. The paper is couched (kooched) off of the screen onto felts. The steps are repeated until there is a 10 to 20 sheet post of paper to be pressed. The press squeezes water out of the paper and the papers are parted, placed on dry felts, and pressed again. The paper is parted again and stacked onto blotters, under weight, for further drying.
Photos of Papermaking class, University of Alabama
Book Arts Program, Spring 2005
When I swim, thoughts come and go, flowing like the water. How Swimming Saved My Life is a book about my experience of swimming as exercise and as a release from the stresses of life. “My fury makes me a bad person and the one thing that saves me from being a monster is swimming. Water is one of the few places where I am graceful.”
Designed, written, and illustrated by Ellen Knudson. Handset in Goudy Old Style #394 and Melior types. Printed letterpress on Somerset Book heavyweight paper. The binding is pamphlet-sewn with covers of handmade Indian Khadi paper. Each copy of the book contains an original gelatin plate monoprint and two multiple-color reductions printed from linoleum blocks. 6.625” x 9.5”, 12 pages with foldouts.
Edition of 45, signed.
The range of options is broad for structure, style, and complexity in bookbinding. The binding of a book depends greatly upon the contents of a book. The steps involved in making a book depend somewhat on the style of binding being executed. In most cases the steps proceed something like this:
1. Trim book block and end sheet papers to correct size.
2. Fold folios (single sheets) into a section (group of folded sheets) using a bonefolder for crisp folds.
3. Press the folded sections between boards in a nipping press.
4. Using a punching jig, punching trough, and awl, punch holes through the sections to prepare for sewing. The type of sewing depends on the style of book being made.
5. Sew the book. If the book is a non-adhesive structure, (and the covers have been made) no further steps are taken.
6. Prepare the spine of the book. This involves many possible combinations of straightening, rounding, backing, gluing, and adhering of spine linings.
7. Make the case of the book. Cut boards to size, make spine stiffener, cut cover and spine covering materials, glue all pieces of case together.
8. Case in the book. Position the book in the case and glue up end sheets one at a time. Press book firmly in nipping press and allow to dry under light weight.
How to Love Someone Forever is a collection of poems written by Kevin Knudson (my husband) and myself for one another and for our son.We are always working on how to love each other, Kevin, Gus, and I, so this is a hint of the grand gooey mess that is us. The weed illustrations further reflect the tangle of our relationships, lovely and difficult as they are. The illustrations are line drawings of weeds printed from photopolymer plates. The book is about the every day of relationships and finding beauty in them when they can be taken for granted and so easily go unnoticed, much like weeds. Handset and printed in Goudy Old Style 394 and Caslon metal types. Letterpress printed on dampened Hahnemuhle Bugra papers in mint and marble gray. The book is double-pamphlet sewn and set in a built-in groove case binding. The paste paper covers are handmade on mint Bugra. Printed by Ellen Knudson / Crooked Letter Press in Starkville, Mississippi on the badass Vandercook Universal 1 proofing press. September—October 2004.
The poem Valentine Sestina (the large fold-out in the book) is available as a separate broadside. The broadside poem is a sestina written by Kevin Knudson with illustrations by Ellen Knudson. Sizes: book: 6” x 8”, 34 pages with fold-out; Broadside: 8” x 17¾”.
Edition of 50 books and 50 broadsides.
$170.00 (book and broadside)
$125.00 (book only)
This book is a visual and verbal stream-of-consciousness about my life since having my son. It is not meant to be read to get from the beginning to the end. It is meant to be read like the mind before falling asleep — very loose, without a start or finish. The illustrations are calligraphic drawings done as linoleum reduction prints. The drawings are not meant to be read as words or to make normal “sense”. The letters are to function as forms and not as words. The text is handset in 18 pt. Spartan and 24 pt. Melior Bold metal types. The illustrations are calligraphic drawings transferred to linoleum and letterpress printed in three colors by reduction. The paper is Rives lightweight in natural white. The binding is a single section built-in groove case binding with handmade paste paper covers.
Edition of 35.
This book is about me and my two sisters and the figurative houses we live in: the Brick House, the Haunted House, and the Restored House. The title Triumvirate refers to the ruling powers of three people. The choice of type, illustration, and colors (gold, red, black) are a reference to the royal figures on a deck — or house — of cards. The text is handset in 16, 12, and 10 pt. Bembo and 36 pt. Homewood metal types. The illustrations are line drawings printed from photopolymer plates. The binding is a french-fold pamphlet. The papers are Hahnemuhle Bugra in Chamois and Brick.
Edition of 35
Wild Girls (Betty Book)
This book is inspired by the images of Betty Page. The text is a list of instructions on How to Become One of the Original Wild Girls. These are my ideas of things one can do to become a strong woman and also get what you want. It’s the truth and lies at the same time. I don’t know if they work, but they sound great. The text is set in Goudy, Futura, and wood display types. The paper is Rives in natural white.
Edition of 12.
Out of Print
Linocut reduction and type
Inspired by my 4 year-old niece's "inside only" drawings on a sheet of folded paper, I thought how true that is, that all the good stuff is on the inside. The feathers and bubbles linocut is printed in three colors (metallic silver, split fount yellow and magenta, and warm red). The typography is printed in dark purple from dissected photopolymer plates. The arrow numbers are printed in warm red from metal types.
The prints are letterpress printed onto the pages of a deconstructed math text book.
POEM BY CATHERINE PIERCE
Love Poem to America by Catherine Pierce, 2002. First published in the book Famous Last Words (Saturnalia, 2008). Designed, typeset, and letterpress printed by Ellen Knudson, Crooked Letter Press. Printed from photopolymer plates on French Speckletone Kraft cover. March 2010.
14 x 24"
Edition of 60.
Printed from the plates for the book "Wild Girls Redux: An Operator's Manual". Six ink colors; many, many runs through the press. Each print is slightly different, but generally the same. Edition of 25.
10 " x 18"
Single-sided print of the Wild Girls Redux book cover. Two-colors; black and fluorescent orange. Printed on flocked paper
5.75" x 9.5"
Images and text from the Wild Girls Redux book. Three-colors; black, burgundy, and fluorescent orange. Printed on office ledger book paper.
16 " x 5.5"
Printed from collagraph, linoleum reduction, photopolyer plates, and handset metal and wood types. Edition of 50, letterpress printed on Rives BFK.
20 " x 14"
Letterpress printed collograph and pressure print. Edition of 15.
7.5" x 11"
The poem was written after a trip to the Birmingham, Alabama Botanical Gardens. The ghost cactus is a real plant and the poem was written as of word play comparing aspects of a cactus to behaviors of a person. The illustration is a linoleum reduction print of the cactus printed in three colors. The text is Dante 14 pt. roman, 10 pt. roman and italic handset metal types. The paper is Rives in natural white. The poem and illustration are by Ellen Knudson.
Edition of 45.
Linoleum reduction block print inspired by a Lucienne Day textile design. The text is 18 pt. Melior Bold and 10 pt. Palatino handset metal types. The text says (in French) “This is not a bird from “The Partridge Family.” There are two typographical errors in the translation, which were noticed after printing the title. So I decided to acknowledge them with the subtitle. The heavier text is better balanced by the lighter capitals, which also function as an extention of the texture in the illustration.
Edition of 35.
Variety of metal type, handset and letterpress printed. Brown ink on
colored papers (see paper colors below; check for availability.)
6.5" x 10"
Edition of 25
Letterpress printed from handset wood and
metal types, and linoleum block on various papers. Edition of 20. (4 on white, 8 on brown, 6 pale green, 2 printed on 3/16" chipboard) White and brown papers shown left.
6.25" x 9"