"Post and update," they say. OKAY THEN I WILL.
Hidey ho, backers! This update will be completely devoid of images, because I've been sick lately, and my guess is that you want me to be spending my time making books, rather than posting beautifully illustrated updates, right?!
Well. Here's what's been going on chez Chance Press:
1) Prints/rewards: the $5 rewards have shipped! Hooray! I shipped them at the very end of April, which means they weren't late. Next week, I will send out the $25 rewards, the $200 rewards, and the preview books to the people who requested "send it now!" on the survey. For those of you who ordered the $15 reward (the sketch print), I've got bad news... you'll have to wait a little while. I decided that I wasn't altogether happy with the prints, and I reprinted them on a 100% cotton rag paper instead of the paper I originally used. I need to send these to Kim to be signed, hence the delay. Don't worry, though - you're getting a superior print as a result of my nitpickiness.
2) Trade editions: progress is being made! As I type, the laser printer is dutifully churning out sketchbooks, which happen to look quite sharp. I'm really happy with these, and I think you'll enjoy them too - especially the sketches from Kim's never-before-seen new project, tentatively titled Plot Robot. I have 60 of them folded and ready to be sewn, with the last batch on its way out of the printer presently. At the same time, I'm making my way through the Mine All Mine prints - these are on 100% cotton rag paper and look absolutely fantastic. Seriously, if I were an art gallery, I would have no qualms charging $60 for this print alone, let alone for an entire book. Let's see, what else?... I sent a huge box of paper to my dear friend (and patron saint) Bill Roberts of Bottle of Smoke Press, and he will fire up the letterpress printer soon. That's right - the amazing title lettering I posted in a previous update will be letterpress printed directly on the cover of each edition, which I think will look very dignified and sophisticated. Bill's also going to do the standalone letterpress prints, so I'll be able to start shipping rewards with those prints once I get everything back from him in a month or so (probably faster, since Bill has Red Bull in his veins). Oh - I've also been getting some much-needed help from Jacqueline Simon, an old friend of Kim's who got in touch with us and offered her services as production assistant, and so you can thank her if you end up getting your book on time, since it will definitely be due to her hard work!
3) Medium Fancy Editions: not much to report on these. Most of the production processes for this book are piggybacked onto the production of the other two editions, so if you ordered one of these and are wondering where your process updates are, you're SOL. Sorry! The books will look fantastic, though - I promise.
4) Deluxe Editions: Well, remember when I said that half of the process posts I write are about adhesives? It appears I'm not done yet - I must be stuck on the subject. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Seriously, nothing frustrates me more than a project getting ruined because the paper starts turning yellow because of the adhesive used to mount it. And, as I've mentioned before, we're not exactly using Elmer's glue here - even conservation-grade reversable adhesives have this effect. So, I dove into the literature (which is supremely boring, especially since I don't have a background in chemistry and can't really tell you the difference between a ethylene vinyl acetate dispersion and a polyvinyl acetate dispersion), and I'm hopeful that I've figured a few things out. The main thing I learned is that this is a common problem, and it hasn't been addressed in the conservation community. The problem is with the coating on the paper - see, inkjet media has a coating that prevents the ink from sinking into the paper, blotting out and reducing the definition. Adhesives - even when applied to the back of the paper - leach chemicals into the paper or off-gas certain compounds, and this reacts with compounds in the coating to turn the paper yellow. Studies have been done on all kinds of adhesives, from PVA to EVA (if you care, I usually use EVA), and everything in between, and they all react. Every damn one. So what's a printer to do? The companies that make the paper are less than helpful - their advice is basically to seal a print in an airtight vault as soon as it comes off the printer - anything less and it's your fault.
Here are the conclusions I've been able to draw:
a) Some papers react more than others, and textured papers usually react less than papers with smooth finishes.
b) Smooth finish papers are more prone to this than textured finish papers.
c) There's one mounting adhesive that has been specifically designed for inkjet paper: Bienfang RagMount. They've even tested it with a range of aftermarket fine art media, and supposedly it doesn't cause these problems. I bought a bunch of it, and I will do some tests on Hahnemuhle 100% rag watercolor paper.
Unfortunately, this means that I will have to reprint all of the Kramers Ergot 7 prints, because - even if I did use RagMount - I just don't trust that Arches paper anymore. I won't use it on future projects, and while it's okay for prints that will be stored safely in sleeves, it's too fragile for use as a structural part of the book. Making this change will cost a lot - between replacement paper and ink, I'm looking at an extra $750 or so. Good thing we got overfunded! (I've been saying that a lot lately...) So, while I wait for those tests to mature over a few weeks or so, I won't be doing much on the deluxe edition. The good thing is that I've learned an important lesson about working with fine art prints that will benefit me going forward. It's kind of funny, since I've worked with all of these materials A LOT, and I haven't had this issue before, although in hindsight it seems like it was more a case of dodging a faint, yellow bullet. So, onward and upward - good thing I have all you backers sticking with me! LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.
5) SPX - In a stunning reversal of fortune, we'll be attending the Small Press Fest after all. Justine and I will both be there selling all manners of Chance Press books, including some special exclusives just for the festival. We may even do a very small second printing of A Deitch Miscellany to sell there, although we haven't decided that yet. In any case, if any of you live in or around Bethesda, MD - make sure you come by and say hi during SPX (9/13-9/14).
6) Shameless promotion (sorry): our last "big book," and the one the set our press on the course it's currently on was Frank Santoro's Blast Furnace Funnies. It's one of the most elaborate, labor intensive projects we've ever worked on, and we're insanely proud of it. Oh, and it just so happens that there's only one copy left! If you want it, you can buy it here.
That's it for now! Thanks for reading and following along, and maybe I'll post some pictures next time.