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Salute the Pig: Blog to Book, Prints and a few Ceramics perhaps?


Pigs in the Pub:

In 2013 Chris and I were on holiday in Glasgow (excellent city) in a pub, chewing over ideas about life and things that are important to us. Out of that conversation came the idea for Chris' Salute the Pig blog as a celebration of all things piggy, the need to protect our vanishing species and to treat animals we like to eat with, at least, huge amounts of kindness and respect. He did some writing I did some drawing and we visited good farmers and pig friendly people.

Sleeping pigs
The Duroc

The Book 

Then another idea took shape, to make a small book about the British Pigs to be printed with our good friend Thomas Gravemaker in Amsterdam at his wonderful letterpress workshop

And so in 2018 with 12 lino blocks, layouts, a dummy book and completed texts we travelled to Amsterdam in a freezing February.  A week later we left with fabulous letterpress printed text pages and beautifully printed plates. Enough for just 25 lovely books.

Lino block and Saddlebacks
Welsh pig text on the Vandercook

Chris (pretending to be the printer) with the Berkshire

Then we had a bit of a break! 

The break was in order to think about how we would then assemble the book.
I had to learn how to bind them, Chris wanted to make a small accompanying recipe book and I had to design covers and endpapers. Time just ticks by doesn't it!

Trotty endpapers
The covers

A year later we are almost there.

On September 8th 2019 we will be showing ten copies of "Salute the Pig" the book at the Autumn Country Fair at Easton Walled Gardens with its accompanying recipe book, prints and a few ceramics for fun.

The amount of work involved, the cost and the love and the enthusiasm has been enormous, so the books will not come cheap. There will only be 25 of them so a limited edition of "The Pig Box" will be £325.00.
We want to support the Rare Breeds Survival Trust so 10% of proceeds will go to them. To help them look after our pigs,cattle, sheep,goats and horses and keep welfare standards as high as possible.

So what's in the Pig Box? :-

  • The gorgeous letterpress printed book: "Salute the Pig :10 of the best"
  • The recipe notebook : "Recipe Notes"
  • A lovely randomly chosen ceramics pig (unless you have a special request)
  • A set of postcards

****Please note : Everything is hand made/hand printed so there are wobbly bits, dings, inconsistencies, and its all full of character : mine, Chris', the pigs, lino, inks and  clay.
All very earthy and authentic.  If you want something machine made and bland this is not for you! 

The Duroc
The Oxford Sandy and Black

The Large Black
The Tamwoth (two)

The Lop
The Welsh

The Mangalitza
The Saddleback

The Gloucester Old Spot
The Berkshire


Eight of these lovelies are available as postcards:  £7.00 for the set

How it was made

Stage one: The Dummy Book

When starting a book decide on the size... in this case A5. How many pages? If it is going to be a codex book it will have multiples of 4. 4 Sides =2 pages= 1 folded sheet.
In this case We decided on 24 pages. That's 11 spreads. One for each pig and one for title and copyright etc.
Then make a dummy. The exact size and number of pages.  The dummy is so important and it has to have everything in the right order and be exactly as the book will be. ie the pagination must be sorted out at this stage.
The dummy also helps you sort out how to bind the book and if the book needs to be in more than one section. In this case because the paper was going to be thick and the plates tipped in I decided on 
3 section. 3 thin folds are better than one fat fold. 

Stage two: Text, layout and Illustrations

We know it would be text on one side and plates on the other so it was simple to design. Then Chris wrote the text. Its a difficult job to only have a few words to play with. 
I then started on the roughs for the plates. How to portray each pig? How to get an idea of their character, shape,size and history. Prick ears or lop ears. Long nose or snub nose? Tall and slender or large and fat. They are all different.
A bunch of roughs on tracing paper
The images had to cut on type high lino blocks as they would be printed on a letterpress proofing press. I found this rather tricky as your hand does not rest on the table...Hmmm.

That done, its proofing and making adjustments.



I made a digital version of the text to be close to the size of the letterpress type and used that for a paste up.. Hmm not bad! With the help of Thomas in Amsterdam we decided on the gorgeous Futura for the titles and elegant Palatino for the body type.

Rough Pasteups

 Printing the Book

Over to Amsterdam in a freezing February. Thomas and I have just a week to do this. Just a week to print 25 copies of the text and the plates. Phew. That is tight. Luckily for me Thomas had already started setting the type when I arrived. I can set type but am painfully slow. We would have needed another week! 

So it was setting, proofing, revising, reproofing, adjusting the press and then ready to go. 

Each piece of paper has to be hand fed on this proofing press. You really do have to concentrate! The text pages had to be printed twice. Once for each side.  We constantly checked the pagination against the dummy, just to make sure!
Linos were proofed again and minor adjustments made.

The Paper

The paper is really crucial for letterpress. It is best if it has a little bit of give but is smooth. The images needed a smooth paper or the large black areas will be patchy. So both are printed on gorgous Zerkall papers. The text on 220 gsm and the images on 120 gsm. Its very expensive but really worth it! 

I came home laden with over 150 beautifully wrapped text sheets and over 250 images. 

All I had to do now was design and print the covers, design and print the endpapers, sew the book sections and bind them. Ha Easy!... But I did need a break. 
Details to follow....

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