Heavenly Monkey

Letterpress & Binding Studio

Where can I see or buy your books?

What, and who, is Heavenly Monkey?

Where'd the name come from?

What's the difference between the imprints Heavenly Monkey and Heavenly Monkey Editions?

How did you get started?

How do you decide what to publish (and can I send a manuscript)?

Do you have a subscription list?

Do you do any commission printing or publishing?

Do you offer any instruction or classes?

Can I visit your studio?

Why? (aka Handmade Books in the Digital Age)



WHERE CAN I SEE OR BUY YOUR BOOKS?

Heavenly Monkey (and HM Editions) books are sold primarily through booksellers. We encourage collectors interested in a published title to inquire with any of the booksellers listed on our Friends page.

A list of currently available books can also be found through Abebooks.com, with Heavenly Monkey in the publisher field (see here).

In addition to private collections, copies of our books can be found in the British Library, the University of British Columbia, Simon Fraser University, the University of Victoria, the University of Alberta, the Lilly Library, Yale, Brigham Young, the University of Calgary, McGill University, the University of Toronto, the University of California, the University of Washington, and New Zealand's Turnbull Library. Those are the ones we know about; since most of our books are placed by booksellers, there undoubtedly are other institutions not on this list.

WHAT, AND WHO, IS HEAVENLY MONKEY?

Heavenly Monkey is the imprint of publisher Rollin Milroy, dedicated to creating books for people interested in contemporary applications of traditional book crafts: handmade papers, letterpress printing, and bindings that emphasize both aesthetic and structural integrity. Our books are designed as objects to be experienced both intellectually and physically; innovative use of technology from any era, and its skillful application are the studio's guiding principles.

With only a few exceptions, all HM books are printed on dampened handmade paper using a Washington handpress. (Conversely, most HM Editions books to date have been printed by David Clifford at Black Stone Press.) Editions are small - typically no more than 50 copies - primarily because the various stages of production work can become incredibly boring.

Milroy studied journalism at Concordia University, during which time he wrote about popular music for a number of publications. After graduation he worked in magazine publishing and corporate marketing for 15 years, in Canada, the United States and several South American countries. Heavenly Monkey has been his full-time occupation since 2000.

WHERE'D THE NAME COME FROM?

People interested in the source and significance of Heavenly Monkey's name must track down a copy of our 2002 Christmas book. Suffice to say, the answer is not nearly as interesting as the question.

WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN HM & HM EDITIONS?

In 2005 our activities expanded to include publishing books created by others, under the imprint Heavenly Monkey Editions. Milroy's role in the production of these projects varies, from being involved with the conception, design and production (i.e. letterpress and binding), to simply fulfilling the role of publisher (i.e. promotion and distribution). Conversely, books in which Milroy plays a central creative and production role (i.e. books which are largely or entirely his vision, and printed on the handpress) are published under Heavenly Monkey. Heavenly Monkey and Heavenly Monkey Editions are considered parallel, but separate, imprints.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED?

Milroy was introduced to letterpress printing during a week-long course at Barbarian Press in 1997. He also studied binding through the Canadian Bookbinders & Book Artists Guild. Through luck and the generosity of strangers, he quickly assembled the hardware to begin printing his own books. The initial scale of the operation reflected a fear of being tied down: there was no equipment so large it couldn't be shifted by a lone person. Hence the name of the press used during Milroy's apprentice year: A Lone Press. During this time all printing was done on a Kelsey Excelsior 5 x 8 press. The major project for this apprentice year was a biography of Aldus Manutius' typecutter, Francesco Griffo, with printing taking five months working full time.

Permanency arrived at the end of 1999, with the completion of Fragments & Glimpses, and the acquisition of a one-ton Washington handpress. The Washington signaled an interest in tackling projects that were physically larger and more complex. With some experience and a new press in hand, A Lone Press was retired and a permanent imprint for future work established: Heavenly Monkey. In 2007 a Pratt Albion folio foolscap press was added to the studio.

HOW DO YOU DECIDE WHAT TO PUBLISH?

The books published by HM do not easily fall into a common collecting category, by form or topic. The only thread joining our titles is, each appealed to Milroy enough to want a copy on his own shelf. While history of printing and the book will always be an area of interest, our attention strays widely.

Publication through HM Editions is always and only through invitation.

No manuscripts please.

DO YOU HAVE A SUBSCRIPTION LIST?

For a number of reasons, we do not solicit private or institutional subscribers. One reason is that we prefer to sell our books primarily through booksellers, so they are the best way to secure copies of our books, particularly variant or deluxe issues of upcoming projects. The broad range of our publishing interests, and the fact that we really are two imprints - complimentary but different - also makes asking people to subscribe for everything onerous. We prefer to allow collectors the freedom to pick the books that appeal to their interests.

DO YOU DO ANY COMMISSION WORK?

No.

DO YOU OFFER INSTRUCTION OR CLASSES?

No. But we're happy to answer questions by e-mail, and offer whatever help or suggestions we can.

CAN I VISIT YOUR STUDIO?

Probably not.

WHY? (aka Handmade Books in the Digital Age)

Without presuming to punch above our weight, there are a few presses that have had a profound influence at Heavenly Monkey. The Doves Press, for its beauty through austerity, is for us the primary representative of the twentieth century English private press tradition. Leonard Baskin's Gehenna Press, for attention to craftsmanship and exquisite materials. Richard-Gabriel Rummonds, whose publications from Plain Wrapper Press & Ex Ophidia consistently demonstrated the handpress can play a unique role in contemporary design & printing. Ronald King's Circle Press, for truly informed innovations in book design and skillful construction. Andrew Hoyem's Arion Press, for the sheer scope and depth of the enterprise. And the Allen Press, for getting us hooked on printing with a handpress, and whose bibliography will always be at the top of Heavenly Monkey's desert island pick list.

Without worshipping form over function - style over substance - we know there is nothing like the look, feel and even smell of a well-made book. Rather than the death knell of books, we believe the digital age could be a boon for people interested in truly well-wrought books. It is likely and sensible that many texts will be more efficiently accessed in digital format. But a text that deserves some permanence - a physical presence in your life - will have to exhibit the best of the various crafts that combine to make a book. The cheap trade publication that falls out of its lousy case binding may go away, but books designed and produced with an eye to how they will feel in the reader's hands may enjoy a renaissance.

Heavenly Monkey





Heavenly Monkey





Heavenly Monkey





Heavenly Monkey





Heavenly Monkey





Heavenly Monkey





Heavenly Monkey