Pacific Editions ~ California
(Charles Hobson)

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Charles Hobson: "Artists' books are a natural meeting place for image and word. Because of this, I work with books, particularly accordion and other sculptural forms of books, which allow both an intimate viewing experience and a group viewing experience to take place. … Since 1986 I have operated Pacific Editions, a publisher of limited edition artist books."

By Eavan Boland
Images and visual design by Charles Hobson
San Francisco, California: Pacific Editions, 2011. Edition of 42.

9 x 6.5 x 2.25"; 18 pages. Accordion structure from back pastedown. Monotypes printed as high-resolution digital prints with additional pastel finishing. 12 point Palatino typeface. Printed letterpress by JR Press, San Francisco, on BFK Rives. Stonehenge black pages hand-painted with acrylic. Bound in bookboard with illustrated covers and matching book jacket. Housed in single drop sided black box with reinforced corners, title in white on side, tree illustration tipped on lid.

Charles Hobson: "Eavan Boland's moving poem is a stark and severe depiction of the deep relationship between a man and a woman that transcends the traditions of love poetry. The imagery and design of the book have been inspired by the bleak winter landscape of snow and frozen trees and by the practice of grafting.

"The genesis of the design of Quarantine was a view from the airplane window on a flight out of Chicago in January 2011. The stark trees and unbroken snow seemed to capture the bleak and desolate landscape called to mind by the poem.

"Contemplating the scene of trees and snow led to the notion of 'grafting'—the practice of joining together the branches of two different species, a notion spawned by the line of the poem in which "her feet were held against his breastbone" so that he could give her the last warmth of his body.

"The practice of grafting intersected visually with the shamanic fetishes collected by my wife, Sandra, in her travels related to her study of indigenous wisdom and healing practices. Drawings and monotypes of twigs tied together suggested by this intersection led to the visual images used in the book.

"The images are monotypes of bundled twigs that have been printed as high-resolution digital prints with additional pastel finishing. The twigs in the centerfold of the accordion are from bay and fir trees in the hills above Stinson Beach, California.

"Eavan Boland was born in Dublin, Ireland, in 1944. She received her B.A. from Trinity College in 1966. Her first book of poetry was New Territory published in 1967…. This was followed by The War Horse (1975), In Her Own Image (1980) and Night Feed (1982), which established her reputation as a writer on the ordinary lives of women and on the difficulties faced by women poets in a male-dominated literary world. Her collection In a Time of Violence (1994) received a Lannan Award and was shortlisted for the T. S. Eliot Prize. Her volume of poems Against Love Poetry (W. W. Norton 2001) was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She has taught widely and since 1996 she has been a tenured Professor of English at Stanford University where she is Director of the Creative Writing program. She divides her time between Palo Alto and her home in Dublin."

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Ancient Mariner
By Roger Angell
Images and visual design by Charles Hobson
San Francisco, California: Pacific Editions, 2009. Edition of 39.

15.25 x 11.5 x 1.25"; 13 pages. Accordion book. Printed letterpress on BFK Rives in 18 pt Times New Roman. Monotypes with pastel by Charles Hobson printed as high resolution digital prints. Paper-covered boards of reproductions of the charts used by Roger Angell. Contained in a slipcase covered in canvas to emulate sailcloth. Signed by author and artist.

Prospectus: "The maritime charts of Maine used in the book have been reproduced from old charts once used by Roger Angell, particularly Chart 14414, 'Approaches to Blue Hill Bay.' ... The overhead view of the islands are based on those provided by Google Earth, Version 4.2. The model sails and rigging roughly suggest those of the gaff-rigged Herreshoff 12 1/2. ...

"Roger Angell, the distinguished senior editor at The New Yorker magazine, is best known outside the magazine for his writings about baseball. However, his memoir Ancient Mariner about sailing in Maine displays his ability to use language elegantly and precisely while conveying vivid images of his experiences of more than sixty years. ..."

Anyone who has ever sailed should understand Angell's simple but rock-true conclusion about the attraction of sailing — "almost in touch with the motions of my planet: not at one with them but riding a little crest and enjoying the view."

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Nelson & Emma:
Aphrodite & Ares Contemplate Admiral Nelson & Lady Hamilton

By Charles Hobson
San Francisco, California: Pacific Editions, 2008. Edition of 35.

10.5 x 11.5 x 1"; 41 pages. Text and design by Charles Hobson. Frontispiece of two-layer monotype portraits of Admiral Nelson and Emma Hamilton which have been reproduced as high resolution digital prints on transparent film. The cover and slipcase have been covered in mouldmade paper called Canal made in Quebec that has been embossed with a pattern of netting for the slipcase. Book with five signatures called "intermezzos" attached to a concertina spine. Each intermezzo has a unique abstract acrylic painting on paper; an image of an historic sea battle printed on transparent film; a Renaissance-era painting of Aphrodite colored with acrylic wash; and a page with cutout windows. Includes a pop-up square-rigged vessel containing the images of Admiral Nelson and Aphrodite.

Prospectus: "In 1798 Admiral Nelson led a fleet of British warships against the French at the mouth of the Nile and achieved a spectacular victory. Several weeks later he sailed into Naples harbor and was greeted with a huge celebration and the rapturous admiration of the citizens, including Lady Emma Hamilton, the young British Ambassador's beautiful young wife. They soon became lovers.

"In Greek mythology Aphrodite, goddess of love, and Ares, god of war, had a tempestuous affair, which resulted in ridicule and embarrassment. Nelson & Emma records an imaginary conversation between Aphrodite and Ares about the admiral and the ambassador's wife, mortals who seem to embody the qualities of love and war that are the special purview of the two gods. As the conversation between the two gods proceeds they pull strings that lead to a net of disapproval and scandal being thrown over Nelson and Emma.

"At the heart of the design of Nelson & Emma is an intention to show alternative perspectives about the events that transpired and to give life to the odd coincidence that love and war are tied closely together in both the affairs of the gods and the affairs of mortals.

"The cover contains a lenticular photograph of an age-of-sail battle scene combined with a painting of Aphrodite by Titian. The goddess looms over the battle. (A lenticular photograph contains two images on beveled horizontal indentations which allows the viewer to tilt the book and shift between the two images.) The slipcase has been made with paper embossed with netting a reference to the net which ensnares Aphrodite and Ares and which, metaphorically, falls over Nelson and Emma."

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Pacific Editions Out of print and Sold titles:


The Mappist
By Barry Lopez
Images and Design by Charles Hobson
San Francisco, California: Pacific Editions, 2005. Edition of 48.

11 x 10 x 1.25" Printed letterpress. Concertina binding using original USGS maps. Bound in board covers wrapped with a map of Bogotá from 1911. Slipcase covered with wood grain paper and metal label holder.

Each book has been assembled using original USGS maps for the concertina binding and selected pages. The cover has been wrapped with a reproduction of a 1911 map of Bogotá from the collection of the Library of Congress. Images of hands emulating gestures of a map maker at work have been reproduced as digital pigment prints on transparent film. The slipcase has been covered with wood-grained paper to suggest the map cabinet which plays a pivotal role in the story. A metal label holder acts as a spine label. The concertina binding, when looked at from the edge, takes on its own topography of mountains and valleys. Landscape images and an image of pencils from the writing desk of Barry Lopez have been created as monotypes with pastel and printed as digital pigment prints. The text has been printed letterpress by Les Ferriss on BFK Rives using a Garamond Narrow typeface. John DeMerritt made the slipcase and board covers with the assistance of Kris Langan. The book design and images have been created by Charles Hobson who assembled the book with the assistance of Alice Shaw. "When I was an undergraduate at Brown I came across a book called The City of Ascensions, about Bogotá. I knew nothing of Bogotá, but I felt the author had captured its essence. My view was that Onesimo Peña had not written a travel book but a work about the soul of Bogotá." With these words Barry Lopez opens his short story about his narrator's life long quest to find a reclusive master mapmaker. The narrator, Phillip Trevino, comes to understand that the Bogotá book and six other extraordinary travel books all purportedly written by different authors are in fact written by the same man.Trevino has become a respected and successful geographer and urban planner living in Boston, but has never given up his search for the genius behind the books which have become a touchstone for his own work and world view. In recent years the trail has grown very cold. His hopes are revived in a book store in Tokyo when he finds a set of elegant hand drawn maps in a in a map cabinet - all unmistakably by the author of the books – and all signed: Corlis Benefideo.

Like a great detective, Trevino follows the barest of clues and manages to locate Benefideo who invites him to North Dakota for a visit. Benefideo is now a man in his late eighties living alone on the outskirts of a small town. Late in the evening he shows Trevino his latest maps. The satisfaction of the meeting to Trevino is compounded by the exchange of understanding between the men. They part with a gesture which represents a handing off from one generation to the next of the value of a passionately followed path, one which is followed with authenticity and conviction. [from the prospectus]


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Poems from the Heart:
Hearts in San Francisco
By Charles Hobson
San Francisco, California: Pacific Editions, 2004.

4.5 x 5.5" Hand-sewn into a painted cover and mounted in a folded corrugated folder. It contains digital pigment prints from an Epson 2200 printer which portray the printed books and poems used on the heart sculpture.

POEMS FROM THE HEART by Charles Hobson is one of 130 large sculptural hearts created by artists to support the San Francisco General Hospital and is located on the mezzanine of the main entrance of the San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin Street, San Francisco. Organized by a group of dedicated volunteers, the project placed the hearts around San Francisco in the summer months of 2004.

POEMS FROM THE HEART is also a hand-made artist's book picturing the heart sculpture with the eighteen poems by children about love and the heart. Sales of the book benefit the San Francisco General Hospital through its "Hearts in San Francisco" project. The poems have been used with the kind permission of the poets which have been made available through the California Poets in the Schools.



Essays by Lewis Thomas
Etchings by Joseph Goldyne
San Francisco and Berkeley: Pacific Editions and the Arif Press, 1986. Edition of 130.

8.25 x 12 x 1.25". Text handset in 16-point Bembo and Centaur types. Letterpress printed. Handmade paper by Twinrocker. Color etchings by Goldyne. Laid in drop leaf box . Additional etching in folder. Signed on the colophon by artist and author. Britannica Online Encyclopedia: "Lewis Thomas, (born Nov. 25, 1913, Flushing, NY., US—died Dec. 3, 1993, New York, N.Y.), American physician, researcher, author, and teacher best known for his essays, which contain lucid meditations and reflections on a wide range of topics in biology.

"Lewis attended Princeton University, Princeton, N.J., and Harvard Medical School (M.D., 1937). He served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps and taught at Johns Hopkins and Tulane universities and at the University of Minnesota Medical School. In 1954 he moved to New York University School of Medicine, which he left as dean in 1969 to teach in the pathology department at Yale University. From 1973 to 1983 he was president of the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center."

"Quartet" is a reprint of four essays by physician, researcher, and author Lewis Thomas, whose lucid essays on biology appeared in The Lives of a Cell, The Medusa and the Snail, and Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony.

"The Tucson Zoo": "We are endowed with genes which code out our reaction to beavers and otters, maybe our reaction to each other as well. We are stamped with stereotyped, unalterable patterns of response, ready to be released."

"Probability and Possibility": "We are alive against the stupendous odds of genetics, infinitely outnumbered by all the alternates who might, except for luck, be in our places. Even more astounding is our statistical improbability in physical terms. The normal, predictable state of matter throughout the universe is randomness, a relaxed sort of equilibrium, with atoms and their particles scattered around in an amorphous muddle. We, in brilliant contrast, are completely organized structures, squirming with information at every covalent bond. "

"Death in the Open": "In our way, we conform as best we can to the rest of nature. The obituary pages tell us of the news that we are dying away, while the birth announcements, in finer print, off at the side of the page, inform us of our replacements, but we get no grasp from this of the enormity of the scale. There are 3 billion of us on the earth, and all 3 billion must be dead, on a schedule, with this lifetime. The vast mortality, involving something over 50 million of us each year, takes place in relative secrecy. We will need to learn more about the cycling of life in the rest of the system, and about our connection to the process. Everything that comes alive seems to be in trade for something that dies, cell for cell. There might be some comfort in the recognition of synchrony, in the information that we all go down together, in the best of company."

"On Matters of Doubt": "What we have been learning in our time is that we really do not understand this place or how it works, and we comprehend ourselves least of all. And the more we learn, the more we are – or ought to be – dumbfounded."












red thread, two women
By Paula Sager and Lizbeth Hamlin
San Francisco, California: Pacific Editions, 2006. Edition of 38.

8 x 8.5 x 2.5" closed; extends to 6'; 36 pages. Constructed with two signatures sewn into an accordion structure incorporating hand-colored cotton and jute twine. Bound in boards. Housed in a fabric covered slip case made by John DeMerritt. Charles Hobson designed and assembled the book with the assistance of Alice Shaw.

Pacific Editions: “A rhythmic, flowing collaborative poem, exploring human insight, discovery and personal growth….

“The poets, Paula Sager and Lizbeth Hamlin, are practitioners and teachers of Authentic Movement, a practice that is concerned with the exploration of relationship. In its simplest form there is a mover and a witness. The mover, with eyes closed, waits for an impulse to move. The witness follows or tracks his or her own experience while being present and attentive to the mover.

"The design of the book has been inspired by the poem and evokes the experience imbedded in the writing. The string/thread acts like a drawn line and can be moved around by the reader to change the ‘drawing’ and the experience.

“The reverse of the book uses images of beets, accentuating characteristics of the poem – their string-like roots and the fullness and ripeness of their shape. The back pages also carry and emphasize individual words from the poem: voice, awaken, heart, distance, silence, tears, flame, breath, birth.”

The poets (from the afterword): “red thread, two women is an intimate exploration of insight, discovery and personal revelations. Our dream has always been that our connection can be felt as a familiar truth, showing how we as human beings long to relate.

“We are two women who met in the fall of 1999 and discovered that we shared an interest in the relationship between language and the moving body....

“The writing you see here came during our first year of developing this long-distance moving/witnessing relationship. For the most part, it is in chronological order. Sometimes the poem on a page is consistently one voice, sometimes our two voices speak to each other in one poem, and other times the two voices are woven together and become one voice.

“Writing in the first person kept it simple, close to the actual experience and to the body. We wrote immediately after the movement. The act of writing because an opportunity to re-experience and discover the language that articulates gesture, feeling and image. The process of moving and writing was completely dependent on our own individual sense of timing. Eventually, we came to realize that the emergence of the material seemed to have a momentum all its own.

“It was this relationship of mover and witness that became, for us, the vehicle to explore questions about language, body and consciousness. What made the process even more intriguing was that we moved and witnessed in relationship to each other from a distance of 3,000 miles. The text…has taken shape through this process of internalizing an unseen distant witness.”

Charles Hobson has, once again, married form and structure.

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Three Kisses
By Charles Hobson
San Francisco, California: Pacific Editions, 2003.
Edition of 90.

Made from found postcards, translucent envelopes, various papers and features the photographs of Robert Doisneau. A pastel monotype by Charles Hobson has been reproduced as a digital pigment print with hand coloring and is included as the penultimate image in the book. Black paper covered boards with red cloth spine.

Each envelope contains a photograph and a fictional story by Charles Hobson about the persons in the photographs.
"She had hidden in the bread delivery cart, uncertain that the feelings she felt for him were returned, but her intuition and instinct had led her to this radical act – outside the view of her shopkeeper parents – where she could encounter him with her hope."

A large edition for Charles Hobson -and (relatively) affordable.

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The Unknown Masterpiece
With etchings by Larry Thomas
Translation by Charles Hobson
San Francisco: Pacific Editions, 1993.
Edition of 35 + 5 proof copies.

18 x 13 x 1.25"; 36 pages + 6 transparent sheets. Printed letterpress using 18-point Garamond Bold on Rives Heavyweight, a French mould-made paper. Containing six lithographs and six soft ground etchings with engravings. Bound in quarter leather with chemise. Ribbon tie closure on chemise. Signed on the colophon by the artist and designer. Each print signed by the artist.

A new translation of the Honoré de Balzac story illustrated with six soft ground etchings with engraving and six photolithographs by Larry Thomas.

Colophon: "Larry Thomas worked from charcoal drawings to create a series of six soft-ground etchings, each of which was overprinted with a second plate containing a hand engraved image. The edition was designed by Charles Hobson and consists of two parts, a bound letterpress volume containing Balzac's novel and a portfolio of the six etching-engravings accompanied by key fragments of the text from the novel. Portions of the original charcoal drawings have been reproduced by photo-lithography at Magnolia Editions in Oakland, California on transparent sheets and bound into the text volume which was printed letterpress."

About the artist and designer from San Francisco Art Institute: "Larry Thomas is an accomplished visual artist and has been a visiting scholar at the American Academy in Rome and an artist-in-residence at the Djerassi Resident Artists Program, the Ragdale Foundation, and the Sitka Center for Art & Ecology. He is the recipient of two National Endowment for the Arts Individual Fellowships, has shown in numerous solo and group exhibitions regionally and nationally, and has work in the permanent collections of artist’s books at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Whitney Museum of American Art, and the Houghton Library at Harvard University, among others. He retired from teaching and administrative positions at the San Francisco Art Institute where he served in several capacities from 1981 until 2005, including Dean of Academic Affairs, Interim President, Chair of the Printmaking Department, and Associate Professor of Printmaking."

"Charles Hobson s a visual artist and Professor Emeritus of SFAI who constructs images for books and works on paper through monotypes and printmaking. Hobson has published more than 40 contemporary artists’ books under the imprint of Pacific Editions since 1986. Usually following literary or historical themes, his work addresses such diverse topics as famous couples who met in Paris and Mark Twain’s imaginary diaries of Adam and Eve. His work is in the collections of The Museum of Modern Art, New York; the New York Public Library; the Whitney Museum, New York; and the National Gallery, Washington, D.C.; and his archive has been acquired by Stanford University."

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The Writer
By Richard Wilbur
San Francisco, California: Pacific Editions, 2004. Edition of 54.

12 x 12 x 1.25" A two part limited edition artist's book housed in a clam-shell box. Part One printed letterpress on BFK Rives with interleaved vellum pigment prints. Cut-outs and pastel monotype reproduced as a pigment print with hand coloring. Part Two printed as a flutter book with reproduced cutouts using hand painted paper and select words from the poem.

Inspired by Richard Wilbur's warm and gentle poem conveying a parent's respect and love for his child as she begins the voyage into adulthood.

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Page last update: 01.22.19


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