Category Archives: New Publications

Lost Books Found!

It’s finished! Take a look:

Front Cover

Front Cover

Full Binding

Full Binding

The book is 2 3/4″ x 1 7/8″, and the binding is Monarch Superfine with an extended spine of Indian pinto lokta paper.

Actual Size

Actual Size

Title Page

Title Page

Sample Page

Sample Page

What with all the trouble I had with the re-typing the text, I suspect the book’s riddled with typos.

Fold-Out

Fold-Out

I couldn’t make a book without some sort of secret surprise inside – one page has a fold-out.

So there it is! I’m pleased with how the book turned out, but more especially the binding. It’s neat, in the binding sense of sober. The illustrations have some wit to them (I hope), but the subject itself is serious. Even so, it’s hard not to smile at some of the misadventures of these poor books. It’s not just the burning of libraries and the attempted obliteration of ideas, but manuscripts left on trains, disputed wills, prudery, and plain rotten luck.

Growth of a Commission

OK, from the top:

The Base

The Base

I decided on basswood, since I was a little uncertain if I wanted to devote the time and energy wrestling with walnut or cherry, and I have a lot of decorative stripwood left over from the semi-abandoned dollhouse. What a treat! I can cut it with an exacto-knife!

The Top

The Top

I got a little ahead of myself and forgot to take any pictures. It looks complicated, what with all that step-back fancy trim, but it’s just a box and about a million 45 degree angle cuts. I made the uprights out of cherry, because I had some nice 1/4″ x 1/4″ stock. They wouldn’t play nice though, so I reinforced the bottoms with what will look like organic decoration, I hope.

Superstructure

Superstructure

The press board slides up and down on the uprights – cool, huh? I’m avoiding thinking about how the brass screw is going through the middle of the crossbar, and where can I find antique brass screws and wingnuts, anyway? Maybe I’ll paint first.

First Paint

First Paint

It’s a trade-off, paint vs stain. It can look plastic, or cheap anyway,but I don’t have to worry about glue stains. I used a thinned-down acrylic craft paint for the first coat.

Last Paint

Last Paint

I found a brass screw and wingnut! My father taught me: never throw away a piece of hardware. And I figured out how to accommodate the thickness of the screw.

The Finished Book Press

The Finished Book Press

The screw and wingnut worked out great. I added some brass trim and a couple of coats of varnish, and voila!

Glamor Shot

Glamor Shot

Glamor Shot, Cont.

Glamor Shot, Cont.

Just For Size

Just For Size

My little guy is about six feet tall, so I guess it could go in a dollhouse. Those are three copies of ‘Lost Cities’ in the press. The whole thing was surprisingly easy, so I guess that’s telling me to be more adventurous. Or to have higher standards.

I’ll be making more of these. Still can’t believe I’d never tried one because I thought they’d be too difficult.

 

The Orchard of Chance

The Deluxe Edition

The Deluxe Edition

I’m delighted to say that it was all worth it. Prue Batten’s ‘The Orchard of Chance’ is finally published as a plain (100 copies) and a deluxe (ten copies) edition.

The Plain Version

The Plain Version

I had bought this paper earlier this year, not knowing what I’d use it for. It’s perfect for ‘The Orchard of Chance’.

Three Slipcases

Three Slipcases

I was so dissatisfied at the workmanship on the deluxe editions that I kept starting over, until I realized that I was trying way too hard. My embroidery skills got better on every copy, and the less I did the better they looked. I’ve finally got ten that I think look good.

A Deluxe Copy

A Deluxe Copy

They’re all fundamentally the same, but bound in slightly different fabrics and stitches.

The Interior Binding

The Interior Binding

When I read the manuscript, I was struck, as I always am in Prue’s writing, at how beautiful her descriptions are, especially of clothing, color, scent, and texture. I wanted so much to design the costumes for this story that I decided to use the costume drawings as illustrations.

The Swanmaid's Robe

The Swanmaid’s Robe

Maeve Swanmaid’s description puzzled me until I remembered that in Australia, swans are black!

Adelina the Embroiderer

Adelina the Embroiderer

The story is set in Prue’s fantasy world of Eirie, and if you’ve read those books (and if not, go immediately  to Prue Batten on Amazon) you’ll remember Adelina and the Stumpwork Robe, and they both play a part in this, along with several other (and Other) beings.

The Beginning

The Beginning

They’re up on the website now: the plain version and the deluxe version.

Magic Trees

I’m starting on the illustrations for ‘The Orchard of Chance’. I tried to find some magical program or Photoshop action that would turn pictures into embroidery, and ended up with a computer-full of trashware. After cleaning that up, I invented my own.

Ymp Trees

Ymp Trees

(Ymp trees are the Eirie version of pleached fruit trees.)

 

Three Rats Have Landed!

If I do say so myself, I’m very pleased. At least, that it’s finished. Naw, I really like it.

Front

Front

Spine

Spine

Title Page

Title Page

Source and Result

Source and Result

Rescued By Mermaids

Rescued By Mermaids

For the rest, go look: Three Rats At Sea

Nightengale’s Catalogue

Nightengale's Catalogue

Nightengale's Catalogue

Here’s the first book of 2015! I’ve been thinking about “Nightengale’s Catalogue” for a while, ever since I started putting their labels on my vampire hunter kits and anything else that seemed a bit spooky. I thought the idea of Jos, Nightengale & Sons, Supernatural and Metaphysical Supplies sounded a bit more in keeping with the mood of the merchandise. So I’ve made a pastische of 19th century printer’s ornaments, with Nightengale’s as the star of the show.

Gilbert and Sullivan wrote a comic opera called “The Sorcerer” in which John Wellington Wells, of J. W. Wells & Co., Family Sorcerers appears. Tom Holt used J. W. Wells & Company in a series of novels about the modern version of G & S’s magical supply company, and I’ve founded Nightengale’s on the same idea. I have a whole backstory for Nightengale’s:

The history of the Nightengale company began in the late 16th century, when they supplied Dr. John Dee and Edward Kelley with ‘shew-stones’ or crystal balls. The company flourished during the European alchemy boom of the late 16th and early 17th century, and expanded into optical tools and occult mathematical devices as alchemy gave way to modern chemistry and the beginnings of Mad Science. In the 19th century, they achieved, if not fame, at least notoriety, as purveyors of a line of monster abatement equipment. They also began courting collectors of antique metaphysical artifacts, and at one point had almost cornered the market in rare editions of C’thuliana.

After the turn of the 20th century, Enoch Nightengale, then president of the company, became so concerned about the advent of modern rationalism that Nightengale’s catalogs became difficult to come by, passing from hand to hand among the adept, with word-of-mouth their only advertising. The 1889 catalog is the last to have achieved a general circulation, and even copies of this edition are increasingly difficult to come by. To have discovered a copy with the laid-in price list is very unusual indeed.

Traces of Nightengale’s continued existence occasionally turn up. Some printed items bearing their name have come to light from the Infernal Regions (see Welcome To Hell!), and their label is sometimes found on the Vampire Hunter Kits of Bo Press Miniature Books. It is to be hoped that a company as old and storied as Nightengale’s is still around in some nearby dimension, ready to supply “. . .the explorer of uncanny places, magimetician, philosopher, alchemist, monster hunter, or wizard.”

Pages

Pages

Front Cover

Front Cover

Price List

Price List

It’s up on the website now, here: Joshua Nightengale & Sons, Supernatural and Metaphysical Supplies (the 1889 Catalogue and Price List)

TROUVÈRE Is Here!

TROUVÈRE, Prue Batten’s beautiful and exciting short story set in the High Middle Ages of France, is finally up on the website!

Binding

Binding

More Binding

More Binding

First Page

First Page

Title Page

Title Page

And here’s the description from the website:

Trouvère   by Prue Batten

68 pages, four illustrations
2 3/4″ x 1 7/8″

A short story by well-known historical novelist Prue Batten set in the High Middle Ages of Northern France. Trouvères were the northern equvilent of the Occitan troubadours, a school of aristocratic poets and singers who celebrated the idea of courtly love that was sweeping through Burgundy, Aquitaine, and Provence at the end of the eleventh century.

In Batten’s romantic and suspenseful tale, trouvère Flori de Mazamet is caught between the beauty embodied in his art and the common brutality beneath the courtly ideal. He attempts to aid a lady whose illicit love forces him to make a choice between  love and pity.

I’ve attempted to bind this little book is a sympathetic style, with the pages bound over cords and into wooden boards in the medieval manner. Cream leather is stretched over the spine leaving some of the cherrywood boards exposed., and the book is held closed with a band of matching leather.

‘Trouvere’ is Almost Ready!

This is the final version of Prue’s ‘Trouvere’.  I’ll bind a few and put it up on the website for sale in a few days, and tell you more about the story. Some craziness at home has slowed down work for a while, but now all is serene-o.

Spine and Label

Spine and Label

Spine and Closure

Spine and Closure

More interior pictures tomorrow or so. . . and news about the lighthouse books!

Just a Little More Astronomy

I guess I had a few orreries left in me (plus a medieval miniature):

A Gold Orrery

A Gold Orrery

A Gold Orrery

A Gold Orrery

Yes, I did drill eight holes in a toothpick.

An Antique Orrery

An Antique Orrery

An Antique Orrery

An Antique Orrery

A Shelf of Alchemical Books

A Shelf of Alchemical Books

A Shelf of Alchemical Books

A Shelf of Alchemical Books

Tomorrow, back to book making!

One Alchemy, To Go!

The new little alchemy trunk is finished and up on the website:

Alchemy Trunk

Alchemy Trunk

Alchemy Trunk

Alchemy Trunk

Alchemy Trunk

Alchemy Trunk

Alchemy Trunk

Alchemy Trunk

Go look!