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Slurring at Bottom:
A Printer’s Book of Errors

Artist book by Robin Price, Publisher
60 copies
6.75 x 5.5 inches


The endless fiddling with ink or packing, letterspacing, or tiny bits of gunk on the surface of a handmade sheet of paper; the weary acceptance of a never-quite-perfect printed page; the extreme emphasis on labor that ideally should be meditative but too often isn’t: these are the demands we place on ourselves as we practice the art/craft of fine printing. Slurring at bottom began as my personal search for a way out of that, using the same means—those labor-intensive activities done by hand—but mixed with a new approach, to express my protest and gather possible remedies. The raw material was literally my past mistakes—sheets rejected from previous editions, work-up sheets, etc—which were then transformed into new surfaces onto which other artists could play, or new text could be printed. One sheet from each of the ten invited artists is in every copy of the book; techniques used include collage, drawing, fireworks, painting, photography, printmaking, and sewing. The accompanying texts were mostly excerpts from previously published writing, and included authors such as John Cage, Bern Porter, and Basho, and subjects such as friendship quilts, Dada art, and the Japanese game of renga. Chance, randomness, and the relinquishing of control were wholeheartedly embraced, as was the opportunity to collaborate with the young Emily K. Larned. Our final delight was in hand-selecting the collation of each copy (or rather, the middle four signatures of a six-signature binding), so that no two copies are alike in either sequence or in pages from the artists (because they, too, varied within the “edition”). Out of print.

—Robin Price

Rejected printer’s sheets transformed by Mary Allan, Diane Balderston, Mary Barringer, Barbara Benish, Derek Dudek, Daniel Kelm, Emily Larned, Jim Lee, Jim Pitts and Tommy Simpson

Held in private collections.

You may request to see Slurring at Bottom at:

  • California Polytechnic State University - San Luis Obispo, Robert E. Kennedy Library, Special Collections
  • Claremont Colleges, Honnold/Mudd Library, Special Collections
  • Columbia University, Butler Library, Rare Book & Manuscript Library
  • Getty Research Institute Library, Special Collections
  • Library of Congress
  • Messiah College, Murray Library, Artists’ Books Collection
  • New York Public Library, Schwarzman Building, Rare Book Collection
  • Occidental College Library, Special Collections
  • San Francisco Public Library, Special Collections
  • Skidmore College, Lucy Scribner Library, Special Collections
  • Smith College, Neilson Library, Mortimer Rare Book Room
  • Smithsonian Institution, American Art Museum Library
  • Stanford University Libraries, Special Collections, Gunst Collection
  • University of California, Santa Barbara, Davidson Library
  • University of Connecticut, Thomas J. Dodd Research Center, Archives and Special Collections
  • University of Delaware Library, Special Collections
  • University of Iowa Libraries, Special Collections
  • University of Minnesota, TC Anderson Library Rare Books
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Wilson Library, Rare Book Collection
  • University of Southern California, Doheny Memorial Library
  • University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library, Special Collections
  • University of Vermont, Bailey/Howe Library, Special Collections
  • Wellesley College, Clapp Library, Special Collections
  • Wesleyan University, Olin Library, Special Collections & Archives
  • Yale University, Robert B. Haas Family Arts Library, Special Collections

Ten artists were invited to transform rejected printer’s sheets provided by Price. Kelm decorated his sheets by marking them with pyrotechnic devices. One of his sheets is visible here on the left.