Myself Seeing / The Book

By April Honbarger

For the past month, I have been busily working on the letterpressed book that will be part of the Myself Seeing/Seeing Myself, an exhibit that recently opened at Sawtooth. Large 3×3′ images of the 7th-grade girls showcase their personalities, while the book gives the viewer a more in-depth look. As the girls teamed up and took photos of each other, Diana Greene asked them to answer questions about what isn’t seen in their portrait. It’s those words that I have been spending time with in the letterpress studio, printing and binding the book that will accompany the exhibit.

As the letterpress studio intern, I haven’t made many books yet, so this has been a learning experience and practice in patience for myself. After picking out what would be printed from the girls writing, it took a full week to set those words in lead type and printed on the Vandercook-3 in our letterpress studio. After all the pages were printed (12 total including title page and colophon), I spent the next week folding all the pages, putting them under pressure, and cutting them to size for the book. This past week I have spent gluing pages together in a drum-leaf binding, printing the cover, and assembling the book. Overall there will be fifty handmade books available at the exhibit.

I have had a couple of friends ask me why? Why letterpress a book, these middle-schoolers won’t appreciate the craft or the time it took to produce. I, however, don’t see it this way. I think it’s important to let these young ladies know that their words were read and carefully considered. I see them, and I hear them. I hope when someone picks up this book, they will take just as much time to read what 7th-grade girls at Carter G. Woodson have to say.

I am excited about the reception of this exhibition on February 7th.

To see the faces of the girls and their families as they walk into the gallery will undoubtedly be a memorable moment.