Heavenly Monkey

Letterpress & Binding Studio

After Image
Colour at play
Barbara Hodgson & Claudia Cohen (HM Editions 2009)

The second volume in the colour series - inspired by Renaissance thinkers, Victorian children's book creators, Russian avant-gardists, and German applied artists - is a three-dimensional playground of 16 models and assemblages that can be moved, folded, shifted and spun.

Ambitious readers can assemble a 20-sided polyhedron that shows the full spectrum in pure hues, tints and shades; or use a spinning top (included) with a series of coloured disks to demonstrate the principles of colour mixing. Several historical partnerships have also been imagined, such as Euclid joining with the Bauhaus to geometrically demonstrate Wassily Kandinsky's belief that shapes have natural colour associations, or applying the colour studies of Russian avantgarde artist Mikhail Matiushin to a Victorian children's moving book construction.

The authors then spent more than three months working through the hundreds of hours of hand colouring, folding and assembling required for the edition of 30 (plus 5 AP) copies. The book - written, designed and set by Barbara Hodgson - is uniform in format to The Temperamental Rose (8vo, 40 pages). It was printed at Black Stone Press in two colours on Arches watercolour and handmade papers. Copies were bound in half leather with gold tooling over paste papers by Claudia Cohen. Each copy comes in a clamshell box, along with a three-dimensional construction made from a design by papermaker Reg Lissel on Lissel's own coloured handmade paper, and a hand-lathed wood spinning top required for several of the constructs.

The first eight copies form a deluxe issue, including an original sketch page bound in, and accompanied by a multi-hued booklet made from translucent Cromatica papers with patterns cut into the papers to produce an extensive palette, as the effect of overlayering of the various colours changes with each turn of the page.

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