A85. Meditations at the Edge
A85. Dorothy Field. Meditations at the Edge. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 1996.
A. Regular copies.
28.5 x 11.5 cm (11 ¼” x 4 ½”), 20 pages, 86 copies.
Binding: Text block sewn to boards covered in red cloth through and over end sheets using modified Japanese stab stitch. Bhutanese spirit paper sample with gold leaf square on raised panel on cover. Paper: Text printed on off-white, handmade by Peter Thomas from hemp. Illustrations printed on off-white, handmade by Dorothy Field from kozo. Printing: Letterpress. Body text printed from polymer plates. Illustrations printed from photoengravings. Typography: Body text is digitally set Centaur. Title page is hand set Centaur; printed in red and black. Illustration: Reproductions of four pencil sketches by Dorothy Field. Notes: The red cloth of the cover is intended to signify good luck. The kozo paper for the illustrations was made from the last of the kozo fiber Dorothy Field received from Kim Yeong Yun, her papermaking mentor.
B. Special copies.
32 x 41 x 10 cm (12 ½” x 16” x 3 7/8”), 36 pages, 14 copies.
Binding: Pages attached to wooden dowels set in a bocote and lacewood frame. Paper: Text printed on off-white, handmade by Peter Thomas from hemp. Illustrations printed on off-white, handmade by Dorothy Field. Printing: Letterpress. Body text and illustrations printed from polymer plates. Typography: Body text is digitally set Centaur. Title page is hand set Centaur printed in red and black. Illustration: Reproductions of four pencil sketches by Dorothy Field. Notes: Illustrations are stitched into paper frames that match the text paper.
“The text is Field’s observations and ruminations on how paper is used in Asia to connect the physical and spiritual worlds. Originally we planned to print the text as a photocopied pamphlet, but we put so much thought into the editing of the text with Dorothy that we decided if we were going to do it at all, we should do it right, print it letterpress, and make it a fine press book. The project languished as we pondered the size, shape, and the layout of the text.
During this same period of time we had become intrigued by the idea of making a book that had all the elements of a traditional book but in unexpected locations. Could we put the text on the cover? Could the decorative cover somehow be on the inside? One result was the binding for the special copies of Meditations at the Edge. The book discusses how paper has been used to connect the spiritual with the physical worlds in the East, and meditates on how this contrasts with practices in the West. Dorothy’s photographs of prayer flags in the Himalayas led me to the idea of making the pages represent prayer flags. Memories of an artwork by Helmut Becker, a paper artist from Canada, (handmade paper draped over sticks), led me to imagine a book in which the pages were actual flags. To achieve this we glued each printed page to a wooden dowel, and mounted the dowels in a beautiful pagoda like wooden framework as a binding.
We wanted the binding of the regular copies to reflect the contrasts between eastern and western traditions that Dorothy’s text discussed, and to achieve that effect we bound a stab sewn text block into the hinged covers of a Western case binding.”