At Bay Press
(Mattew Joudry, Matthew McMillan, Lisa Medis, Chris Macalino)
Winnipeg, Ontario, Canada
paper and glass
5.5 x 0.5 x 8.5″
Materials: glass, handmade Lokta with coloured hemp inclusions, archival cream Mayfair, archival white Mayfair, acid-free recycled 20 lb concrete Rolland, archival foam core, 4-ply wax Irish linen thread, Hydrus watercolour pigments, black Brad.
Print run: 25
Published: December, 2019
“Why a book made of glass?” This was a question I was asked countless times, from initial concept development to book launch event. As a publisher, writer, graphic designer and a book artist, I have had my share of concern regarding the longevity of books and writing, particularly in printed form. In this instance, glass felt like the epitome of fragility.
I agonized over this concept. I readily shared my anxieties with my partners on this project including glass artist Matthew McMillan, screen printer Lisa Mendis, and street poet Chris Macalino.
To start, I had to ensure that the glass concept and design was physically possible to create. Weighing 1.13 lbs per glass plate, I needed to ensure that each of these 25 books would not be torn apart by the terrific weight of the book once assembled. The solution: creating a foam core cushion to act as a reinforcing back cover to the book, elegantly hidden by a series of unique folds within clean, cream Mayfair.
While the design of each glass plate needed to be perfectly replicated 25 times over, a discerning eye would be able to call out the uniqueness of each plate due to the colour application, variable etching of typeface into the glass, unknown air particles and, lest we forget, the unpredictable firing process in the kiln.
Matthew McMillan brought these designs to life and produced plates beyond my already unreasonable expectations. Lisa Mendis at Martha Street Studio produced the simply perfect “double window” screen prints for the interior window tile and cover page. Famed local open mic and street poet Chris Macalino freely formed a narrative that captured the city of Winnipeg through his eyes, weaving a yarn of an eccentric populace and spirit that could only belong to our unique prairie town.
Graffiti was a most fitting connection between the voice of the poet and the language of the street. This somewhat hardened, aggressive motif was juxtaposed with the need to handle the glass with such delicate care. The creation of this book allows the reader to engage in an experience that spans multiple artistic disciplines and hopefully shares a truth about the vulnerability and tenderness of the printed, written word.
And in case you’re wondering, the answer is no, I didn’t break any of them.