Behind the Covers: “The Holding Hours”

Join us for a reading at Elliott Bay Book
Company with Christianne Balk and Judith Skillman (House of Burnt Offerings):

Sunday, April 24, 3:00 p.m. //
Elliott Bay Book Company, 1521 Tenth Avenue, Seattle, WA, 98122

For this 20th anniversary of National Poetry Month, we look at the latest title in the Pacific Northwest Poetry Series, The Holding Hours by Christianne Balk. In this exquisite and moving collection, Balk explores the subtle and surprising transformations that come from caring for her young, neurologically injured daughter within the landscape of the Pacific Northwest. Series editor Linda Bierds writes, “Page by page, we’re pulled into ecosystems of the heart more deeply than the clear surface of these poems leads us to expect. And that’s the triumph of this book, for me: how clarity and restraint and the poet/biologist’s precise vision can hold so much.” In this guest post, UW Press senior designer Thomas Eykemans walks us through the creative process in designing the book’s cover.

HoldingHours-FrontThis book of poetry is a celebration of life that weaves challenging topics such as parenthood and disability with descriptions of the organic richness of the Pacific Northwest environment. I connected these disparate themes by working with Seattle artist Christine Smith to form the letters out of sword ferns while keeping the background clinically empty. As an added bonus, the endpapers burst with foliage before settling into the rhythm of the poetry.

The title is set sideways to allow it to have the greatest visual impact. The text is set in Andada, an organic slab-serif typeface designed by Carolina Giovagnoli for Huerta Tipográfica.

BehindCovers-HoldingHours-01a

BehindCovers-HoldingHours-01b

Preliminary test shots of fern letters.

BehindCovers-HoldingHours-02

Contact sheet of individual fern letters.

HoldingHours-Front

The front cover.

HoldingHours-Closeup

The title appears to float thanks to a matte lamination with a spot gloss on the letters.

HoldingHours-Endsheets

More ferns adorn the endsheets. Their radial growth echoes the hands of a clock.

HoldingHours-Titlepage

The title page.

The Holding Hours recently won design awards for both its jacket and text design in the 2016 AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s