Incunabula is a term that most often refers to printed books before 1500. However, it’s latin root can also be interpreted as the earliest traces, beginning or development of something. I love the duplicity of this this term. As a printmaker, I find it to be such a nice parallel for the development and infinitely endless possibility of craft and art and print and, well, pretty much everything good and worth pursing. This book, courtesy the University of Glasgow Library, is from the 15th/16th century. I can never get over how much care and detail and love went into producing a book. The embossed pigskin, the metal clasp. As someone who loves the tactile quality of books, I want so badly to pick this up and smell the pages and touch and the oak boards, but then I would stop because it’s from the 15th century and that would cause it mortal pain.
I’m taking a class at the San Francisco Center for the Book (one of the cooler studios I’ve seen in the bay area), and after only the first class I am in HEAVEN. We’re learning to hand set lead and wooden type and print it on a 60-year-old Vandercook press. Yeah, it’s pretty cool.
Seriously, if you’re into books, and especially hand-printed, hand-bound, drool-worthy beautiful precious hand made objects, look at their course listings. Or their events, or exhibitions. Anything really.
This is a good opportunity to tackle my fear of typography - or rather, the fear that I’m no good at it. There’s always room to grow and learn and improve.