14 December, 2006


This post is directed particularly at anyone who may have received a Christmas Card from us with a little note attached and felt constrained to drop everything to find us here! You are very welcome and here to greet you is a little poetic license! With the weather outside so dank and dark, why not imagine for this Journal a little early Summer instead. The power of the blog!

If you move downwards in this column of text and image, you will move backwards in time, post by post, until you reach November 1st when we started out. If you want to return to our website or to visit it for the first time, in order to see what The Old Stile Press is up to, just click here.

Do come again!

11 December, 2006

How I wish this book was one of ours! . . . 2

Natalie d'Arbeloff is a one-off if ever we've met one! For decades she has been lauded as one of the most interesting of those artists who choose to express themselves by creating unique or tiny edition books. This is one of the former. Its title Dream and Variations (apart from a few facts on a colophon page) provides the book's entire text . . . I mean, there is no text.

There is a drop-back box (not shown here) and the book itself is contained in a vibrantly embroidered bag made by Natalie's also-remarkable mother, Blanche.

Thereafter there are pages and there are double-page spreads. There is printmaking technique and there is painting. There is the 'cast' of the dreaming. There are views of one figure or another which are the same as ones on another page . . . or are they? No, they are not. Are they reversed, are they mirrorized? The 'world' in which it all happens is like a lusciously romantic stage set . . . or is it a film set? Look for yourself. [click on images to see greater detail]

Clearly, as this is a one-off book, it is crazy for me to say that I wish it had been 'one of ours' but I can still state that it has a richness and depth about it which I find very exciting and would love to emulate in some way.

We HAVE worked with Natalie, I am happy to say, and it was a great experience! Together we helped Natalie to realize her version of the vision of St. John on Patmos. REVELATION is one of the most interesting books we have published and I will offer a serious of photographs of the book in a later post. For now details about it can be seen here.

Natalie is not only a book-builder but she is also a painter and assemblage artist. She is also a writer, philosopher, cartoonist and, most recently and spectacularly, a major presence on the WEB . . . as you can find if you follow the link at the head of this post. You will find Natalie and you will find her alter-ego, Augustine, who just happens to be about to publish a book recording her interviews with God!

06 December, 2006

Christmas Cards 2

For the Christmas after our great friend and guru, Robin Tanner, died, I made a card by 'pasting-up' various of the delicious decorative elements he had added to an earlier Christmas letter.

A second 'Robin Tanner' created card was made for Christmas 2004 associated with the extraordinary coincidence of our hearing about, acquiring and reprinting a book in which Robin had made many drawings in black ink within a printed copy of The Last Poems of Alice Meynell, just in time to celebrate the centenary of Robin's birth!

In quite a different mood, here is a card made from the drawings made by Gillian Martin for the two half-title pages of our edition of Edward Lear's Two Nonsense Stories . . . one starts at one end of the book and the other starts at the other - hence TWO half-titles! These stories (so much less well-known than the Poems, Alphabets &c) are entirely delightful. Looking again at the drawings in the book, it is amazing how Gillian managed to draw entirely in her own style but in a way which looks almost more Learish than Lear himself. Why has Gillian not done another book with us . . . !

04 December, 2006

Back to normal!

We are just returned from the fourth opera (in as many days) of a noble and exciting cycle of Wagner's Ring from The Mariinsky Theatre, St. Petersburg conducted by the thrilling Valery Gergiev. Oh yes . . . and we only had to get as far as the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff!

We are now basking in the post-catharsis phase which I reckon is one of the main reasons why people subject themselves to this particular ordeal. It is like trudging over hills and plains to Epidaurus to see crazed women do terrible things to their children and men marry their mothers. You feel cleansed for having gone through it and it is SO good when it stops . . . !

We woke (not very early it has to be said) and sun was streaming in through our window. As this photograph shows, the GOLD was safely back in the Wye (as well as the Rhine) and all looked good. Back, now, to 'real' life!