FISH-EYE PAPERS & PRESS
Fish-Eye Papers & Press began with an unlikely journey: that of the Jewish pioneers of New Mexico, who were the subject of an exhibit at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe. My husband, attending a computer science conference a year before my residency at SFAI, had been dragged to this exhibit by a colleague, and although not a museum lover, he nonetheless told me not to miss this one. So one freezing cold day, I rode the SFAI bicycle to downtown Santa Fe & went to have a look. Only after I'd bought my ticket did I realize the exhibit had closed a month before. In its place was a new one, Lasting Impressions, on the history of the private presses of New Mexico. I was struck not only by the fascinating collection of old printing presses but also by the exhibit of poetry broadsides: here was a museum of poetry, every one beautifully printed and displayed, visible in a way that poems in a journal or a book cannot be. I had envied the visual artists in residence with me at SFAI their studio space, where their work was always visible, whereas for the poets visibility meant scheduling a reading, the poems heard once and remembered, perhaps, but gone. I bought a book about the Jewish Pioneers, but came away obsessed with the printing presses. I had to have one. Another stroke of good fortune got me to the Letterpress Printing & Fine Press Publishing Seminar for Emerging Writers, at the Center for Book Arts in New York, where I learned the rudiments of typesetting. Upon my return, my daughter & I scoured the old print shops of South Tel-Aviv/Jaffa, until we found our press, type, & assorted other equipment. Additional type was acquired later, in England, where it was smuggled past Heathrow security wrapped in a winter coat, & in the U.S., where it was smuggled right under the clueless eyes of the TSA. The slanted worktable & type cabinet were designed & built by Shlomi Baruch, airplane mechanic turned felafel maker & machinist extraordinaire. I began printing broadsides, and am now completing the first in a series of Fish-Eye limited edition chapbooks. I make my own paper, too.