“Everything in the world is waiting to become a book.”
—Walter Hamady, Gabberjabb No. 7, 1996
At The Heavy Duty Press there are always several book projects in progress, in one way or another, and no shortage of ideas. Work progresses as quickly as life will allow, which means it progresses slowly. Working in the shop is one of my favourite ways to pass the time, but at the moment I see book making as a hobby and, at best, a retirement plan.
Presently there are potentially three seasonal booklets lined up, designed with the computer and to be published as postcard-sized, digitally printed, pamphlet-stitched booklets and ebooks. These books feature collaborative help from the same group of artists who participated in the Thawt project in 2013. The first, Thaw(ing), has recently been published, and Bleach(ed)—for summer—is in the can and ready for publication in late June. The fall and winter books remain in states of incompletion, and we’re all hoping they come together in time to complete the 4-book suite by the end of the year.
Permission to reprint an edited version of Stan Nelson’s “Typesetting on a Winter’s Afternoon” has recently been granted by the author. This is very exciting because it will be the first letterpress printed book from The Heavy Duty Press since 2004, when the former shop in St. Francis, Wisconsin, was packed up and moved with us to Viroqua. It had been in storage for ten years until the process of creating a new home for the press in Liberty, Wisconsin, began in the fall of 2013. Hopes of setting the type for that book during the winter of 2015-2016 were dashed by other domestic priorities (such as a long overdue kitchen remodel). During the summer and fall months of 2016, available time will be spent thinking and planning, and the typesetting will appropriately begin this winter. There is hope that the book will be completed by the fall of 2017.
The Hartman Creek Odyssey…[sigh]…it was ready to print in November 2013, and some of us were pretty excited to see it happen. But, the last-minute attempt to get permission from Dr. Seuss’s people ended in rejection. I think we all know that if I made 10 copies of this book some day, the Seussians would never know it, but I am stuck in respect mode and there’s no time to get serious about this right now anyway, so it just sits there, not even on the back burner. It’s off the range completely. It’s in the freezer.