Alpha Botanica

Engravings by Sarah Horowitz, binding by Claudia Cohen. 2007
5 x 5 inches with clam shell box, edition of 45. 12 hand colored copies.

The alphabet project began in the fall of 2004 with a few trial capitals and many sketches to ascertain the viability of a Yiddish-English book of poems illustrated with engraved images and capitals. From this grew designs for two sets of botanical alphabets, one Roman and one Hebrew.

Alpha Botanica evolved out these alphabets for Paper Towers and became a collaboration with bookbinder extraordinaire, Claudia Cohen. The remainder of the capitals were engraved by the summer of 2006. The creation of Alpha Botanica was simultaneously sad and rewarding. Chris Stern of Stern & Faye Printers spent innumerable hours printing the first half of this volume with amazing precision until he fell ill and abruptly passed away in November 2006. We will miss him dearly and continue to produce this book in his memory as a tribute to his enormous skill and perseverance. Art Larson of Horton Tank Graphics in Hadley, Massachusetts respectfully resumed printing the project and completed the final half during the summer of 2007. Alpha Botanica is printed on handmade Velke Losiny Moravia paper, some of which is from twenty year-old stock. The text is set in Dante italics, cast by Michael Bixler. Forty-eight botanical characters based on Elizabeth Roman and Harel capitals, title pages and colophon blocks were drawn and engraved by Sarah Horowitz. Claudia Cohen bound and boxed the edition by hand in full leather with assistance of Julia Weese-Young. The edition numbers forty-five of which twelve are hand-colored. Ten artist proofs are withheld for the collaborators.

The Alpha Botanica poster is available online through the National Yiddish Book Center Store or at the Multnomah County Central Library gift shop in Portland.