[Shanty Bay, Ontario]: Shanty Bay Press, . Large Quarto, 33.7 x 24 cm. Cased in quarter yellow cloth, with cloth fore-edge strips, and Torinoko Gampi paper over boards, decorated with a pochoir vignette of Aphrodite; title printed to the spine; top edges cut, others untrimmed. Housed in a matching cloth covered slipcase. [pp. 40]. A fine copy. The text was set in Bembo type by Janis Butler, and printed on Somerset Satin paper. Illustrated with three full page pochoirs and three two-colour woodcuts by Walter Bachinski; the woodcuts have been printed in black, with ochre grounds recalling the colour of Attic clay. Bachinski was assisted in the stencilling of the illustrations by Judi Lindsey and Sarah Martin. One of 110 copies, of which this is number 65 of 100 for sale. Signed in pencil by Bachinski and Butler on the colophon page. Accompanied by a laid in copy of the prospectus. Item #186
“In a wonderful late Grecian spring of 2002, Janis and I had two intense and joyful weeks on the island of Crete. A good amount of time was spent in Thronos, a small village in the Amari Valley where one is always aware of the presence of Mount Ida. We arrived at the end of Lent as the village was just beginning its Easter celebrations. We were both witness to and participants in, an extravaganza of excess. We were invited to join the revelry: music, dancing, much wine, & prodigious amounts of lamb!
Janis & I worked with our pastels every day, attempting to deal with the high intensity of light and the richness of colour in the landscape. The blinding sun was so strong that we had to seek shade in order to work. With time, I was able to respond to this higher key of colour, which was a wonderful experience for me. The landscape pastels that I did in the Amari Valley form the backdrop for the three colour pochoir illustrations that enhance this ancient poem, The Homeric Hymn to Aphrodite.
Composed before the invention of writing, this poem came out of the oral tradition, and describes the dangerous liaison between the goddess Aphrodite & the mortal Anchises. It was one thing for a god to make love to a mortal woman, but the union of a goddess & a mortal man usually led to unfortunate results. Their lovemaking takes place on the grassy slopes of Mount Ida. Crete is indeed a garden of Eden; this perfection is in both the landscape and the quality of light. Everywhere, in the rocks and the ruins, are remnants of mythic stories. The extraordinarily clear light is reflected in the clarity of Susan C. Shelmerdine’s translation of this poem to Aphrodite. As well, I was attracted to her work because I wanted a translation that spoke to me in the language of our time. This archaic hymn is presented with simplicity, humour and a kind of innocence that I hope comes out in my illustrations.”
Walter Bachinski, from the preface.