Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Case of the Disappearing Type

Our recent posts about scrambling around to find enough letters of type to finish some pages of the forthcoming Lord Dunsany edition seemed like a good time to talk more about the rarity and history of the type we use at Pegana Press.

The ornate types we've been using for the current run of books has an interesting history of  revival and subsequent disappearance.  The very tools and machines made to cast the type has been sold, used, and lost in the last 20 years.

The ATF Foundry was the preeminent producer of type in the United States for about 100 years.  As their work declined in the 1990's, one of the employees began buying up the Barth casting machines, as well as the molds, mats, and matrices from which specific typefaces were poured and cast from.  The Barth casters were important in that they were the best of the casting machines and could make harder, sharper type than any of the other machines currently used by anyone then or today;  the mats and matrices were vitally important as they preserved the original designs for the typefaces as the craftsmen had intended them.

Eventually that employee started the Dale Guild Foundry and began casting new type in the mid 1990's. They began a relationship with NA Graphics in Colorado to sell their type which is where I discovered them. Slowly over time, I bought more and more of the type as I began to print entire pages with it.

The Goudy Franciscan was a Font Frederic W. Goudy redisigned from another earlier design of his Aries font, and sold by Goudy in 1932 to William Grabhorn, an eminent San Francisco printer, who used it for several distinctive and award-winning books.

The beautiful cursive font Civilite is believed to be the first original cursive cut in  type in 1552 and designed by Robert Granjon.  The "modern" adaptation Pegana Press uses was designed by Morris Benton in 1922 and first produced by the ATF Foundry in 1923.

Dale Guild Foundry, in the meantime, was unfortunately slowly dissolving as a business and eventually in 2013 the Barth Casters and other casting molds were separated and sold throughout  different parts of the world. So the foundry cast the last of this type years ago and these fonts are unlikely to ever again be cast with this quality in the original designs.  Almost all of the type has been purchased long ago, (there was not much made)  and is now unavailable.

So the Goudy Franciscan, Friar, and Civilite types we use are now on their way to extinction and I'll have to retire them when it becomes too worn to use. As I do test prints for each page, I examine them with a magnifying glass and replace any worn letters one at a time to get the best print possible.  Tedious and delicate work but essential to achieve our very best effort.

Our books are appreciated for the rarity of the material we've collected and published over the years and their hand printed and bound qualities.  They are also living histories of the dreams and designs of long passed artisans who etched into metal these symbols that mean so much to us .

Sunday, December 13, 2015


An interesting and frustrating development for a typesetter is when you're going along setting a page from a story, and suddenly you run out of a particular letter.

It happened to Mike just this week, so now he's waiting to finish setting the page until more  t s arrive in the mail.

Last year, this same problem cropped up with the capital  F s when Mike was setting A Tale of Roscommon, one of the Lord Dunsany stories in Lost Tales volume 3.
Lord Dunsany, Lost Tales volume 3 from Pegana Press 2014

I think it was a pretty close thing with the capital  O s in this story as well.  As you can see in this photo, the character names are Mickey O'Finn, Father O'Groman, and Jimmy Flynn.  When the author really gets going in the story, The F s and O s start to pile up on a single page, as the characters interact.

It's just these little things that pop up in the printing world that keep you on your toes.  Something you would never even think about unless you spend your days typesetting little pieces of metal type, one letter and space at a time.

I know I never did.

Hope you're having a good week end.  I'm off to glue titles on more copies of The Golden Key.  Thanks for checking in on our blog.


Thursday, November 26, 2015

Happy Thanksgiving from Pegana Press

Yesterday we sent out more packages to preorder customers of The Golden Key.

Expect yours soon.

And if all goes as planned, we should be caught up with orders by mid December.

#FeelingThankful at Pegana Press

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

An Update from The Bindery

I've really been enjoying binding The Golden Key.

Pegana Press Bindery in 2013
Since Mike and I operate Pegana Press out of our home, we have had to make adjustments along the way as we evolve and shape our mission.  When I first began binding books, I was working anywhere there was space in the house.  I've bound books in the living room and on the dining room table.  I've cut book cloth on the massage table in the room where I see clients for Reiki and energy work.  And now at last I have a designated area where I bind books.  It's a small space, but somehow it makes the whole process advance more smoothly and quickly.

Pegana Press 2015.  Cutting cloth.
Having this space has allowed me to feel more organized and grounded.  Because of this I have been able to communicate more with the people who buy our books.

The preorders began in June, and we want to keep everyone up to date. as their books become available.  One of my new favorite jobs is to email people during the binding process with updates on the status of their book.  So when I bind a small batch of books (usually 8 to 10 at a time), I will let them sit for a day or two, and then check them out to make sure all is going well.  Once I'm satisfied, I can begin emailing the next 8 to 10 customers who ordered books.

So if you've ordered a copy of The Golden Key from Pegana Press, you can expect to be notified soon on the status of your book.  That is, if you haven't already received word.

I'll be getting back to the bindery now.  I've got another batch of books to bind in today.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press 2015

I'll leave you with a quote from The Golden Key

    ... And her great blue eyes looked down on the little Tangle, as if all the stars in the sky were melted in them to make their brightness.
     "Ah! but," said Tangle, "when people live long they grow old.  At least I always thought so."
     "I have not time to grow old," said the lady.  "I am too busy for that.  It is very idle to grow old..." 

Hmmm, I'll have to remember that.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

A Journey Through Paris

Paris  A Poem  by Hope Mirrlees.
Paris  A Poem   by Hope Mirrlees/Pegana Press 2010

This was the very first book published at Pegana Press.

Mike had just acquired the Vandercook SP 15 press, and had printed a poem as broadside by Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett (later known as Lord Dunsany).  The poem titled Rhymes From A Suburb, first appeared in Pall Mall Magazine in 1897.

But the goal of Pegana Press was to create books for collectors.  The kind of book that Mike as a collector and lover of books, would want to have in his own library.

One such book in Mike's collection is Lud-In-The-Mist by Hope Mirrlees.  I remember the first time I read it on Mike's recommendation.  I was entranced.

In researching Hope Mirrlees, Mike ran across a scan of the original version of Paris A Poem.  Here was a work with an interesting history.  What's more, The original typography of Paris had never been duplicated before, which is an important part of the poem.  Those copies of Paris were printed by Virginia and Leonard Woolf at the Hogarth Press.  A search for a Hogarth copy yielded no results, when Mike first undertook printing the poem, although later he found one copy on line for sale.  They wanted $12,000.  A rare book indeed.

Mike contacted the estate and was given permission to print Paris.  Because Mike was still working a day job, he worked on the poem at night and on his days off.  Hope Mirrlees used the layout of typography to enhance the poem as she takes us on a journey through Paris in 1919.  Mike worked diligently to recreate that design, so as to be as true to the author's vision as possible.

This book is quite striking.  Printed in blue ink on white french paper.  Bound in Seattle at Ars Obscura by master binder Joel Radcliffe.  Paris is currently on sale through the end of October at Pegana Press Books.  If you've been curious about Paris, don't miss your opportunity to own a copy of this important and beautiful work of modernist poetry.

"Mirrlees was a genius and it showed in Lud-In-The-Mist and in everything she wrote.  Reading Paris is like solving a Chinese puzzle."  --Mike Tortorello

To get a real feel for this book, please listen to our audio introduction.  Our recommendation is that you listen with head phones or good speakers so as to fully experience the journey.

Paris A Poem at Pegana Press Books

Friday, October 23, 2015

Binding The Golden Key pt 6

The Golden Key/Pegana Press 2015
As you can see, no two books are exactly alike.  Each front title and spine title are cut by hand individually.

This photo shows the front title being trimmed down from its parent sheet.

The second photo shows the spine title being trimmed down.  Requiring only a ruler and cutting tools, the most important thing is to have a good eye and a steady hand.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press 2015
The next step will be to attach the titles to each book.  After drying, the book is finished and ready to be read.

You can view the finished book on the George MacDonald tab of Pegana Press.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

'Tis The Season

News from the press is that Mike is going through our inventory of card stock.  Every year around this time, we put on festive holiday music and spend the afternoon printing letterpress holiday cards.  We really should do it in July I suppose, but somehow we're never in the mood to do it during the summer months and Mike is usually trying to beat a self imposed deadline to finish a current book for an Autumn release.

Happy Holidays letterpress card
Pegana Press
So now it's that time of year again.  Our most popular card is Happy Holidays, and we have printed two editions of this card and are getting ready to print another batch.

Mike's favorite part of making the holiday cards is designing and typesetting a unique letterpress card, which becomes an expression of art.

Of the seven card designs we've offered over the years, 3 of them were created by setting each letter and ornament with the spacing to create an image suggestive of a tree or ornament and 3 of them were created with borders.

Merry Christmas Tree letterpress card from Pegana Press
It's the only time we work together in with the press because Mike hands me the card fresh off the press while the ink is still wet, and I apply a little sparkle.

After the cards dry, they are scored and folded and ready to be sent out.

This week we will be making another batch of holiday cards.  I'll be the one covered  in glitter.

We invite you to view our Holiday Card Collection on our website.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Binding The Golden Key pt 5

Today I finished binding 10 copies of The Golden Key.  They are resting under weight tonight, and will continue to for up to two weeks.

We're using Bertini paper from Italia for the end papers, and I'm still getting used to it, even though I've  worked with it a bit when binding the dummy copies.  The Lama Li Lakta paper from Nepal (used for the Lost Tales books) is very forgiving, almost like cloth.  This Bertini is stiffer paper and less forgiving, although very sturdy.

It looks wonderful in the book, but it's a different entity entirely to work with.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

This photo was taken after the book had been under weight for 2 hours.  I was happy to see that the paper was drying beautifully.

There is still one step to go, attaching the titles, but that won't be for at least a week.

I hope you enjoyed seeing this peek into the binding process.  I wanted to share about our process because I was reading recently about other presses that market their books as being hand bound.  I found myself wondering how they can offer their books so cheaply and make hundreds of copies.  Then I found out that those books are made using machines.  What we're doing at Pegana Press is really pretty unique in today's world.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Binding The Golden Key pt 4

I decided to take a quick break from binding to post some photos of one of the cases I'm working on this afternoon.  First I glue the fabric to the boards and add the spine treatment.  Then I set the joint next to the spine...

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

and wrap the case around the book block.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

Here's the finished case looking very pretty.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

The case binding with it's book sits under weight over night to give the binding a nice shape.  Tomorrow I'll begin gluing the books into their bindings.

Back to work now.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Binding The Golden Key pt 3

It's Sunday the 11th, and I want post a reminder to anyone who still wants to order their copy of The Golden Key at the preorder price, that today is the last day to do that.

Before I go back to the bindery, I wanted to post some more photos of the binding process for this project, so you can see all the love that goes into your copy of this book.

Here are the spine reinforcements which always take so much time.  Early on, I tried to do this on a paper guillotine, but the pieces would shift, and cut unevenly, so I have had to cut each one by hand.

When I first started doing this, I would only get one usable one for every two I cut.  I've had a lot of practice since then.  ;)

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

Here is the yellow book cloth, just cut into sections across the grain from a roll of dubletta cloth.  I will be able to bind three books from each of these sections.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

The next step is to make the case bindings.  With cloth and binder's board and glue.  This is the fun part of binding for me.  Taking all the hand prepared materials and making something that begins to resemble the finished book.

The Golden Key/Pegana Press Bindery

I will wrap each finished case around its book block, set the joint, where the book opens, and then allow it to rest under weight overnight, before binding the book in on the following day.

Well now, it's back to the bindery.  More later.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Binding The Golden Key pt 2

Yesterday I finished up the day by attaching mull and headbands to the book.  I let them dry over night.  I was really pleased with the result when I looked through them this morning.  The headbands I chose are golden.

The next step involves making the cases for the binding.  During the design process, I bound a dummy and glued the front title to the cover.  This worked really well for The Age Of Malygris/Clark Ashton Smith/Pegana Press 2014, because that title was on a really thin paper.  The paper we're using for the title of The Golden Key is much thicker and I could see that it would be subject to wear unless it was inset into the cover.

That means before making the cases, I need to make the insets into the boards used for the front cover.  This is done by hand, as crazy as that sounds.  But I've had a lot of practice with the Lost Tales books.

The inset of this book is quite large, because it has to accommodate the illustration on the front title.  I made two more dummy bindings with the insets to make sure the design would work.

Besides getting the boards ready, I need to cut the book cloth to the right size.  I've always used a cotton dubletta cloth on all our books, so I've continued with dubletta and for this edition we've chosen yellow to fit in with the title.

Another important step is to create the spine reinforcements which create a flat spine for our letterpress spine titles.  This was decided upon when we made our first case bound book for the Lost Tales series.  Having books in our collection with traditional spines, has taught us a valuable lesson about how paper titles glued to a spine can chip and crumble with handling over time.  The books with spine reinforcements create a flat spine, and those seem to cause less wear to a paper title.

Therefore, each spine reinforcement also has to be cut by hand.  This is one of the hardest jobs to get precise, but I feel that this extra step is worth the work and time to ensure that the paper titles stand up to handling over time.  This photo shows the case binding with a (white) paper liner to help reinforce the book and a spine reinforcement in place.  This is what the finished case looks like, all ready to glue a book into.

I'm planning on making the cases on Saturday.  More later.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Binding The Golden Key

At Pegana Press we make all of our books by hand from start to finish.  

I'd like to share the binding process here with you, and I'll be taking photos as I bind The Golden Key.

After Mike trims and collates the pages, he hands them off to me in the form of signatures.  This is a beautiful book to work on and I'm really enjoying it.

I start by piercing the holes for sewing into each signature.  They have to line up, so the book will be even.  I use a template and a stabbing cradle and pierce each one by hand.

The next step is the sewing.  For The Golden Key, I used linen thread and linen sewing tapes.  I am binding in batches of 12 to 14 until I catch up with the preorders, so I sewed a stack of books before moving on to the next step.

Today I tipped in the end papers, which were cut and folded by hand.  I have to wait for the end papers to dry before moving on the next step, gluing the spines.  Once that glue has dried, I round the spines.  This afternoon, I will add mull and head bands.

Tomorrow, I will be cutting cloth and spine reinforcements.  The reinforcements create a flat spine for our letterpress titles to be glued to. 

Back to the bindery.  More later.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Golden Key Turns the Lock

Greetings.  This is just a quick update on the status of our latest release from Pegana Press.  We're very happy to announce that after nearly a year, The Golden Key is entirely finished and is now, in the process of being bound.

My decision to devote an immense amount of energy and labor to print The Golden Key stems from being a book lover and collector.  I've always chosen works that I would want to have in my own library  Beautiful editions that support and enhance the wonder of the story that you can hold and caress.  I felt that The Golden Key needed such an edition.

We are very fortunate to have Charles van Sandwyk's illustrations for this book.  Charles is one of the truly great illustrators of our time.  His style is perfect for what I had in mind for this edition, being reminiscent of Arthur Rackham's magical images.  He has provided us with three pen and ink illustrations as well as a beautiful hand signed watercolour for the fronticepiece.  It is a wonder to see it facing the title page which is printed on rose colored paper.

Each signature of the book is letterpress printed on a different color paper.  The page colors are pale rose blush, custard yellow, soft sagey-green, and a sky blue reminiscent of twilight.  The pages are displayed to their best advantage in the soft glow of library lamps, which was an unexpected and happy result, and which exceeded my vision for this edition.

We feel in every way, that this book will be our most beautiful release to date, and that it will be a book to treasure and pass down, which must be seen and handled in person to be fully appreciated.  I've come to realize that the photos posted on our site aren't able to convey the full beauty of this book and that it really comes to life when it is held, and read, and savored.

Never the less, please visit Pegana Press online, to see for yourself the recent addition of the frontispiece.

We wish you many years of happy reading, surrounded by beautiful books.
From Mike & Rita at Pegana Press

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Mossy and The Golden Key

It's here!  The beautiful watercolour illustration created by the talented Charles van Sandwyk, which is the frontispiece for The Golden Key.  Each frontispiece, hand signed by Charles.

I will begin the binding process for this book on Monday, so we can get them out to you, who have preordered as soon as possible.

This book has to be seen to be fully appreciated.  The images, the magical frontispiece, the lettering, the rainbow hued pastel colored pages, and of course the story...All these things together make this a book to treasure and pass down for generations to come.

Please visit our website to view photos of The Golden Key and to see the magical frontispiece by Charles van Sandwyk.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

This Week At The Press: New Projects and More

This week has been busy at Pegana Press.  Mike is finished printing The Golden Key, and we are just waiting for the watercolor frontispiece to arrive from the printer before we begin the binding process.  It won't be long now.  Just a reminder, the special preorder price on this book is only offered until the release date.  This book really is special.  Charles Van Sandwyk has done some outstanding work, as usual, adding to the beauty of this offering.  Truly an heirloom quality book to treasure.  And limited to 80 copies.

Mike is already two pages into the next printing project, and we will be announcing details about that book soon.

Today, Mike is in the recording studio working on some audio readings with music.

And in the bindery, Rita is finalizing The Golden Key binding design, as well as binding our last available Clark Ashton Smith book, The Age of Malygris.  This final finished book will make two only, available at the press.  If you've been wanting to add The Age of Malygris to your collection, please don't hesitate to order while we still have it.

For Dunsany collectors, interested in the Lost Tales 3 volume box set, the last finished set went out this week, and I will be working on binding 4 more sets and making slipcases for them as time permits.  They are currently on special, so if you'd like to add this set to your collection, please order before the sale price ends.  But please allow 2 to 3 weeks for availability.

Finally, our webpage had a remodel last weekend and we think we've improved it, making it funner and easier to navigate.  Stop by and see if you agree.

Cheers for now, from Pegana Press.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

The Adventures of The Golden Key

Let me take you on a fantastic journey.  A journey through colored pages of palest rose, custard yellow, light sagey green, and dusky blue.  We will follow the trail of ornate letters of a bygone era pressed into the paper, and the words will be our guide through Fairyland where we will meet Tangle and Mossy and accompany them on their quest to find the lock that fits The Golden Key.

The Golden Key title page.
...It was a curious creature, made like a fish, but covered, instead of scales, with feathers of all colours, sparkling like those of a hummingbird.  It had fins, not wings, and swam through the air as a fish does through the water.  Its head was like the head of a small owl.

The Golden Key by George MacDonald.  With illustrations by Charles Van Sandwyk.  Available from Pegana Press.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Name to the Book

Doing the title page to a book after long months of printing is a refreshing and inspired time.  Although it's the beginning it signifies an end.  We hope you like it.  The special preorder price for The Golden Key is due to end on August 31st.  I'm now on the final steps of finishing the book and will keep everyone posted.  More information can be found here. 

Saturday, August 15, 2015

Scenes From Fairyland

I've printed several of the illustrations for The Golden Key using the magnesium dies and they've turned out beautifully.  We are so pleased Mr. Van Sandwyk has provided these wonderful drawings to decorate the prose imagery of George MacDonald's Fairyland.  The special preorder price will end very soon.   Rita has done a test binding with the Florentine endpapers and it looks stunning. We invite you to visit our website for more information and images of the book.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Harvest of the Blade

The parent sheets of light green paper being cut down for the "Old Man of the Sea" illustration page from The Golden Key by George MacDonald.  Every page of our books are cut by hand with this nifty german guillotine whacker.  Once I get the metal dies back they'll get locked into the press and the pen and ink illustrations will be printed.  More information about this limited letterpress edition of The Golden Key and how to pre-order can be found here.

A sheaf  of Lord Dunsany material I've been reading through in consideration for the next Lost Tales edition. All will be unpublished or uncollected.  It's hard to choose because Dunsany's writing is all so enjoyable. Even his reviews of stage productions from the early 1900's have a lyrical quality and depth that is hypnotic.
More information about the Lost Tales series can be found here.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Pen of Fairyland

     We are now in receipt of the pen and ink illustrations by Charles Van Sandwyk for The Golden Key edition and they are really superb.  Charles has created a wonderful aeranth flying fish creature which will decorate the title page.  He's done an incredibly detailed and sublime portrait of The Old Man of the Sea for the interior of the book. Quite breathtaking!  The book will finish with an ornate rendition of The Golden Key itself facing the last page.  He's now working on the watercolour painting which will face the title page and reportedly be a magical forest scene set in Fairyland from the beginnings of the story.
     Rita is starting on a trial binding for the book with the beautiful yellow cloth and blue ornate endpapers that are reminiscent of the William Morris Victorian style and should complement MacDonald's brilliant novella very well.
The Golden Key is still available for Pre-Order at a special price and can be found here.

     In Lord Dunsany news, I've nearly completed the first story for the audiobook of Lost Tales.  My musical collaborator has created a Golden Age of Spain feel for the story Romance that supports the lyrical prose of Dunsany beautifully.  I hope to have the audiobook done in a few months for public release.  I'm continuing reading through rare and unpublished stories for the new Lost Tales book and planning the design. Printing will begin very soon for this volume of Lost gems from our guiding visionary Lord Dunsany.

     For those waiting for more Clark Ashton Smith I am of course in preliminary phases of design and planning for Poseidonis Cycle II "The Age of Ending" which should occur in the Spring.  It will really be nice to have all the Atlantis stories together in a set with these magical bindings and paper.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Origami Dreams

I've been folding the finished pages of The Golden Key.  Approximately 1200 pages get folded by hand (no machines here) and then they will be gathered into their signatures and trimmed (one at a time as well) laborious but strangely soothing work.  From there Rita will begin sewing the signatures together to prepare them for binding.  We've got some samples of endpaper we are looking at and they are quite spectacular.

Here is the prelude for The Golden Key which I printed yesterday morning before it was too hot to work in the pressroom.  Macdonald originally used this quote as a chapter heading in Phantastes and I found it appropriate for the new book and for life in general.  More information about this limited edition and how to place a preorder can be found here.

I've begun recording the narration for an audiobook version of the Lost Tales series by Lord Dunsany.  We hope to release this before the end of the year.  Working with a local musician to provide atmospheric color behind the stories.  This will provide fans of the stories to hear them dramatized and to view them from a different perspective or be their companions at work or on a journey.

Been reading more unpublished Dunsany stories for the next book which I will begin in the fall.  Lots of really good material as candidates and I will of course try to bring out something special for you patient Dunsany collectors out there.  That's all for now, back to work for us.  We wish you well.

Friday, June 26, 2015

Graven Images

The pen and ink illustrations for The Golden Key should be arriving soon from Mr. Van Sandwyk.  High resolution scans will be taken of the artwork and the images will be etched into copper and mounted on wood blocks. These blocks are "type high" and will be locked into the press and the printing will begin. Etched copper plates give exquisite detail and depth to the artwork. It's a slower and more expensive process than digital printing but well worth the result.

I'm nearly done printing the text and have to keep reminding myself to quit stopping and trying to read various meanings into Macdonalds's brilliantly phrased prose images.  There's something very hypnotic about reading a word and line at a time as you set type that makes you appreciate the magic of the writing.  Of course it takes about 8 hours to read and set one page of text so patience is a virtue with this craft.  We will share artwork images as soon as they're available.  Copies will be bound in small quantities and numbered and shipped in the order they're received.  The earlier you order the lower the number (which we collectors covet) copy you receive.  We thank you for your patronage and do hope you will embrace this brilliant fantasy novella as we have.
The Golden Key special preorder price can be found here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

The Ties That Bind

I was thinking of all those who become a part of our books as we make them.  There are the author's estates who are supported by royalties to keep the legacies alive for us.  There are the 500 year old german and french paper mills for the pages.  The natives in Nepal harvesting renewable plants for the beautiful endpapers.  The 1920's formulation of ink from a small company in Illinois.  The parts and materials for the press coming from Fritz singlehandedly maintaining materials for the old equipment.  Cloth and glue from a lady serving the book arts community out of her house.  Copper plates from photoengravers in the town of Owosso.  The tiny local print shop who is kind enough to cut our boards even though it dulls their blades.  An artist dreaming of fairies on a remote isle.

The spirits, passions and dreams of all these people are woven into our books as they take form.  So the next time you open one of our books we invite you to see the patterns of energy that bind it together.  You are part of a much larger community when you dream those dreams written with such grace and printed on the page.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

The Golden Key Pre Order Announcement

An illustration from the Blue Fairy Book
by Charles Van Sandwyk

We are very excited to announce that  renowned Vancouver artist Charles Van Sandwyk is working on illustrations for The Golden Key edition by George MacDonald.  One of the great fantasy illustrators of this century, his work on The Blue Fairy Book and The Wind In the Willows is superb and will complement this incredible allegorical fantasy journey.  The book is now available to pre order here.
The Golden Key by George MacDonald.

Charles works on a remote Fiji island and his watercolours and pen and ink are delicate and fantastic.  We expect this edition to sell out quickly and the special pre order price helps us to finish the book while giving you a great discount on the published price.

This is our most ambitious edition to date and I'm really pleased with how it's turning out.I am now printing on the final signature section of the book in a pale blue french laid paper.  More images will be posted as they become available.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Journey Through the City of Light

We invite you to take a short journey with us in Paris, as seen through the eyes of Hope Mirrlees and translated into words and sound.  Not only did Mirrlees write one of the most compelling fantasies, Lud-In-The Mist, but she penned an extraordinary prose poem work that transcended anything written up to that time.  We hope you will take a moment to listen as we read some of "Paris" and visit for a time that ageless city.  You can find it through this door...

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It's Not Letterpress

No, it's not letterpress.  But you can help support Pegana Press by purchasing my first zine creation.  Just a bit of fun and whimsy.  

Check out the new zine page on our website.  

From A Conversation With The Moon

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Winter Tales/Customer Reviews

Here are some quotes from emails I received about Winter Tales, a fine press limited edition chapbook released by Pegana Press.

On Voice of Fire:
I Love the concept of music being held within the memory of the tree. Thank you so much for the beautiful book! I will treasure it for years to come.

On Where the Snow Folk Live:
I've read and re read "Where The Snow Folk Live."
I feel like I have one of those huge and heavy fairytale books from my childhood. The book with stories that mesmerize. Tales for special occasions only. Reading your story Is like uncovering  a mystical passage and discovering a book that was hidden in order to preserve its secrets. 
And that is what great storytelling does!!!  Bravo
The  characters (in addition to the letters) really add to that story and the look of the page . They Create visual interest for me.

On Cup of Cheer:

"Cup of Cheer" is my favorite of the three stories. For me it's like Jack and the Beanstalk and the Snow Queen went on a road trip and met the Star Trek crew. I love the idea of the "mixture of cultural anomalies." 

Sunday, May 3, 2015


Here is our page of type locked up in the bed of the press using wooden furniture and quoins to exert pressure.  We'll see some printing next time.

As I was setting the type for a page of The Golden Key an image was presented that struck me as being one that runs through much of fantasy literature .

...Anon an exquisite shadow group of gambolling children would be followed by the loveliest female form, and that again by the grand stride of a Titanic shape, each disappearing in the surrounding press of shadowy foliage...

This recurring vision of a giant figure striding through various scenes yet being obscured, only revealing small, fragmented glimpses could have come from Cabell, Dunsany, Lovecraft and so many more.  Certainly an image that stretches back to the beginning of Man's imagination.  Sometimes sinister, yet always intriguing.

Saturday, April 25, 2015

The Craft of the Art

I've begun printing on the pale green paper for the Golden Key (see above); the papers are complementing each other very well.  We're again using the Hahnemuhle Ingres laid paper in different shades.

I thought I would share some of the steps involved in making a letterpress edition.  The bottom photo is the drawer of Goudy Franciscan type with the composing stick in front.  The lines of type are set a letter at a time upside down. The words get separated by various thicknesses of metal to create the spacing between words until the type is snug within the margins of the stick.  Once you have enough lines it gets transferred onto the bed of the press to be printed.  Each page takes about 5  hours  to set.

I've begun reviewing material for the next book and hope to begin work on an audiobook of the Lost Tales series next week.   We hope everyone is well and finding time to read.  I'm reading Wodehouse to relax during rare breaks from printing.  That's all for now, signing off til next time.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

To Protect and Serve

We've had enough requests for slipcases for the Lord Dunsany Lost Tales Series that I've talked Rita into doing them.  The slipcases are being made with a double woven cotton cloth in soft gray over very dense binding boards for long life and durability  It's a more difficult process than binding a book in some ways but we are now happy to offer them for special order here.
Work is proceeding apace with The Golden Key; and am now printing the third signature which is on a pale green Hahnemuhle paper.  
We plan on beginning work on an audiobook version of the entire Lost Tales series in the coming months. (whenever I need a break from printing and lead type)
We wish you well and hope you are feeding the muse in some way.