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Father's Garden

1989: edition of 50
317 x 178 mm; 54 pp.

Printed letterpress in multiple inks, some metallic, on Zerkall Gehämmert paper, Chinese folded; some tints produced by hand-wiping, some pages varnished. Text and illustration composed of type and type ornaments. Printing from solids on the hammered peaks of the paper surface and varnishing; the resulting translucence blends the colours printed on each side of the paper. Typography and images composed of 12pt Bembo italic, Gill Sans extrabold, border materials, 6pt rules and raised mounting blocks.

Rabbi Luria of Sfad prayed at dawn in his garden when, he thought, the world was innocent of all sin. This book carries a poem about a 'Father's Garden' that is used as a repeated image of a garden of exits and entrances; a garden of furrows of articulated alphabet from which much may grow; a sacred garden; a garden representing Jerusalem; a garden in which 'Our father's juice flows everywhere'. The poem is revealed on a page within the page: a plot within a plot.

The exits and entrances are eight possible typographic portals to the page. I asked a friend how many gates there were to the material Jerusalem while saying, aside, 'Let there be eight'. 'Lucky man', he said later, 'there are seven and one they don't talk about'. As each cycle of the book is completed, a flowering made of decorative typographic elements occurs at these gates. The flowering is inspired by the design of Islamic books, and each carries successively the symbols of the three religions of the Book. The typographic rules are used as bars to represent a portcullis (that might yet be dismantled) to the gates of the City.

Each line of the poem is randomly shown when typographic lead rules - as furrows - are removed and set aside on the page. The line may then be seen as a happy representation of fruitful growth. Flat solids of colour representing the garden walk playfully about. The type that the poem is set in changes progressively from a brutal sans serif bold to a graceful, italic serif: this as a tilt towards the notion that the loosening of the strictly laid out and savagely managed garden of my/our father might yet produce happier fruit.

My father, despite his rigour, found everything that he planted in the ground spontaneously blossomed, intentionally or no. The lead rules as staves are shown at the end as Aaron's rod all aflowering. Long may it be so.

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