The Wayzgoose Mattress

Every year Holly and I exhibit at the Grimsby Wayzgoose, and contribute a signature to the Wayzgoose Anthology. This year, I chose a heavier stock and Holly designed a kind of gatefold arrangement, along with the illustration. All will be revealed below.

I do not want to make a habit of using the press to print my own words and work, but here we go again. ‘The Mattress is on the Floor Again’ is a mock elegy I wrote many years ago after Holly sold her old brass bed. The plan was to build a bed, with storage in drawers beneath, and maybe posts to drape gauze… tres romantic. Instead, the mattress ended up on the floor, and it reminded me of some of the places I lived during my student days and after. It was really just a bit of fun, so setting it in type made me feel a bit self-conscious.

Cover side of the Mattress locked-up.

The nice thing about the format we used this year was that it fit across the breadth of the press, allowing me to print the title side and the colophon in one pass. Getting both centered properly on the gate-fold took some doing. More often now, especially working with finer papers, I’m doing the measuring before hand, requiring only one or two proofs to correct position as opposed to a dozen.

The inside spread.

The inside spread was achieved with one pass for the type and another for the illustration. Holly created the illustration and I cut the lino blocks in three pieces and placed them on a large sheet of MDF. I should have done the three separately, The lower part of the chest of drawers and the right hand pillow did not pick up ink, but it was passable, considering the time constraints. I tried to remember that this was a fun, whimsical piece, and not get too hung up with the nuances.

First pass, title and colophon

Never content to do something simple, and wanting to up the ante on previous submissions to the Wayzgoose, I decided to do the type on the cover in two colours, black and red, and make the registration very tight, to test the integrity of the press. It passed. Click on the above image and you should be able to see the black cover text on the right, as well as the gate-fold design overall.

The fold had to fall precisely between the text.

Careful measurements had to be taken to make sure the fold did not go through a line of type, since this was the fold that would be sewn into the book. Hopefully the binder will be using thin thread.

First proof for registration on title.

The first proof with the red told me my form (type on the press) was too low — easily remedied by a couple pieces of leading. But this proof stopped me in my tracks. I actually liked the positioning better than what I had planned. My idea was to have the smaller black letters sitting (or lying) on the larger red ones, like they were lying on a bed. These are times when one must make hard and fast decisions! In the end, I stuck to the plan, but I still think the spacing is probably better on the proof above.

The adjusted title.

I’m worried that some fine press type will look at this and say ‘Geez, his registration is way off…’ But it’s not! I planned it that way… really.’ No,really. I wanted pauses between the long phrases, and have the ‘again’ hanging out the bottom, a bit comically.

Trim off bottom... repeat 115 times.

Part of the challenge of centering the colophon was this 1/4″ strip of white at the bottom of the spread. It worked out fine, but I decided that I did not want to subject days of work to the wiles of my cutter, so I trimmed each of the 120 copies by hand, then carefully folded each (see folding concerns above), numbered 1 to 115, wrapped them up, made a box and prepped to be handed over to the dreaded postal service. These jobs always seem to end on an act of faith.

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One Comment on “The Wayzgoose Mattress”


  1. […] Graven Images – prospectus – Signature for Wayzgoose – Exhibition promotional broadside – wood engraving self portrait – Tenebrismo regular edition – […]


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