I said in the last post that the Merrickville Artist Guild invitation would not be my swan-song for this year, and I meant it. Three days before the fall studio tour and in the midst of production on a massive order, I inked up the press to print a lino cut and a poem that Holly wrote many years ago. It was for a collaborative project with the Ottawa branch of the Canadian Book Binders and Book Artists Guild (or CBBAG, affectionately pronounced ‘cabbage’). Last year, we were given the specs (5.5″ wide x 11″ tall) and the theme (doors and/or windows), so naturally we left work on our contributions until the very last minute. I salute those contributors who had their assignments done weeks, in some cases months, in advance.

As Holly and I worked and planned our respective projects, they just naturally seemed to merge together, like so much we do in our work and life. Here are some shots of the results:


Ah, yes. Another nude. This cut was one I had thought about doing last year. I imagined it on the inside, but circumstances changed all that.


The text is Holly’s prose-poem ‘Pillars of Stone’, written back in 1997. Here it is:

by Holly Dean. Copyright 1997

Vaulted heights reaching ever upward,
arching through space and time,
echoing thoughts and emotions.
Pillars of stone firmly grounded in belief,
ancient monument of human aspiration,
embodying spirit and soul,
architectural feat – larger than life,
inspiring awe-struck wonder.
An ancient presence calls across the ages,
speaking of unlimited possibilities,
how to transcend all boundaries,
teaching what is already known.
The inner essence of being begins to vibrate,
shaken to the core,
grasping the elusive,
sensing millenniums within milli-seconds.
Feeling weightless against the massive stone,
almost giddy with a sense of profound knowing,
dwarfed in stature,
yet experiencing vastness in freedom of spirit.
Chiseled stone worn smooth with time,
greened with moss to soften further still,
elements of nature slowly being reclaimed,
to exist as a cathedral of air and light.


Holly’s contribution is more painterly of course, but we sized the lino so that if I cut out the window, things would line up nicely, and they did….


I’m not exactly sure what inspired this young lady to doff her duds and stand unabashedly in front of a gothic window overlooking the cathedral close. It would certainly give the monks something to think about. I guess this tension between sacred and profane arose with Holly working on her ‘sacred’ piece, and me on… well, you will pardon me for declining from describing this nude as profane, although some may say so.

Initially, I wanted to use one of the following quotes:

“So I wait for you like a lonely house, till you will see me again and live in me. Till then my windows ache.” That fabulous tidbit from a great and, to some, profane poet, Pablo Neruda, from 100 Love Sonnets.

“Faith goes up the stairs that love has built and looks out the windows which hope has opened.” From the sacred Charles H. Spurgeon, late 19th century British preacher and orator.

In the end, I took my lead from Neruda and let my heart choose Holly’s text. When it turned out that the two signatures would fit together, it made perfect sense. Nothing fancy in the setting — I just wanted to do it without typos, since I was working under a tight deadline. So far, no complaints although I guess that is tempted the fates, isn’t it?

Explore posts in the same categories: Letterpress printing, Lino Cuts

One Comment on “CBBAG Swap”

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