A few weeks ago a friend of mine commissioned me for a small edition of a letterpress broadside featuring the text of "Bond and Free" by Robert Frost. This was a great opportunity to get some experience on the business end of printing as well as getting some more practice with my press. I ordered some beautiful paper from ArtPaper: 100% cotton, mouldmade in France, with beautiful deckled edges. I even invested in another color of ink: Pantone Reflex Blue. It's always fun to play around with quality materials.
When I came up with the name Thread Lock Press, I must admit that I did not have all of these connotations in mind. I liked the sound of it for what it was I was doing. It began with a brief fairy-tale-based chapbook of three poems with accompanying watercolor paintings by my friend Emily.
But now that I've had time to live inside it for a while and grow, I find that it is even more well-suited to what I'm becoming in my work. In the past couple years, my interests in writing poetry, letterpress printing, and experiments in sewing by hand have all been tugging at me for fuller attention. Poetry and the writing of it will always be my primary concern, and what time is left is divided between the latter two. But gathered under this name, I see how they can all fit together. The making of books, from start to finish, involves equal parts printing, and sewing. There is the writing/creating of the text; the designing, setting, and printing of the text; and then the binding of the printed signatures with needle and waxed linen thread. Even the incorporating of fabric in the book covers, covering either the spine, cover boards, or both.
Even at the finest level, there are great connections between printing and sewing in the similarities between paper and fabrics. Although not at all an original thought, I had a personal epiphany while reading an article called "Archival Concerns" by Coral Jensen of ArtPaper (a distributor of gorgeous handmade & traditionally milled papers of the highest quality, which I highly recommend). They are cousins in the fiber art family: the best paper is made, not from wood pulp, but from cotton rag, which is also, obviously, a large component textile manufacture. The way I see it, the material concerns of both printing and sewing are inextricably linked. And my dual interests should, I hope, only continue to fuel each other in my future creative pursuits.
I cannot believe it has already been a year since the last National Poetry Month, but here we are again. My hope is that I will force myself to make enough time for writing this month. I would say I will write a poem every day this month to celebrate, but I know that is far too ambitious a project for me. I hope only to finish the one I am working on right now (which is a slow one) to my satisfaction, and maybe start one or two more.
But in the spirit of the month and the season, I would like to offer up a reading recommendation. One of my favorite poems is "Deep Pond at Dusk in Heavy Rain Against Pines" by J. Allyn Rosser. It first appeared in the October 1992 issue of Poetry magazine and then was gathered for her book Misery Prefigured.
The green of that poem. Some days I wish I could live inside it.