The Finished Pamphlet “The Awful German Language”

pamphlet awful German Language 01

The finished pamphlets have reached their new owners, and it’s time to continue telling the story of “The Awful German Language”. A brief recap: We were holding a pamphlet swap at the book arts forum (a good place to be, I encourage you all to join us there!). I decided to not simply make a empty book but fill it with content. My choice fell on “The Awful German Language” by Mark Twain – a text I liked from the moment I first read it. I cut several pieces of soft and traditional linoleum to illustrate the text. I showed you some of the prints, and held a little give away, with Dymphie being the winner.

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paste down and fly leaf

I first inkjet printed 3 copies of the text and then started to print the cuts between the lines. (Traditionally one would of course combine a cut with movable type and letterpress print all of the page. – I wish…)
I made 3 copies, so that I can throw away some of the pages should the prints turn out too bad.

When they all were printed, I started binding them, of course. I tried a reversed book cloth hinge binding which included covering the book with the boards already attached. I never had done that before, and therefore first made a mock-up – a book with empty pages, just to try the binding. I gathered the pages according to the quality of the prints, and bound them in reversed order: So after the mockup I bound a book with the less beautiful print, then those with better prints. The idea of course was, to get some pratice before I may spoil the better copies.

Unfortunately, the last book, the one with the best prints, turned out to be the worst when it comes to the binding: For some reason the back cover boards turned out bigger than the front board. I still don’t know whether I simply attached them at different distances from the spine (the boards are bevelled towards the spine and I cannot feel that on the finished book). But it also looks like the protuding corner is not square, so I can only suppose that I really cut them to different size without noticing. (It’s the topmost in the stack above, it is even visible in this photo.)

pamphlet awful German Language 05 kleinActually the second book I made, those with the inferior prints, turned out to be the best when it comes to the binding.

After pondering for quite a while, feeling equally uncomfortable with either option, I decided to keep the badly bound version to myself and send off the other two.

And what do I learn from this experience? – Overconfidence is a more dangerous trap than inexperience.

I am printing a small edition of the book right now, one print a day. I estimate it will be finished in 2 weeks. – I’ll let you know when you can purchase your own copy.

Thanks for reading, and have a nice day!

One reply on “The Finished Pamphlet “The Awful German Language””

  1. Hi Hilke, thanks again for the lovely printed and bound book you sent me. I’m really in awe of your carving skills (and bookbinding skils)! This is such a cool edition and i’m really happy to be the lucky winner 🙂

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