Newark, Vermont: Janus Press, 2009. One of 110 copies issued in the wooden slipcase, which was made from Baltic birch and poplar woods by Mario Messina in Lyndonville, Vermont. Four Months/Four Seasons is the first item in a series on the seasons; other sets in the series include Trio, which compiles poetry collections by Leland Kinsey, Judy Haswell, and Karen Hesse. Each volume contains a large fold-out (67 ” by 7 ”) reduction linocut illustration by Ruth Fine, each printed in five ink colors from seven linoleum blocks. And with a colophon booklet, also 4 inches by 7 inches, that includes a printed leaf demonstrating an early state of the reduction linocut process. Papers used are Barcham Green DeWint and and specially made papers by Katie MacGregor of Whiting, Maine. A fine set, housed together in the original wooden slipcase. Each volume is in panorama format, bound in stiff paper wrappers with printed cover titles “January,” “April,” “July,” and “October,” and each housed in its own stiff paper slipcase. Four volumes, 4 inches by 7 inches. Item #16737
The colophon explains the painstaking method required to print reduction linocut illustrations: “Each of these four books is printed from seven carved linoleum blocks onto multiple sheets of paper…All sections of the seven-part image are made by a reduction linoleum cut process. This method requires that each section is partially cut from the block which is then printed, then cut again and printed again, multiple times. Following each recutting of the seven individual blocks, the newly printed ink layer adds marks and shapes to the final panorama as it maintains those already printed. For example, the second cutting and printing reveals the initial ink layer; cuts for the third printing reveal the first and second ink layers. This continues until the desires number of colors is achieved with additional imagery contributed by every printed layer…For ‘October,’ brown was followed by coral, then yellow ochre followed by red, with orange printed last.”.
Ruth Fine, a painter and printmaker educated at the Pennsylvania College of Arts, was the curator of modern prints and drawings at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC between 1980 and 2002. She recently retired from her curator of special projects in modern art at the National Gallery and now works as a curator for the Art Institute of Chicago and the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts.