Copper plate books

A few years back I played a bit with copper plate. I bought an old hot water cylinder in a scrap yard, cut it up, polished the plates and started engraving it with a burin. Little pictures as illustrations for my “Bestiary”. Local art centre had a rolling press for hire, so one weekend we spent inking my plates and printing them in their workshop. Results were short of spectacular, by a large margin, technique is messy and unforgiving and after half a dozen plates I chucked it in and moved onto something else. Engraved plates reposed in the bottom of the trunk until a few weeks ago, when I decided to turn them into book covers. After a lot of thinking I figured a way of attaching the copper plate to the text block and following pictures are the result.

 

“Amphisbaena”, a two-headed lizard, about 6 inches tall book. Spine is goat skin.

“Leontopontes”, legendary insects collected, dried and used to poison lions in the middle ages. Spine is a tanned barramundi skin. Height about 6 inches.

For some of the plates I still have the matching first prints.

“Capricorn” is a larger plate, about 8 inches tall. Only one print survived, but refused to be photographed.

“Mermaid” has a complex history. Originally Nat’s drawing for my “Bestiary”, I re-drawn it in Japan as a street arrist, then used a copy to engrave this plate. Paper in the journal is Tintoretto, spine a goat.

Prints are naturally a mirror image of the plate.

The last copper book is a salvage, aboriginal printing plate saved from the copper scrap heap. Spine is tanned barramundi.

I cut the etched plate in half, drilled stitching holes into the edges and sewn the text block between them.

Photos by Nat from smallestforest.net

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  1. Pingback: Copper plate books | – ✄ – - ✄ – the smallest forest – ✄ – - ✄ –

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