Poem by Heidi Andrea Restrepo Rhodes, designed & printed by Matt Collins at Center for Book Arts in honor of the poet’s reading on May 20, 2021. Printed in Chisel & Basterville. Ornaments by Mackellars, Smiths & Jordan c. 1895. Edition of 100.
“When I first read Heidi’s poem Lessons, her direct and elegiac images called for a light touch. Later we spoke, and Heidi gave me some historical background. I sought to get some of the Colombia pais into the design.
My first objective was to make use of the vast foundry type collection at the Center for Book Arts. I was instantly drawn to Baskerville for the poem’s text. Baskerville has both a serenity and directness that appealed to me. After a few days of setting and resetting type, I was discouraged because this particular font was worn and uneven. I came to see that the careworn type was just the thing for Heidi’s poem, which has so much to say about the past.
I began experimenting with the overall design and came up with a very classical, almost rigid frame-within-frame element that contained the title and Heidi’s name. My idea was to let the text stand resolutely on its own, separate from the other material. We both ended up agreeing that the frame structure was indeed limiting, even distracting.
We went back and forth on the use of illustration. I ended up using one small ornament designed by MacKellars, Smiths, & Jordan c. 1895. My initial thoughts as to use the whole panel of the MacKellars series, but again, decided it could be confusing. As we continued, the design became so simple it was in danger fo disappearing like a stranger. I thoughts that by using a really textured, lush paper I could recapture the text. I chose an ecru Crane’s Lettra; it has a dense pillowy feel that takes the ink.
In the end, a deep red typographic flourish was needed to balance out the page’s austerity. I chose Stephenson Blake’s inline Chisel typeface for the title because it ads height without adding weight.” – Matt Collins