A153. Sometimes I Pretend
A153. Naomi Shihab Nye. Sometimes I Pretend. Santa Cruz, California: Peter & Donna Thomas, 2014.
11 x 26.5 x 11 cm (4 ¼” x 10 3/8” x 4 ¼”), scroll 75 cm (29 ½"), 35 copies.
Binding: Scroll; bound in a box with a slit cut in the top that is covered in paper pulp stenciled cream paper, handmade by Peter Thomas, and set between walnut wood blocks. Scroll is wound onto a wooden dowel inside the box that passes through holes drilled in the walnut wood blocks and is attached to painted maple wood sprockets at each end. Sprockets can be turned to wind the scroll and are inscribed with the word "close" and an arrow indicating direction of rotation. Opposite end of scroll is attached to a pencil that acts as a handle to grasp while unwinding it. Scroll is printed on both sides. Paper: Cream, handmade by Peter Thomas. Printing: Letterpress. Typography: Various sizes and fonts of wood and metal type; printed with a rainbow roll. Illustration: Two “steam punk” pulp sprayed through stencil prints. Notes: Illustrations made by spraying pulp through stencils made by Donna Thomas. Spray pulp made from old colored rags; no additional pigment added. Cover paper also illustrated with pulp sprayed through stencil prints. Title, colophon, and one illustration printed on one side, text and one illustration on reverse.
“The text is a short poem that begins ‘Sometimes I pretend I’m not me, I only work for me…’ We found the words ‘secret motor chirring’ central to our reading of the poem. Our interpretation of Nye's poem was further informed by previous readings of this timeless theme, both by British arts and crafts fine press printers when they said something like ‘don’t let yourself become part of the machine, but work to create beauty with your hands…’ and the visual depiction of Charlie Chaplin in Modern Times when he works at the assembly line or as he swings precariously from the hands of the giant clock. This led us to bind the book as a motor, and to create illustration with the ‘steam punk’ aesthetic in mind. This also inspired our use of the clock and pencil imagery, and the pencil page stop, which for us and Nye both symbolize the relentless call of work.”