Twenty Rows In
By Ben Verhoeven
[Stockholm, Wisconsin]: Dear Ana Press, 2005. Edition of 26.
9 x 5.5"; 30 pages. Printed letterpress by Ben Verhoeven on mould-made Lana Royal paper. Composed in Poliphilus type. Bound in cloth over boards. Signed and numbered on the colophon.
Twenty Rows In was printed in 2005 at Midnight Paper Sales Press with the help of Gaylord Schanilec. It was the kernel that became the much larger Sylvae produced by Midnight Paper Sales.
Gaylord Schanilec, "Sylvae: An Adventure in Fine Printmaking" Bonefolder Volume 4, Number 1, Fall 2007: "Ben Verhoeven graduated from the Rhode Island School of Design in the spring of 2005 with a diploma in illustration. That fall, his uncle, a neighbor of ours, brought Ben by the shop, thinking he might find the goings-on here at Midnight Paper Sales interesting. Not surprisingly, his education at a prestigious art school did not include any mention of fine printing. He had never before seen letterpress, real type, or an engraved block of wood. I doubt that he had ever handled a finely printed book.
"Ben was interested, indeed, and agreed to stay on for a three-month internship. Besides helping around the shop with various MPS projects during his stay, he produced a small book of his own called Twenty Rows In. In the introduction, he explains, 'Begun as An Abbreviated Sylva of Pepin County, this book was to catalogue the dominant trees of the area, with illustrations and historical anecdotes. Though an enticing idea, it would prove more than my three-month visit could afford. The trees were winnowed down to four, but with autumn fast approaching I settled on one: a cottonwood on the acreage of Hazel and Gaylord Erickson."'
"The book contains a reproduction of the first record of ownership for the property: a letter from President James Buchanan giving the property to a Civil War veteran, James H. Spotts. It also includes a brief description of the mathematics involved in estimating the height of the tree, complete with a mysterious but interesting listing of the equations involved."
Ben Verhoeven, Introduction: "I was first drawn by this cottonwood, not only as a fine tree, but as part of the surrounding landscape. What kept my interest were the historical sources and calculations found along the way. There is a certain charm in their obscure language and simple measurements. Reluctant to impose a narrative I present them now as they are. Taken out of the context of a land abstract, a mathematics book, or a county road commute, these images and words yield the beginnings of a history: a history of this property, of this project, and of this cottonwood."
Click image for more