Copper plate books

Leontopontes, plate and print

More unusual journals by my best and most enduring bookbinding student…

Once Kris made up his mind to use these old engraved copper printing plates as book covers, he knocked them out at alarming speed over one weekend. I think it’s a great way to use a printing plate at the end of an edition (or after you’ve decided you don’t want to be a printer, anymore, in Kris’ case).

The story of our adventures with printing is amazing, in itself. I know a little bit about printing, which is probably a hindrance rather than a help, because I believe that to do things properly you have to have all the right tools, materials, and the know-how to tweak a hundred little complicated and technical settings…

Kris knew nothing whatsoever about engraving copper plate, or printing from those plates, and so he just jumped in and did it. He used an old copper water tank that he cut up and flattened with a hammer (I helped by telling him that he couldn’t print on anything but perfectly flat, smooth, new plate); then we went to print and didn’t have any of the additives for the ink, nor whiting, nor tarlatan to clean the plate…didn’t even know in what order the plate, paper, and blanket were supposed to be when we rolled the sandwich through the huge old press at the Darwin Visual Arts Association.

I was ignorant, worried, narrow-minded and a naysayer…while Kris was determined, untroubled, innocent and had a great time rolling out half a dozen designs all that afternoon, clear and charming prints, in spite of all that we did wrong. Since then I’ve become a little more like him…I still like the idea of new things bought just for the purpose; like the idea of doing it “by the book”. But if I can’t do it the ‘right’ way, I know better than to let that stop me from doing anything at all. So he is also my best and most enduring teacher.

– – – – –

Like the mother of pearl and the wooden journals, these are going into Kris’ exhibition/book launch on the first of February, next year. Where an actual print has survived, he’s going to include it with the sale of its copperplate journal.

More copper-covered books over on his blog…

Copper plate books.


7 thoughts on “Copper plate books

  1. Went over to look at Kris’ blog after reading this. Damn, those are gorgeous books! Especially love the mermaid book and print. 🙂


  2. Another great adventure under Kris’s belt! After reading one of his books, I can better visualize his aptitude for ingenuity. What marvelous qualities each of you have to share, teach and learn from.


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