Sunday, December 24, 2006

Incline Press

In the age of on-demand printing and the mass-produced book it is a joy to come across the small craft-printers who work to a different rythmn making books by hand, and ensuring the survival of skills and techniques that would otherwise be lost. The small print runs, careful design and unusual subject matter combine to produce books that are delightful to read over and over again. One such, which I stumbled across, while searching for something else, is Oldham's Incline Press run by Graham Moss and Kathy Whalen.

Started in a backyard shed Incline Press found its first publishing project in 1993 "when a chance meeting with the artist Pete Carter coincided with the purchase of a first edition of Oliver Goldsmith's The Deserted Village. Carter's modern-day interpretation of Goldsmith's poem provided the title-page illustration, and a generous gift provided the funds for large fount of Baskerville type with the "long s" from John Eickhoff's Acorntype Foundry--enough to set by hand a type facsimile of the poem including all the errors and differences that Goldsmith later changed for the fourth printing. While we were still printing this, the designer Enid Marx asked if we would like to produce a new edition of her 1938 set of wood engravings for Nursery Rhymes, which had recently been returned to her from the original publishers, Chatto & Windus. Thus the first book from Incline Press became its second, and we learned about some of the detours and distractions which are both the curse and the reward of the private press printer." Since then Graham and Kathy have published more than fifty books.