Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Art of Fine Printing and The Duck Creek Martini

My wife asked as I cleared the table last night: "Aren't you going to a thing?"

I'd forgotten. And having pulled on a t-shirt and sweatpants almost immediately after work, I said, "I'm already in my jammies," and walked the dishes to the sink.

But I stared at those dishes just a moment before changing my mind.

Occasionally our Special Collections library invites writers, publishers, archivists, conservators, collectors and other expert bibliophiles to lecture in the large, renovated conference room downstairs. Last night, the fine press printer Peter Koch spoke and later walked us through a display of some of his work. Koch lectured on the purpose of fine printing, the nature of the book as art, the history of the letterpress, on Greek philosophy, San Francisco artisans, the meaning of "is" and the established fact that in Montana, there are only two kinds of people: Rugged Individualists and Spineless Communists . . . As a child of the second world war, Koch and his friends used to hike up to the butte above town and pretend to defend it from Chinese invaders.

So the lecture ranged widely. That fine printing (Koch dislikes the new term, "Artist's Books") can be a perfect vehicle for the fusion of such wide ranging interests was obvious and exciting to see. Much of the work Koch brought with him was recognizable as fine art (some of my favorite pieces: here and here). But on his website I found a few other things to share. You'll have to check out the Duck Creek Martini recipe and see if you're up to it.

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