Tuesday, October 11, 2016

The Book of Dreams

Took a trip to the Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair over the weekend and had a great time showing off this display prospectus for the new Deluxe Lovecraft edition Dark Dreamlands.  Dealers in the supernatural and fantastic were especially excited about Michael Hutter's illustrations.  We'll be doing a test binding in the coming weeks and will post some images as the book takes shape.  More information and how to advance order this deluxe and very limited edition of Dark Dreamlands by H.P. Lovecraft can be found here on our website.

Monday, August 1, 2016

The Weight of Time

I visited Ars Obscura and Joel Radcliffe, master bookbinder to take a look at the binding progress for the limited edition Men of Baldfolk and Other Fanciful Tales by Lord Dunsany.  The book looks terrific and Joel does superb, meticulous work.  The books are now under weight and will cure until August 15th and then officially be published and begin shipping.  The special pre-order price will end on the 15th so please visit the website for purchase information.https://www.peganapress.com/the-men-of-baldfolk.html

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Of Silk and the Hammer

We've been making some slight changes to the binding for The Men of Baldfolk and Other Fanciful Tales. The black cotton cloth we were using on the test dummy for the quarter bound spine really picks up dirt and shows the scoring of the bone folder so we've gone to a beautiful black, shimmering silk moire material that really looks great I've also added more information about the contents for the book and posted an audio excerpt from one of the unpublished stories.  Work progresses on the new Lovecraft edition; I'm in receipt of some beautiful color illustrations from our artist.  I will share his name and some images soon.  We invite you to visit the page and look and listen.


Saturday, May 14, 2016

A Fold In Sime

I've just completed the next to last step for my part of the work on The Men of Baldfolk and Other Fanciful Tales by Lord Dunsany.  While listening to baseball on the Grundig windup radio I've been preparing the Sime watercolour illustration for the edition.  This entailed measuring six inches and then scoring each with a bone folder.  The sheet is then folded in half and smoothed down with the bone folder with wax paper over it, otherwise the paper gets marks on it. From there each sheet is trimmed to about 6 3/8 inches.  This leaves a small tab which allows it to be sewn into the book signature.  I then trimmed the eighty signatures to a nice even edge.  Whew!
The only thing left for me to do now is print the spine titles.
This deluxe limited edition is available for preorder and can
be viewed on our website.  We invite you to visit and look

Saturday, May 7, 2016

presenting The Men of Baldfolk & Other Fanciful Tales

 Mike and Rita of Pegana Press are pleased to announce that we are taking preorders for The Men of Baldfolk & Other Fanciful Tales by Lord Dunsany on our website.

In this offering, we have moved away from the chapbook single signature design that marked our Lost Tales editions.  But as with the rest, our books continue to be hand made from start to finish by Mike and Rita Tortorello at Pegana Press.

This book is quarter bound, black cloth spine with Florentine paper covered boards.  Letterpress spine title on Hahnemühle Ingres paper.  Inside the book is hand typeset letterpress printed, also on Hahnemühle Ingres.

Now for the good stuff...

5 of the 9 stories contained in this book have never appeared in print before now.  The other 4 have not appeared since their original magazine publications.

We are also excited to offer as frontispiece, a rare Sime watercolor.

If you're a Dunsany fan, you are in for a treat with these stories.  A rare and beautiful book of material from a master story crafter, brought to you with love from Mike and Rita of Pegana Press.

...and Thor said to the rest "It is even as we have dreamed.  The years have been going by and the ages passing away; Time has been active here, and it grows late on Earth.  Unstained and cold are the stones.  It is later than we had dreamed."       
--Lord Dunsany from The Vengeance of Thor, written 1929 and previously unpublished.  Available from Pegana Press Spring 2016.

We invite you to visit our website.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Getting Closer

We are putting the final touches on The Men of Baldfolk and Other Fanciful Tales by Lord Dunsany, the newest release from Pegana Press.

Mike has finished the printing and has collated the pages into book form.  We are waiting on the illustration, which should be finished soon.

Rita is binding variations of dummy copies to see how Mike's vision for this book will look fully bound.

We hope to share pictures on our website around May 1st.

There are 9 stories in the book, 5 of which have never been published before, the other 4 are uncollected in book form.  The material spans 1908 to 1955.  Featured as frontispiece is a rare, color Sime illustration.

Please visit our website for updates.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

The Curse of the Smalls and the Stars

A lot of my work making books for Pegana Press reminds me of a Fafhrd and Gray Mouser story in which the Mouser can only concentrate on small, seemingly insignificant details and items.  The setting of the type with little bits of metal, viewing the printing under a magnifying glass, pulling tiny cat hairs off the ink rollers, etc., etc., etc.  I've now reached one of my favorite points in making a book with The Men of Baldfolk and Other Fanciful Tales by Lord Dunsany.  All the printing is done and I've been folding pages for the past few days.  Nearly a thousand pieces of paper to fold and carefully crease while keeping them as square as possible. Then collating the pages into their signatures and trimming each one. There's something very soothing and therapeutic about repeating the same sequence over and over to create tidy piles of pages. Somewhat like mowing a lawn with all the neat straight rows. Very little thinking or decisions to make; what a relief.  Seeing all the months of work slowly taking shape as a book is immensely satisfying. Knowing I'm almost done and the relief that comes with it.  We got back the test print of the rare Sime watercolour frontispiece and it's quite lovely  I will be posting the story titles of the book soon on the website as well as more images.  It's going to be a beautiful book and we hope you're as excited as we are.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

A View From Pegana

As we near completion of the new Dunsany collection, The Men of Baldfolk and Other Fanciful Tales, it seemed like an appropriate time to talk about Sidney Sime and the watercolour illustrations we've been so fortunate to be able publish in Lost Tales III and the upcoming edition.  The illustrations were commissioned by Lord Dunsany, who retained the originals. They were painted for two Jorkens stories and published in the Christmas issue of The Graphic for 1926. When I heard of these illustrations I was amazed to say the least. Sidney Sime and his visions are of course interwoven and part of Dunsany's works, but always in black and white.  And when I saw photos of the original paintings I realized that these had to be shared with Dunsany collectors.  Since the Jorkens stories have of course been published and collected several times, I had no real need to do them again, but felt that it would be in keeping with my desire to bring rare Dunsany material to light to include them in our books.  The Dunsany Estate graciously allowed us to use the one pictured here for Lost Tales Volume III and we will be presenting another exquisite one for The Men of Baldfolk and Other Fanciful Tales.  So after nearly ninety years, and unknown to most of the world we are delighted to share these wonderful visions of the Master painter of Pegana.

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Men of Baldfolk Nearing Completion

March is very nearly over and we have been very busy at Pegana Press.  Mike has finished setting and printing all the stories for The Men of Baldfolk, which is the title of our latest volume of stories written by Lord Dunsany.  This morning he printed the colophon for the book.  The only pages left to print are things like table of contents, copyright, title page, etc.

He also plans to start work on the illustration this week.

I have been using the time between releases to catch up with all the work that went undone during the binding frenzy caused by The Golden Key.  This is tax season, and my book keeping skills always cause a frantic search for records and receipts in various files as I try to fill out forms correctly.

Fortunately, The Men of Baldfolk won’t be ready for binding until after mid April.  Until then, I am spending my time in the bindery working on a dummy to see the practical application of our design for this publication.  When I get one finished, I’ll post pictures on the website of what the book will look like.  It will be some time yet, before I can bind an actual copy of the book, but the dummy will provide a peek into what you can expect the book to look like.

We hope to begin offering the book for presale soon.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Of Dingbats and Ornaments

I have a variety of ornaments, borders, and dingbats which I use in our editions.  Many of these are cast as sets and sold that way. Some of the more ornate fonts have them included with the typeface and are meant to complement the typeface.

The embellishment of the text within a book using ornaments and dingbats is a reflection of  the intrinsic hand drawn quality of mankind's writings even from earliest times.  The language itself was defined on stone or papyrus with the use of symbols and drawings.  William Morris,  Roycrofters, and many others carried on this tradition on paper and even had artists doing watercolour initials and borders by hand for their editions.

I've begun printing the last story for the new Dunsany edition, The Men of Baldfolk and other Fanciful Tales, a beautifully lyrical prose essay that is reminiscent of the atmosphere evoked in Mona Sheehy but written in 1908. We received the paper we hope to use to cover the boards for the book and we'll share some images soon.  The rare color Sidney Sime illustration is in the printing process and will be ready soon and Rita is continuing her binding. She is completing the last sets of Lost Tales.  There are very few of the sets left so if you've been thinking about getting them don't put it off!

Next up will be an edition of Lovecraft's early dream stories that I will begin in the spring.

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Straying Into Elfland

I recently recorded some moody, contemplative piano tracks to support a story for the Lost Tales audiobook that should be done later this year.  The story, Our Laurels is a classic, dreamy tale of the struggle with dark and light and the participation of man.  All in three short paragraphs of course!  First collected in Lost Tales Volume I.

I'm in the preliminary phases of designing a Lovecraft edition of some of his early dream tales accompanied by some superb illustrations for later this year.

Continuing work on the forthcoming new Lord Dunsany edition The Men of Baldfolk and other Fanciful Tales, this group of stories are all unpublished or uncollected.  From dark gods to dreaming poets, some really fine material embellished with another very rare color Sidney Sime frontispiece. Our deepest appreciation to the Dunsany Estate for their sharing of these incredible pieces.  Will begin typesetting the second to last story tomorrow.  I'm using a german laid paper of the palest sage color for the pages which should complement the binding we have in mind quite nicely.

Rita is being kept busy in the bindery with  batches of Lost Tales and The Golden Key as well as doing taxes and taking care of 9 chickens and 3 cats. The response to The Golden Key has been very encouraging and has kept her hopping with glue, thread and all the strange things she uses to shelter and enhance our stories.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

New Worlds For Old

A fantastic thing about running a Press is the wonderful and talented people we get to meet along the way.

One of these is Robert Finegold, a writer of great spirit and meticulous prose. His work has that rare distinction of being apparently effortless and entirely real and engaging.  His stories are profoundly moving.

This is timeless fantasy and speculative fiction that burns with the fire of the human condition.  It is both intricate and familiar.  I urge you to explore his writing if you want to be moved and entertained.

A couple of his stories that have been published can be found here as well as a link to his FB page.

And the Ends of the Earth for Thy Possession


Lirazel's Heart

... With a pair of long hook-tipped tweezers, he carefully lifted the square gold lid of the box in the center of her heart, revealing two inner chambers. The larger was filled with a mesh of dried broad-leaved grass, semi-translucent and almost as golden as the box. A hidden object glowed from within the mesh like sunlight obscured behind a layer of cloud.
"What is in there?" Dominic whispered.
"The treasure of our house," Astolfo replied. Gently, he spread the dry grass mesh and a beam of silvery light shot upward like water spouting from a fountain. It crested and broke upon the quadratura of the ceiling with a prismatic radiance of a thousand hues...


Robert Finegold