[St. John’s, Newfoundland: Walking Bird Press, 2008]. Oblong quarto, 22.1 x 30.5 cm. Stab-sewn with synthetic sinew into tan St. Armand handmade paper covers, with a fore-edge flap decorated with a panel of Lokta Pinto paper, overprinted with the image of a flower (likely Labrador tea); Lokta Pinto endpapers; the edges of drafting vellum are trimmed, all others untrimmed. Unpaginated [pp. 64, printed on the recto only, including 5 interleaved bifolia of illustrations on drafting vellum]. A fine copy. The text was set in 16 pt. Bembo cast by Michael Bixler of Skaneateles, NY, and printed on machine-made Japanese Gampi paper. Illustrated in a variety of media, including laser, screen, and relief printing, stencilling, and chîne collé by Robin Smith Peck. The illustrations, which comprise the bulk of the book’s 32 printed pages, were printed on Mingeishi Awagami Kozo Japanese paper and Canson drafting vellum. One of 30 copies, of which this is number 22. Signed in pencil on the colophon page by Kevin Major, Robin Smith Peck, and Tara Bryan. Item #216
“On a southern shore of Labrador lies the inlet of L’Anse Amour, once known to French fishermen as L’Anse aux Morts. Inland, at the edge of a nest of stunted spruce, not far from a rim of sandy beach, is found one of the oldest burial mounds in North America. Seventy-five hundred years ago, the Maritime Archaic, the first people to reach what is now Newfoundland & Labrador, put to rest, in a broad pit deep in the sand, the body of a 12-year child…face down, with a slab of rock across the child’s lower back. Near the head they placed a cache of knives and spear points, and an ivory walrus tusk. Below the neck was set a whistle made from the hollow bone of a bird. All the while, on either side of the body, the funeral fires blazed into the night.
For its age and complexity, this burial mound has few to equal it anywhere in the world. It led artists Robin Smith Peck, Kevin Major, and Tara Bryan to visit the site together in the fall of 2004. The result is a striking artist’s book, a collaboration that captures both the mystery inherent in the site and humanness of the child it enclosed.
Smith Peck’s earth-rich print images overlay each other as well as the lines of Major’s poetic reflection on the mound. Bryan’s choice of papers and book structure hold the elements in balance, allowing the journey through the book to parallel to the excavation of the site itself.”
- Tara Bryan.