Sunday, September 11, 2011

C.C. Askew of Sekretcity International

C.C. Askew first came to my attention as the illustrator of the be-monocled portrait of Mikhail Bulgakov in "The Master in Cafe Morphine: An Homage".   While poking around on the internet today I discovered his blog and this lovely cover artwork for J.M. Coetzee's "Waiting for the Barbarians":

And another book cover, this for the Ukrainian poetess Iryna Shuvalova:

Askew has also been featured in both Coilhouse and in N-Sphere. Please visit his blog and his website to view more of his artwork - it is quite striking!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Not too early for the Halloween Season, is it?

Earthling Publications is a fine press publisher specializing in "exceptional horror, dark fantasy and suspense".  Naturally this piqued my interest as it's my favorite literary genre, so I dove in to see what was what.  One of the first books I came across was China Mieville's first novel, King Rat, pictured below: illustrated by Richard Kirk, bound in bonded leather, slipcased, and signed by Mieville.  Tho, sadly, no longer available (although I managed to get my mitts on a copy).

King Rat by China Mieville
This certainly bodes well!  However, this particular blog post is not intended to focus on their everyday, run-of-the-mill fabulously custom bound and beautifully illustrated selections.  (We'll get to those another day.) This post is about Halloween.  Because, not only does Earthling Publications specialize in horror on a daily basis, they also have an ultra-special Halloween series of finely bound books.

Below, Mr Dark's Carnival, 2004 - which sold out immediately:

Ticket artwork embedded in cover
French Marbled Endpapers
From the site:  "This book is an ultra-limited hardcover edition of Glen Hirshberg's haunted house novella MR. DARK'S CARNIVAL, featuring an introduction by Glen, original art by Deena Warner featured on the front board of each book, fine leather and Japanese cloth binding, French endsheets (black and orange), and slipcased. Entirely handmade."

Wow.  After this, Earthling Books has published one outstanding book each Halloween. Again from the site: "This series of books celebrates publisher Paul Miller's favorite holiday. Each October, as the air turns colder and leaves fall off the trees, Earthling will release one novel of flat-out horror, usually featuring classic terrors such as monsters and haunted houses rather than psychological suspense or real-life horrors."

Below, cover artwork for The Haunted Forest Tour (Halloween 2007). A novel by James A. Moore and Jeff Strand.  Cover and interior art by Glenn Chadbourne.

The combination of extraordinarily spooky stories, original artwork and custom binding makes for a wonderful set of collectors items.  Currently available for Halloween 2011: By Wizard Oak, a novel by Peter Crowther, with artwork by Glenn Chadbourne.

And pre-orders are being accepted for the next volume in the series, Blood Harvest by James A Moore.

All of the Halloween publications are issued as limited-run, hardbound, illustrated and slipcased or traycased editions.  It's evident how much care is taken with these - Mr. Miller's dedication to the genre shines clearly.

I know I'm getting into the Halloween spirit already.  (What, it's only two months away!  That's not too soon!)  And I am definitely looking forward to diving into one of these for Castle Macabre's Frightful Fall read-a-thon.  Possibly more than one. Oh yes, I love this season!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Lavish Bookbinding by Monique Lallier

While browsing my usual online book haunts, I came across this 1931 Metropolitan Museum publication that had been re-bound "in full black morocco with tan morocco onlays on front and rear cut in the silhouette of a city skyline" by one Monique Lallier.  I hadn't come across her work yet so I thought I'd better do a little further investigation.

Metropolitan Museum

I was thrilled to discover she is a contemporary artist that is still creating and teaching.  From her website:  "Monique Lallier is an internationally recognized book binder & book artist. She began her studies in the 1960s in Montreal at Cotnoir Cappone School of Fashion & L'Art de la Reliure book binding school with Simone B. Roy. She continuued on to Paris, with Roger Arnoult, Centro Del Bel Libro in Ascona, with Edwin Heim and Solothurn, Switzerland with Hugo Peller. Moniques' work may be found in the collections of: McGill University, Montreal, St. Joseph Oratory in Montreal for the Pope Jean- Paul II, Louisiana State University, University of North Carolina, as well as many private collections in USA, Canada, Europe and Japan."

Femme Revee. Box with hand fabricated silver corners and center piece. UNCG, Jackson Library special collection.
The sampling of book bindings available for view at her website is incredible.  I've selected a few to display but there are so many more!  Two images on the first page honor the beautiful Jacqueline Kennedy, both the book pictured below and a box designed to reflect a dress of her fashion:

Jacqueline Kennedy

Below:  "The Knell of Cock Robin. Full leather black morocco French technique binding with an agath inlaid in a relief pattern. The front cover opens to reveal a forest made with Japanese papers. Embroidered endbands. Gold titling on the spine. Full leather pull-up box with red leather onlay. Bound in 1994."

The Knell of Cock Robin
"Antony and Cleopatra by William Shakespeare, designed and produced by Ronald King. Circle Press Publications 1979. Copy A.P. XXXI/XL. Full purple goat skin with hinged flap on the front board with silver leather inside, held closed by a snake clasp. Graphite top edge. Edge to edge doublures and fly leaves. Bound in 1988."
Antony and Cleopatra
Monique Lallier is currently still teaching, both privately and for the American Academy of Bookbinding. You can view more of her creations at her website, Monique Lallier.

*All images and quotations above are property of Monique Lallier's website, all rights reserved..