(Or: In Lieu of a Video)
Audio description of the Cedar project. Recorded by Stefan in the park this afternoon, whilst sprawled in a meadow abuzz with the bumble of bees.
(On back. Studying great migration of bison-shaped clouds. Pup, blessedly unconcerned with the need to record his thoughts, menaces the local squirrel population instead, and whizzes on the shrubbery.)
Cedar Toothpick is a book of nutshell poetry, written by Stefan Lorenzutti (that’s me) and illustrated by Laurent Le Deunff. I tell the story of backwoods gamine Tomboy, one thimble-sized poem at a time.
I aim to bring an 88-page hardcover first edition—designed by Pilar Rojo—into print this September. It is to the production and publication of this edition that my Kickstarter project is dedicated.
(See "Paper Cuts" below for edition and printing house specifics.)
2. The Tomboy Dioramas
Each poem is a description of a diorama, such as one finds in ethnographic or natural history museums—bell-jar spaces in which wolves, frozen in time, thread soundlessly through twilit forest; and wigwam inhabitants, cross-legged and ringed round their storyteller, shiver as the wind outside rattles frame of shelter.
The poems in Cedar Toothpick describe 27 diorama scenes through which Tomboy passes over the course of a witching hour and the following day.
There are two important sounds overlapping in Cedar Toothpick: the whisper of Tomboy’s moccasin footfall on pine needle; and the squeak of ancient parquet, as the reader meanders up and down the labyrinthine hallways of this nonexistent ethnographic museum, pressing his or her nose up to the glass of each Tomboy poem.
In the end, it isn’t entirely clear whether the reader is pursuing Tomboy, or if Tomboy—clever and endearing rogue!—is luring the reader away from the safety of path and trailhead, a moment before plunging into a parallel world of bramble and rabbit-hole mischief.
3. Talismanic Toothpick
Cedar Toothpick is illustrated by French artist Laurent Le Deunff. The diorama poems will be interwoven with Laurent’s graphite pencil drawings of woodpiles and walnuts, megaliths and mumbling fire-pit embers.
Whether he is rendering a massive menhir—pinning horizon to hillside—or one skinny little toothpick whittled from brushwood, Laurent captures the talismanic potential inlaying all carved sticks and stones.
It’s no surprise that Laurent is a highly-regarded sculptor: his drawings seem to have been crafted not with pencils, but rather mason’s hammer and carpenter’s rasp. They smell of flint-spark and wood shaving.
4. Rucksack Hardback
The physical book itself is designed by Pilar Rojo, a Spanish graphic designer based here in Kraków, Poland.
Pilar has created a “rucksack hardback”—which is to say a ruggedly compact hardcover (5 x 7 inches) capable of withstanding a good deal of use and abuse over time. This will be a book to wedge into the bottom of one’s pack and carry along on a mountain journey.
We hope that the book will become more and more beautiful over time, even as its textured cover absorbs soil and sun, and the margins become stained with tree sap and the blood of swatted mosquitoes.
Of course, Cedar Toothpick never need leave the safety of armchair nook and bookshelf niche; but know, dear reader, that should you feel the tug of wanderlust, this rucksack hardback is more than happy to double as wayfarer’s companion.
5. Paper Cuts (or Printing House Specifics)
Cedar Toothpick. First Edition of 400 copies, to be printed offset in Kraków in September. 88 pages. 5 x 7 inches (roughly 12 x 17 cm). Hardcover.
Paper: Munken Print Cream 115 g/m² inside, Munken Print Cream 150 g/m² for endpapers and cover (see below).
Typeface: Adobe Caslon for diorama text inside, Avant Garde Gothic on cover and title page.
Visualization of front and back covers:
Eponymous toothpick on the front. On the back the first diorama overlaps with our title. Story therefore begins on the cover. The typeface is Avant Garde Gothic. Paper will be textured 150 g/m² Munken Print Cream over hardcover boards. The feel of this book will be one of fibrous texture, inside and out.
Here are three keyhole peeks into Cedar's layout (right click + view/open image for larger views of each):
I hope, with your support, to be able to put a hardback copy of Cedar T. into your rucksack this autumn, dear reader and roamer.
All best from the village of Kraków,
Dziupla portrait (above) by Johan Österholm.
Picpus portrait (profile page) by Nicolas Blandin.
All drawings (arch, chopped wood, toothpick, creek) by Laurent.
- (44 days)