CASE STUDY: NICE NEV NOUMENONS

 

Our clients bring their memoirs to us in all shapes and forms — artist Neville Langley had been relating his own fascinating life-story for 30 years in the form of Artist's Journals, a record of his travels in California, Mexico, Egypt to name but a few places. His accounts have been presented visually, rather than in words and the colourful collages, embellished by his own sketches, are quite extraordinary.

Over the years he had been replicating the journals himself — a labour of love indeed for his friends and favourite customers — but when we met at his Open Studio in High Halden, Kent, last year his eyes lit up when I said that I could produce each journal as a lovely small hardback. Good to know that by sensitively producing his journals in book form my 80-year old client would be saved all the hard work of reproducing the volumes by hand.

Within a year we have already produced Volumes I and II and he has impishly called them NICE NEV NOUMENONS. We scanned in the marbled covers and cloth spine of the original journals, which look quite stunning as a crisp hardback. The size is almost exactly as the original journals, a bit smaller in height than the standard A5. The book is printed in colour throughout and the collages have reproduced very well.

Laetitia, my designer, created a narrow frame to set off each page: the palest of yellow in Vol. I and a slightly gritty-looking sandy colour in Vol. II, which covers travels to the Egyptian pyramids. This has been such a fun project to work on and regular meetings with the author-artist ensured that everything was perfect before we went to press. We are now looking forward to producing Volume III next year.

Noumenon: “the object of an act of thought”, as opposed to “phenomenon”, an object that can be perceived with the senses. In ancient Greek philosophy, the noumenal realm was equated with the world of ideas, known, if knowable at all, to the philosophical mind.

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