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Book Artist of the Month: Ellen Knudson

July 8, 2013 by Erin Fletcher


In 2004, Ellen Knudson printed and bound How to Love Someone Forever in an edition of 50 books and 50 broadsides. This collection of poems are written by Kevin Knudson (Ellen’s husband) and herself for one another and for their son. As Ellen explains it: We are always working on how to love each other, Kevin, Gus, and I, so this is a hint of the grand gooey mess that is us.

howtolove1-ellenknudson howtolove4-ellenknudson

Illustrations throughout the book are done by Ellen to represent weeds as a reflection of the tangle of relationships, lovely and difficult as they are. The illustrations are line drawings and letterpress printed from photopolymer plates. The book is about the every day of relationships and finding beauty in them when they can be taken for granted and so easily go unnoticed, much like weeds.

The poems were handset and printed in Gould Old Style 394 and Caslon metal type. Pages were letterpress printed on dampened Hahnemuhle Bugra paper in mint and marble gray. The book is double-pamphlet sewn and bound as a built-in groove case binding. The paste paper covers are handmade on mint Bugra. All printing was done by Ellen at her studio, Crooked Letter Press, in Starkville, Mississippi on the (as Ellen puts it) badass Vandercook Universal 1 proofing press. 


The poem Valentine Sestina written by Kevin is printed on the only fold-out found in the book and  is also available as a separate broadside. The poem is a sestina, which is a 39-line poem consisting of six stanzas of six lines each followed by a three lined stanza.

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  • My name is Erin Fletcher, owner and bookbinder of Herringbone Bindery in Boston. Flash of the Hand is a space where I share my process and inspirations.
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