Response from Simon Cutts, Coracle Press
It all sounds a bit like musical chairs to me! Why does the manipulation have to be based so much in craft process of printing done by yourself? There are great printers in the world, and you can order your book from them, once you’ve learned how to talk to them. That’s the technical skill.
I can understand the vows of letterpress fetishism – its very seductive physicality and materiality, makes you feel harmonized with the world and all that, but where does it leave publishing?
I think we might get too quasi-mystical with all this, in danger of the wrong kind of seriousness, of taking ourselves that way,(‘unimpeded intuition‘?, or even ‘unimpeded listening’ for that matter: when did you last have that!), too utopian for discussion, and who are we to say that printing books is an act of art-making? It’s a by-product of the publication. If you were trying to introduce books and bookmaking to an art school, instead of the fine-art printmaking course, then you might have to argue for that, but I don’t think that’s what our discussion is about.
That’s also the problem with the whole artist’s books field in a way, it’s more interested in the individual artist’s book than the platform of publishing, and thereby I think unfortunately less interested in the text than in some more fruity ‘creativity’.