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2015 Featured Project Assistance Grant Recipient:

Katie Harper

The Lad with the Golden Hair


"This book was inspired when one of my three brothers fell gravely ill in the summer of 2014. I wanted to give him one last gift, so I decided to create for him a book of his early years, using old family photos. I told the tale as the saga of a great hero, borrowing freely from historical mythologies of various cultures. The tales included "The Ancestors" (grandparents); "The Humans" (Parents) and the Siblings. 

The story was informed by each photo that I found in the very large family stash, and I let the photograph suggest the narration. Unfortunately, my brother passed away before I could show him the book, but I finished it anyway as a tribute to him, making a bound copy for other family members. The original edition was all digital. 

I applied for and received the CBAA grant of $500 to produce the final edition.  So I redesigned the final edition to incorporate handset type and letterpress pressure printing. The various patterns in the background recall the wallpapers throughout our childhood home.

This prototype has been exhibited in juried shows and is receiving very positive reviews."

Progress to Date

"I had originally wanted to use polymer plates for the old family photos, but I was not pleased with the reproduction quality. Only clay-coated paper would work, and this kind of paper is not well suited to show off the tactile qualities of letterpress.

Work on the photographs is still in progress. The latest experiments involve inkjet print of the photographs onto watercolor paper, with the type printed letterpress. This prototype is what is pictured here.

I’m experimenting with different papers to see what works best. It is possible that the grant budget may be adjusted so that I am able to spend more money on the paper, rather than on polymer plates."

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