Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child. Woodcut and Letterpress Artist Book by Michael Gill. plates approximately 5.5″ X 6″, Overall approximately 7″ X 7.5″. $200.
“Within each vignette, there is a strong sentiment about being in a space that is all yours. In this case, it is a city at night while riding a bike and wheeling through town without a care in the world. There is something relatable about the sensibility of a child, which might make some adult viewers yearn for one’s own childhood. In a sense, perhaps the “modern child” is an adult who wishes so badly for the simple cares of childhood that he becomes, if only for a moment, a child again.” –Gretchen Ferber, Art Hopper
Common Household Rhymes for the Modern Child is a book of color woodcut pictures and children’s rhymes. It’s a letterpress project that spanned nearly 3 years,
starting with the printing of this first block, a goldfish I made for a letterpress printing class with Wendy Partridge at Zygote Press early in 2009.
The finished book made its public debut in a solo show at William Busta Gallery in Cleveland, December 2, 2011 through January 28, 2012.
The pictures were made using 74 wood blocks, eight linoleum blocks, and one block cobbled together out of wood and copper wire.
The text was set in movable type, including a title page of wood type we understand to be more than 100 years old.
All those blocks and type were printed on the Vandercook 4t proofing press at Zygote Press, in Cleveland. By my calculation, to print an edition of 100, I cranked that press more than 12,000 times.
Common Household Rhymes is hand stitched in a single signature with linen thread, and hardbound in book cloth with archival boards.
All words, pictures, wood blocks, type setting, printing, and binding were done entirely by the author.
I’m grateful to have had a whole bunch of media coverage. Thomas Mulready let me be my own pitch man on Cool Cleveland.
It was a pleasure to tell Dee Perry about it for this live segment on Around Noon, the northeast ohio arts talk show on the local NPR affiliate WCPN, 90.3 FM.
And Dennis Knowles was especially generous with his time as he put together a segment for Applause, the local PBS affiliate WVIZ’s ‘s weeklyTV arts magazine.
Community news outlets were also generous with their time. Writer Frances Killea visited me at Zygote Press and watched me set some type, talked for a long time, and wrote this for the Lakewood Observer. And Cory Shaffer stopped in at Busta’s while I was hanging the show and wrote this for Lakewood Patch.
This isn’t autobiographical, but it is entirely of my life–the cats, the bikes, the tools, the late night bonfires, and the whole deal. One thing I got out of this project is a re-enforcement of my understanding that I am a very lucky guy.