Spurred on by work in progress posts by Charles Vess (as shown below), I have decided to share some of my developments! I hope that people will find the photos and information interesting. Sometimes it’s nice to get an insight into the creative process. Fine Press books like these require a great deal of effort and craftsmanship and, as I’m the binder as well as the publisher, I’m in the perfect position to be able to share stuff as and when it happens!
I am still in the fairly early stages of development for the ‘Stardust’ special edition but things are moving at a rapid pace now which pleases me immensely. I had thought that the current world situation would have slowed the project down a lot more than it has. That being said, some things are still a bit wobbly and that brings a fair amount of uncertainty in regards to the schedule.
Charles has been showing the process of outline sketch to full detail pencil drawing over the last few days. I have no doubt he will show us the further progression of that artwork in due course! The sketches of a bookbinder are somewhat different – which is unsurprising considering the difference in mediums. But sketches they are! And I would like to present them to you.
Over the last couple of weeks I have been working on some prototypes of the three different versions of this special edition. The designs are likely to change a little between now and the time for pre-order but I have no idea how much. I will try lots of small variants and see how they make me feel.
Everything in this special edition will be hand-made: all 626 books will be sewn and bound by hand. All 626 boxes will be constructed and covered by hand. All marbled papers are handmade, one by one with a design commissioned especially for this book. All books will be letterpress printed (no modern digitally printed books here!).
So, here are the three editions for now –
Standard – 500 Copies
All will be signed by the artist and slipcased. This book will be quarter-bound in book cloth, with marbled paper sides. The paper you see in the images will not be the paper used on the published books. For this copy I just chose something I had in stock that was fairly close to the colour scheme I wanted to use. I have commissioned master marbler Freya Scott to create some unique papers and, from what we have discussed, I know they will be absolutely stunning (think colour changing pigments). She is a genius.
Leather – 100 copies
I have already posted an image of this one on an earlier blog, but here it is again. It’s probable I will use the Charles Vess design on the front. I will try it and see how I feel about that. I rather like it as it is.
Both the author and artist will sign this book. Page edges will be gilded and the book will come in a curved edge slipcase. Each copy will be unique as I will be hand sprinkling gold ‘dust’ on every single one of the 100 copies (phew). The endpapers will be made from the lovely marbled paper.
Lettered – 26 copies
I tried a couple of different combinations of this one and this is the design I settled on. This is a ‘bradel binding’ with double layered boards on the front and back. The spine is covered with dark blue leather and the front and back boards are covered in vellum. It is likely that this edition will also have silk ribbon ties attached to the foredge of the book. This echoes the old Arthur Rackham/Edmund Dulac signed editions of the early 20th century which have been my inspiration for these books since the very start.
All page edges will be gilded and this one will come in a quarter leather solander/clamshell box. It will also have a couple of added extras with it (TBC).
The illustrations in the leather and lettered editions will be tipped in plates which will be protected by tissue guards. This is a massive undertaking as, on top of all the binding, I will need to hand place over 1000 pictures and then… when my arms are about to fall off… 1000 tissue guards! The illustrations on the 500 cloth copies will be printed directly to the page.
Anyway, there you go. I just thought some people might be interested to see where we are with this project at the moment. Again, please bear in mind that these are sketchy sketches of books using a sketch from Charles Vess on the cover! Nothing is near finished yet but it IS progressing.
Finally, a lot of people have been asking about pricing which is understandable! I am hesitant to give figures at the moment as many factors have yet to be finalised. But, if it helps I can give a rough estimate of what the prices look like right now. They are unlikely to change much but it is entirely possible that they could. Either way, this is a good indicator of how much you’ll need to save up if you want a copy!
Cloth edition – 500 copies @ £150 (£125 pre-order)
Leather edition – 100 copies @ £495 (£450 pre-order)
Lettered edition – 26 copies @ £1750 (£1550 pre-order)
All prices are in GBP.
I will announce a date and time for when pre-order opens some time soon. I hope it will be early June but hey… who knows?! Whatever happens, I will give plenty of notice. But to be on the safe side, do give me a follow on social media if you’re interested. It is where I will make all announcements.
Thanks for reading and I hope you like what has been created so far!
Rich @ Lyra’s Books