June 2017 – July 2018
I am delighted to announce the 3rd custom-bound book in the series, and our most ambitious project to date! IT is one of Stephen King’s most popular novels, and it was the obvious choice for the next book. With the movie remake being released this year, it made sense that now is the time to give IT some special treatment!
As you read the details below, you will see how all the elements came together to produce the most unique edition we have created so far.
For those unfamiliar with these books, we work with a bookbinder and other artisans, to rebind an original 1st edition page block, and we incorporate elements of the story into the design of the binding. It is our way of honoring the work of Stephen King, and creating an edition that collectors, and fans can cherish.
THE TEASER VIDEO
Video © Jason Jahnke
Part of the pleasure of working on these books is that I get to focus the spotlight on several artists, each with their own area of expertise, and who love to create beautiful things with their hands. I like finding ways to involve them in these projects, and to bring attention to their unique skills and abilities. With IT, I am delighted to be collaborating with five amazingly talented people, working in some very interesting fields. The scope of this project is explored through each of the collaborators involved.
Bob Giusti, Artist
IT Cover Art
To kick things off, Bob is no stranger to the King world. As you know by now, we like to involve the original cover artist in these custom-bound books. Bob was good enough to agree to sign the books on a special signature page, as well as on a 6″ x 9″ giclée print of the original cover art, which we produced exclusively for this edition. Not only that, we had an extra surprise when we discovered his original sketch concept for the cover, and he has allowed us to reproduce it for this edition, which is included as a free bonus!
Artwork © 1987- 2017 Bob Giusti.
Alisa Toninato, Cast Iron Artist
Cold Rolled Steel Box with Cast Iron Sewer Grate Cover
Where do I begin with Alisa. She is an amazingly talented artist, working in a field that I had not even realized was a ‘thing’. When the idea first stuck me to make a real cast iron sewer grate as the cover for the case in which the book is housed, I was lucky enough to have found Alisa. She is a Cast Iron artist, meaning she makes art with iron! When I discovered her studio, FeLion Studios, and her craft, I knew immediately that she was perfect for the job. She is a dynamic individual, an absolute pleasure to work with and a force of nature! FeLion Studios is inspired and run by artists Alisa and her partner Andrew McManigal. Through her cast iron artworks and vibrant studio community, Toninato exposes the true grit & culture of DIY iron artists to her city, the country & the globe.
The book enclosure and lid design are based on a literal depiction of the original cover illustration for “IT”, with the sewer grate covering the storm drain. The sewer grate becomes the lid to the box, which holds the book.
Each sewer grate is made by using traditional foundry processes to achieve a miniature version of the grate depicted on the original cover artwork. The first step is to design and generate a pattern, which is a positive duplicate of the cast iron version. The patterns are then used to build a two-part sand mold around, and each one is poured with 2600 degree molten iron. This replicates the look and feel of a traditional sewer grate. It is basically a miniature sewer grate.
Once the grates are cast, Alisa and the team will cut, grind, clean and patina each one so that they match the aesthetic of the cover illustration, as well as become suitable for usage as a clean lid to the metal box in which the custom-bound book is housed.
The grates, being iron, hold magnetic properties, and thus rare earth (neodymium) magnets are utilized on the inside wood and fabric panels, to assist in holding the grate securely to the box. This allows the box to be stored safely in an upright position, without fear of the cast iron grate falling out.
The box body itself is also made of metal. 16 gauge Cold Rolled Steel is used to fabricate a dimension that fits the custom binding of the book, and is robust enough to match the cast iron grate lid. Each box is assembled individually by cutting out all the sides and bottom and TIG welding them together.
At this point, the team will grind, buff and polish the edges, and sides before turning them over to the bake-out ovens to achieve the black-blue patina color. After the metal reaches a temperature of around 550 degrees, the boxes are cooled and the color is set with an oil based product before sealing it with a Spar Urethane for long-term durability.
Finally, the interior of the box is lined with a plush red suede fabric, and wooden buffer panels are cut to size and covered with the suede material to form the book bed in which the book sits. The inner walls also create a ledge along all four sides into which the cast iron grate will sit. During this process, the ribbon is installed to facilitate removal of the book from the book bed.
A clear sheet of acid free transparent film is placed on top of the book, so that the underside of the grate does not accidentally scratch the leather.
Box Image Gallery
Erin Fletcher, Bookbinder
The bookbinder charged with the task of rebinding these 1000+ page blocks is Erin Fletcher of Heringbone Bindery in Boston, MA. Erin was introduced to the craft of bookbinding under the instruction of Susannah Kite Strang during her studies at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She experimented with a variety of simple book structures, pushing the concept of the book as an art form.
Erin has received training in both historical and contemporary bookbinding techniques from early codex structures to case bindings to fine leatherwork from Jeff Altepeter. Erin has settled into Boston with her husband, Jason and two cats. She works in a shared bindery space with Colin Urbina at Third Year Studio, located in the Fort Point neighborhood of South Boston.
The BindingThe custom-bound IT edition is bound as a semi-split board sewn over frayable tapes to prevent sagging of the heavy page block. The boards are covered in black buffalo skin with goatskin onlays in red, white and yellow, for the balloons on the cover, and the title on the spine. The balloon strings are hand-embroidered in cotton floss. The author name is blind-stamped on the spine. Endbands are leather wrapped in red goatskin. Hand marbled endpapers are designed and crafted by Sevim Surucu.
I have to say that when I received the completed prototype, I was instantly struck by the quality of this binding. It is absolutely beautiful. One of the best I have seen. You have to hold this book in your hands to really appreciate it. A very nice touch is the leather wrapped endbands, which you don’t see too often as these are usually fabric. Another unique part of this binding are the hand embroidered elements, especially the stitching around each of the balloons. Definitely one of the best I’ve seen, and a perfect tribute to this fan favorite novel.
The Binding Image Gallery
Sevim Surucu, Ebru Artist
Hand Marbled Papers
Have you ever heard of Ebru art? Well, you have now. Sevim is an Ebru (Turkish Paper Marbling) artist living in Chicago, IL and she makes art, using water as her canvas! Ebru is the art of creating colorful patterns and images by sprinkling and manipulating paints on water, then transforming them to paper. We hired Sevim to create a completely custom marbled paper for this edition. Each design, while having the same image, is unique because each one is painted and marbled by hand.
Sevim draws her designs using soil based natural earth pigments. Soil and water are elements of our body and world. Ebru presents us with the mystery of the relation between us and the world we are living in. There is a rhythm in Ebru, like an inner rhythm, and Sevim tries to find the resonance between them.
Sevim says that she always has high expectations when performing Ebru, because the starting point leads her in a direction she never imagined when starting out. There are endless possibilities of design and color harmonies, but at the end, you have only one chance to transfer your design to paper. Therefore, each Ebru is a unique mono-print.
Sevim is acutely aware of the importance of the tradition. Respecting and following a master’s ways and rules are an important part of the Ebru. She works to protect the tradition of this ancient art by using traditional materials, figures, and forms to remember and feel the appeal of those times. The authenticity of the materials creates a mystique that takes us into the 17th century. Beside the traditional forms, she is in constant search to find her own contemporary designs from the infinite world of blooming colors on water.
Hand Marbled Papers Image Gallery
June Sakamoto, Origami Artist
Paper Boat Replica
I am so pleased to have an origami artist as part of the team working on this project! June is a renowned origami artist who makes some amazing things with paper. She has created a paper boat replica of the one in Bob’s iconic illustration that matches the original painting very closely. Existing paper boat patterns did not produce the type of structure and shape we were looking for, so June created a custom origami pattern for this boat that has never been made before.
Not only that, the boat is made out of a reproduction of the actual front page of The Bangor Daily News from 1957. We contacted the Maine State Library to see if they had copies in their archives, and wouldn’t you know it, they sure did! They created a digital file from the microfilm for us, and we went about reproducing that to make the paper that June used to fold these very special paper boats. One of June’s custom made boats is included as a free bonus with every book!
1st Edition Copies
Last, but not least, here is a look at the 1st edition copies we have already acquired for this project. One of the challenges is to find copies that have a decent page block. The jacket, boards and endpapers don’t matter since those will be replaced. What is important is that they are true 1st editions, and that the pages are as clean as possible. In almost every case, the page edges will be dirty, but that also doesn’t matter because the edges are trimmed which removes any dirt or marks.
I would like to take a moment and thank these individuals who have worked with me behind the scenes.
Kris Webster: Thank you Kris for your assistance in several areas during the early stages of this project, and for your support and enthusiasm throughout. It is very much appreciated. You really went above and beyond. I know how important IT is to you, and you have been incredibly supportive right from the very beginning. Even from before the beginning! So I sincerely thank you.
Brian Hester: Brian, thank you for taking the burden of buying all these books off my shoulders. You are a true gentleman, a savvy buyer and have been a tremendous help to me. And heck, we only had one BCE and one 5th printing in the lot. Not bad going!
Jerome Smith: Thanks man, you blasted me with a ton of ideas in the early days, and really got the juices flowing. Gracias.
Rebecca Dornsife: Thank you for your wise counsel and strategizing. And of course, thank you for creating the designs for the paper boat that June used to make said boat!
Jason Jahnke: Jason, I cannot thank you enough for the videography on this project. The work you have done has far exceeded my expectations. I had a vision for these videos, and you nailed it. As the younger generation might say, these videos are savage! Thank you!
And finally, I want to thank the amazingly talented team of collaborators who are working on this project. Bob Giusti, Alisa Toninato, Erin Fletcher, Sevim Surucu and June Sakamoto. Thank you for your enthusiasm and contributions to this edition. I also want to thank Norman Clayton who is printing the colophon page, which will be letterpress printed. We have a fun design planned for this!
I probably forgot someone. If I did, please call me and yell at me.
This custom-bound edition of IT by Stephen King uses the page block from an original Viking Trade First Edition Hardback.
The book is bound by Erin Fletcher at her studio in Boston, Massachusetts, as a semi-split board sewn over frayable tapes to prevent sagging of the heavy page block. The boards are covered in black buffalo skin with goatskin onlays in red, white and yellow for the balloons on the cover, and the title on the spine. The balloon strings are hand-embroidered in cotton floss. The author name is blind-stamped on the spine. Endbands are leather wrapped in red goatskin. The marbled endpapers are a custom design and handmade by Sevim Surucu at her studio in Chicago, Illinois.
The book is signed on the colophon page by Bob Giusti, and includes a giclée print of the original cover art, also signed by Bob Giusti, as well as a reproduction of Bob’s original sketch concept. The book is housed in a custom Cold Rolled Steel case, which is handcrafted by Alisa Toninato at her studio in Madison, Wisconsin. The box cover is a scaled down sewer grate, made from cast iron, poured into a custom sand mold, which rests on fabric panels inside the box, revealing the leather book below. The book is seated in a red suede-lined book bed. A clear sheet of acid free transparent film is placed on top of the book, to protect the leather.