Letterpress & Binding Studio

This Monkey’s Gone to Heaven

Checklist ultimo: HM & HM Editions 2000 – 2020 (aka HM=XX)
HM (Heavenly Monkey 2022)

A bibliography of all publications from Heavenly Monkey from its debut in 2000 through 2020, including those issued from the HM Editions imprint; a total of 61 titles (+ HM=XX makes 62). Arranged chronologically, each title is accompanied by a concise bibliographic description of methods, materials, edition size, and any other relevant information. Most listings also include some brief comment (often an admission or confession) about the project. The listings are interspersed with graphics from projects (& several spurious woodcuts), and every other opening includes original leaves or a bifolium from 18 of the projects.

The first part of the book describes the 41 titles published under the imprint Heavenly Monkey, and includes:
The original setting of Jeremy Wilson’s four-page foreword to An Invitation to British Columbia, along with the story of why is wasn’t used;
A text leaf and an original intaglio print from Iskandariya;
A text leaf and original wood engraving from Jim Westergard’s collection Oddballs;
Leaves from You Can’t Choose Your Progeny, Elements in Correlation, Paper Should Not Be White, Metal Types, Sunblind Highway and Aurora Teardrops;
Bilfolia from Labour Vertue Glorie and Fragments & Glimpses.

The second part of the book describes the 20 titles published by Heavenly Monkey Editions, an imprint created to issue work conceived, and to some extent produced, outside the HM studio. Most of these publications were collaborations between Barbara Hodgson & Claudia Cohen. The original samples included are:
A leaf from HM’s first version (2002, 10 copies) of H.P. Lovecraft’s The Shadow Over Innsmouth, printed digitally with letterpress embellishments;
Leaves from all four of Barbara & Claudia’s color series books (many of the samples with hand coloring);
A bifolium from The WunderCabinet;
A leaf from Barbara’s Mrs Delany Meets Herr Haeckel.

From the collection of samples available for any given book, some will be more visually engaging than others. Rather than cherry-picking the best and sticking them in some “deluxe” subset of copies, every attempt was made for each of the edition’s 40 collections of samples to be about equal in terms of the number and caliber of stand-out pieces.

In addition to samples from her books, Barbara was recruited to add doodles & marginal annotations to various listings throughout every copy (and not necessarily the same annotations in each copy). Thus every copy has been uniquely defaced.

The book was set in Perpetua, printed primarily in black but with some graphics in second colors. The title page calligraphy was by Martin Jackson. The paper is Guarro laid, printed damp. The edition of 40 numbered copies has been uniformly quarter-bound at HM with a printed paper vellum spine and patterned paper over boards. The colophons bear the signatures of Barbara, Claudia, and the printer.

Copies 1–10 are issued in a clamshell box made by Claudia, containing the book and eight folders with a collection of three dozen additional sample leaves, sorted by some unifying theme. Each sample is annotated with the numerical listing for the source book in the bibliography. In many cases these samples were rejected or not used (vs simply being overs), and as such offer some insight to the methods and challenges of inking and printing by hand. (Fully subscribed)

Copies 11–15 (see image below) are issued in a slipcase with a companion folder containing 8 large samples taken from the studio’s handful of ephemeral or hors commerce projects, none of which are included in the checklist iteself: you have to draw the line somewhere. The folder also includes a sheet with brief details on the contents (where & what). (Fully subscribed)

Copies 16–40 are priced at US$800.

HM=XX was preceded by a 2003 catalogue of books issued; an 8-page checklist (No. 2) issued in 2005; and a larger, more elaborate checklist (No. 3) issued in 2010. Each of those included the three books issued by HM’s precursor, A Lone Press (1998-1999). The new bibliography does not include those publications.

HM Editions’ final publication was PatternPattern (2019). Checklist Ultimo will be the last book bearing the imprint Heavenly Monkey; the imprint for future publications from the studio will simply be HM.

HM=XX slipcase edition