Tuesday, November 3, 2015

"Making Books, Chilli and Curry"

An illustrated talk on Thursday 5 November, by David Esslemont to The Bewick Society: Newcastle City Library, Charles Avison Building, 33 New Bridge St W, Newcastle upon Tyne, England, at 6.30 p.m.



"There is much here in the Northeast that is relevant to what I want to talk about tonight. I have an interest in books. You have an interest in books. Actually, I find many people have an interest in books of some sort.
  I also have an interest in food – and I’ve found that everybody has an interest in food. I think chefs and book designers have a lot in common. We are designing, creating, directing – orchestrating – a wide range of different elements, and overseeing their production, often as multiples. Aren’t we both obsessed with detail, with the quality of the materials or ingredients, the production, the presentation . . .? Aren’t we looking for that perfect balance?
  Tonight I am going to talk about creativity, inspiration, and how our heritage, and our traditions, hindsight and insight help shape the work we create . . ."

To book a FREE ticket: Telephone 0191 277 4100 or book online

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Printing, Type and Typographical Design

Oxford Bibliographical Society, Taylor Institute
Monday, 2 November at 5.15 p.m.
An illustrated talk 'To my bibliographer: notes, observations & anecdotes about books I have printed (or intend to), pertaining to Bewick, Carlyle, Chili, Curry, Keats, Levista, War and Wordsworth.'


" . . . Minutiae are the bread and butter of both bookmaker and bibliographer. A myriad seemingly trivial and mundane details all need careful consideration. I’m interested those details, those decisions that ultimately coalesce into books, books that function, books that are not only a joy to read, but also a delight to all the senses and in Carlyle’s words “excite the reader to self activity”. I’m interested in publishing too, because a book without a reader is worthless, isn’t it? And, like Philip Gaskell I believe the techniques of printing are key to understanding how a text comes into existence.
  My bibliographer is compiling a descriptive catalogue, so let’s see if I can help with a few crumbs from the table, so to speak, by considering some of the books I’ve printed since first becoming acquainted with the caduceus of Hermes.
  To flesh out these mundane details I’m including some anecdotal evidence, which, I hope the bibliographer will find useful and you will find entertaining. . . . "

Taxi Driver Curry at the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair

On Saturday 31 October and Sunday 1 November 2015, at Oxford Brookes University, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane, Oxford, England

Solmentes at the 2015 Oxford Book Fair 
Taxi Driver Curry is now published and available in regular and deluxe bindings (see above, displayed together with New York Revisited). The book is described in a previous post

The Oxford Fine Press Book Fair is organized by The Fine Press Book Association in collaboration with the Provincial Booksellers Association 
Saturday, 31 October 11am to 6pm, and Sunday, 1 November 10am to 5pm.

Featuring  98 exhibitors including private presses from the UK, the Americas, Russia, Asia, and continental Europe, as well as dealers in fine press books, suppliers of fine printing materials, and related societies:.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

InsideOut show in New York includes Esslemont binding

Bonhams, 580 Madison Ave., New York, NY, from Friday 10–19 April, 2015



My binding of New York Revisited by Kenneth Auchincloss is part of this touring exhibition organized by Designer Bookbinders UK. "InsideOUT celebrates the art and craft of contemporary bookbinding and private press printing. This ambitious project is a collaboration between thirty-four binders based in the United Kingdom and twenty-five based in North America."



 New York Revisited was designed, illustrated with colour wood engravings and printed by Gaylord Schanilec, and published in 2002 by The Grolier Club, New York. 7 x 12 inches. 44 pages. Edition of 250 copies (this copy ex-edition), 9 full-page color wood engravings and 2 vignettes by Gaylord Schanilec. Type composed in Emerson Monotype. Printed on Zerkall mould-made paper.



The binding uses white alum-tawed goatskin, inkjet, acrylic ink, blind and gold tooling, and is inset with diamonds and other gemstones. The main image on the cover is a detail of a view looking down Fifth Avenue – the view extends inside the front and back covers where it faces views of Lexington Avenue.



In these images we see a contrast between the rich and poor, exemplified by the stocking feet jutting out from a shop doorway, and the bustle of pedestrians. These are paste-grained and form the leather-jointed endpapers.



The polished leather on the front cover, embedded with real gemstones, again highlights this contrast.



The book is presented in a drop back box together with an extra set of Schanilec's engravings and prints from the original blocks engraved by Rudolph Ruzicka for the book New York, published by the Grolier Club in 1915.

This binding is for sale visit solmentes.com

Designer Bookbinders
Bonham's


Taxi Driver Curry previews in New York City

At the Manhattan Fine Press Book Fair, Saturday 11 April

Taxi Driver Curry
Pre-publication special offer: $460 $360 



Indian curries were voted Britain’s favourite dish for many years. No surprise then that curry is the subject of this new book from Solmentes Press.

There are many different ways to cook curry – this transcript of a conversation with a taxi driver describes just one approach and was recorded at 4.30 a.m. while traveling between terminals at London’s Heathrow airport.

The illustrations are woodcuts based on kolam, Indian designs that are created outside homes to bring prosperity and ward off evil spirits.

"Roaming London in the early 1970s, English art student David Esslemont tastes his first Indian curry – he likes it.
Today a professional artist, book designer and printer, Esslemont lives in rural Iowa, a Midwestern American state so vast that England would fit comfortably within it’s borders. Unfortunately Iowa has just twenty-four Indian restaurants – a mere shadow of England’s thousands. Where, Esslemont wondered, can I go to get a decent curry?

Always a lover of good food, Esslemont began experimenting with his own recipes. His love of cooking became a passion – in 2013 he turned the recipe for his prize-winning chili recipe into an award-winning limited edition book.

Now Esslemont focuses his attention on curry as he explores the culture and cuisine of South Asia, experimenting with herbs and spices to transform not only his evening meal, but also lunch and breakfast. In his quest to understand the gastronomy of South Asia he scours cookbooks and food media and . . . talks to taxi drivers.

There are many different ways to cook curry – this transcript of a conversation with a taxi driver describes just one approach and was recorded at 4.30 a.m. while travelling between terminals at London’s Heathrow airport.

Kolam 06 – 7-colour woodcut

The woodcuts are based on Indian Kolam, designs traditionally created outside homes to bring prosperity and ward off evil spirits. Order now to take advantage of a special pre-publication subscription price at solmentes.com.

Title page

Fifty copies hand printed from the original wood- blocks, the text from polymer plates, bound as follows: forty-five copies in cloth-covered boards, presented in a drop-back box – $460 ($360 pre publication) and five copies in a deluxe binding. 175 x 254 mm ( 7 x 10 ins) landscape, 24pp, 10 woodcuts. To be published in May 2015 by Solmentes Press." (Edited by Robert Wolf)

The Fine Press Book Association in collaboration with the Manhattan Vintage Book & Ephemera Show on Saturday, April 11, 2015, from 8 am to 4 pm at St. Vincent Ferrer parochial school on the corner of Lexington Avenue and 65th Street. Featuring thirty presses from across the US, UK, Canada and Russia.

This is an addition to the Vintage Book Fair, known colloquially as the "Shadow Fair." It is a less-formal, less-expensive fair held during the same weekend as the New York Antiquarian Book Fair at the Park Avenue Armory. This year, for the first time, it will be located right around the corner from the main fair at the Park Avenue Armory. 

Friday, January 30, 2015

Taxi Driver Curry Preview in California

At the Codex International Book Fair in Richmond February 8–11

Pre-publication special offer: $360 



Indian curries were voted Britain’s favourite dish for many years. No surprise then that curry is the subject of my new book:

Video transcript: "Taxi driver curry. – Roaming London in the early 1970s, English art student David Esslemont tastes his first Indian curry – he likes it.

Today a professional artist, book designer and printer, Esslemont lives in rural Iowa, a Midwestern American state so vast that England would fit comfortably within it’s borders. Unfortunately Iowa has just twenty-four Indian restaurants – a mere shadow of England’s thousands. Where, Esslemont wondered, can I go to get a decent curry?

Always a lover of good food, Esslemont began experimenting with his own recipes. His love of cooking became a passion – in 2013 he turned the recipe for his prize-winning chili recipe into an award-winning limited edition book.

Now Esslemont focuses his attention on curry as he explores the culture and cuisine of South Asia, experimenting with herbs and spices to transform not only his evening meal, but also lunch and breakfast. In his quest to understand the gastronomy of South Asia he scours cookbooks and food media and . . . talks to taxi drivers.

There are many different ways to cook curry – this transcript of a conversation with a taxi driver describes just one approach and was recorded at 4.30 a.m. while travelling between terminals at London’s Heathrow airport.

Kolam 06 – 7-colour woodcut

The woodcuts are based on Indian Kolam, designs traditionally created outside homes to bring prosperity and ward off evil spirits. Order now to take advantage of a special pre-publication subscription price at solmentes.com.

Title page

Fifty copies hand printed from the original wood- blocks, the text from polymer plates, bound as follows: forty-five copies in cloth-covered boards, presented in a drop-back box – $460 ($360 pre publication) and five copies in a deluxe binding. 175 x 254 mm ( 7 x 10 ins) landscape, 24pp, 10 woodcuts. To be published in March 2015 by Solmentes Press." (Edited by Robert Wolf)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Pizza (work in progress)

From weeds to wood-fired pizza


A montage of six woodcuts (72 x 18 inches)

This ambitious project begins with weeds and fire as the ground is cleared to plant wheat – clay is mixed with sand to make adobe bricks, and concludes with the magic of cooking in a wood-fired oven, with ferocious heat, rolling flames, and the tantalizing aromas of home-grown pizza.

A from-scratch recipe in woodcuts for making your own pizza.

Four woodcuts





The sand dome "form" for the adobe clay bricks