|The Art of the Book
Sixth Annual Exhibition of Handmade Books,
Altered Books and Book Related Works
Nawakum Press publishes exceptional, hand crafted, fine press books. We originate and manage the production of unique projects in highly limited editions. The book arts community is blessed with an outstanding array of gifted artists, papermakers, hand bookbinders, and letterpress printers. There are also many skilled purveyors of digital output bringing their creativity and expertise to the field. The Press draws from this remarkable collection of talent to help execute its vision of pairing singular works of modern literature with compelling art.
Nawakum Press began publishing in 1979 in a garage that housed The Feathered Serpent Press in San Anselmo, California. Don Greame Kelley, master letterpress printer, artist and author was proprietor of the Press. Don was, among other pursuits, teaching a letterpress printing and bookmaking class at the time. It was under his tutelage that the first printed book of Nawakum Press, Seven Birds, first came into being. It would be another thirty years before the Press would publish its second book, Undersea, by Rachel L. Carson.
During the intervening years there has been an evolution, some say a revolution, in how words and images are gathered together in books. The Press embraces the advantage of new technologies while maintaining a profound respect for fine presses of the past. In this publishing endeavor the Press also seeks to support those accomplished book artisans currently at work in the field. In their own special way, they are also the stories we wish to tell.
Norfolk Isle and the Chola Widow
by Herman Melville
A cherished assumption among those who love Moby Dick is that this masterwork is all that Melville wrote, or needed to write. But postwar readers, especially since the 1960s, have truly dispensed with such assumptions. They have come to learn that this writer of America's greatest sea-epic could write quite impressively on a small scale.
Norfolk Isle and the Chola Widow first appeared in the May, 1854 issue of Putnam's Magazine, as the eighth of a ten-sketch work, set in the Galapagos Islands and titled The Encantadas, or Enchanted Isles. It is the longest by far of the ten Encantadan sketches, and it is the work's climax and heart. It has been described as an ignored gem for its sparse narration, feminist focus, and complex position on faith.
Published with an Introduction written by leading Melville scholar and professor of English at Hofstra University, John Bryant. He is the author of five published books on Melville and the general editor of The Melville Society, one of the oldest and largest single author societies in America. He is currently at work on a soon to be published new biography of Herman Melville.
Published with original, commissioned wood engravings by Rik Olson, California illustrator and fine artist. He is acknowledged as a living master of wood engraving and studied under such artists as Barry Moser, John DePol, Richard McLean, and Ralph Borge. He has lived, studied, and exhibited in Italy, Germany, and the United States.
Deluxe: 25 Copies. Letterpress printed on Rives Heavyweight with engravings printed from original wood blocks. Artist designed patterned paper over boards, quarter bound in gold stamped black goatskin and housed in a Japanese book cloth clamshell box. Additional 2-color wood engraving of Herman Melville printed and signed by the artist, in a paper chemise. The books are numbered 1-20 and signed by the artist. Five additional lettered copies are reserved for the Press.