Making Art Along the Cedar River


Among my greatest pleasures in a long and pleasurable career has been collaborating with artists Glenn Wolff and Chad Pastotnik. Working together in the hemlock and cedar woods along the Cedar River at Chad’s  Deep Wood Press, we’ve done three projects together:  a limited-edition book (Winter Walks) and, now, our second limited-edition broadside.

This broadside, “The Trout in Winter,” is actually a second edition, with some significant changes. The first edition, published in a signed and numbered edition of 60 in December 2000, sold out soon after it was released and has grown steadily in value ever since.  Glenn’s magnificent image of a brown trout against a cosmic river bottom is  the same engraving on the same copper plate  but with the addition of an exquisite stonefly nymph in the lower right corner. Chad made some interesting changes as well. He re-inked caps with gold ink, tightened up the line and letter spacing, and made a few other tweaks to produce an even lovelier presentation of my words. We’ve kept the words as they appeared in the first edition, including the emergency edit that changed the text slightly from the way I originally drafted it. As we were setting type we realized that Chad was running short of lowercase “e’s,” creating an interesting dilemma. We could have reset the type in a different font but we had fallen in love with the Baskerville 24 pt Chad had selected.  So instead we reset some of the words and lines in italic, creating visual interest and variations in tone and emphasis that I now consider essential to the meaning of the text. To save a few additional “e’s” I also edited the poem slightly. I’ll never forget the three of us cheering spontaneously when we saved two “e’s” by changing the last word  from “leave” to “go.”

So here it is, in a new edition of 65, signed and numbered. Price is $225 plus shipping. Anyone interested should drop me an email at jcdennis(at)charter(dot)net.

And, yes, this is the final edition: Glenn plans to coat the copper plate in varnish and mount it for permanent archiving.


5 thoughts on “Making Art Along the Cedar River

  1. Steve Gilzow

    Beautiful work. I’ve done some letterpress work with my friend Jim Horton (I’m pretty sure he and Chad know each other) and I am acquainted with the thrill when there are just enough pieces of type in the job case to complete the print! Keith Taylor’s wife, Christine, is working at JIm’s again this year, setting up a little print run.

    1. Jerry Dennis Post author

      Thanks, Steve. Seeing a sheet of fine paper come off the press with the ink still wet and the “tooth” of the type bitten into the paper is one of the most satisfying experiences I’ve had in publishing. I’ve told a few friends half kiddingly that I’d like to do all my books in limited-edition letterpress forms, followed up with e-books. Keith Taylor predicts it’s the way we’ll all have to do it in the future.

  2. Jody M Clark

    This is a fine glimpse into the process Jerry. The print line takes us back in time as well as projecting us into the future.

  3. Mary Pellerito

    Thank you for sharing your art. I wish you luck and success. I think there are still people out there who appreciate books like this.

    1. Jerry Dennis Post author

      Mary — You’re absolutely right. And their numbers seem to be growing. Chad is a leader in the small number of printers who use only metal type. Plastic has taken over a lot of the commercial work, but metal will last forever — as serious collectors know.


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