||The Blacksmith's Tale or Once Upon a Flower
Illustrated by Sheila Waters
Designed by Julian Waters
102 pages, Illustrated
Read an excerpt
"Longer ago than most people can remember, and in a place just out of sight from here, a man about your father's age spent a snowy,
snivvly night hiding from the mountain wind outside the gates of a prosperous walled town...." |
So opens this fable for dreamers of all ages, as the fleeing man seeks sanctuary on the remote ledge near a medieval-ish mountain city, a sort-of Zurich in
Narnia. Clever and strong, the man named Cherce seeks seclusion because he has discovered a miraculous secret: In his hidden garden, he grows almost-magic
flowers which. . . . which do things that simply can't be told on a website. Suffice it that these flowers thrive on human attention and multiply even when
tended by people without a green thumb in their body.
In time Cherce shares the secret with his ward, a lad named Found ("because he was") and with Dovely. She is the only daughter of Oraxion the chief bureaucrat
in this stodgy market town, the cradle of retail, where adults positively adore commerce, cherish conformity, and worship money. Yet the daring youngsters
Found and Dovely march and skip to their own drummers; they unloose a daisychain of events that lead to disaster, plunging the mercantile mountain into a
perilous, $tupendous, hy$terical CRI$I$!
The tale is told by a blacksmith of author Dana Phillips's own childhood, an artisan of the early twentieth century. The Blacksmith's voice frames the entire
story, which is an adventurous, allegorical, satiric, funny, sometimes scary, once very sad, word-twisting, pun-stumping, type-tumbling yarn. Warning: It
takes place in a different time, nay a different world than our own, or so it appears. Even the illustrations by the distinguished illuminator
Sheila Watersinspired by illuminations found in antique booksare time-out-of-mind. Ditto Julian Waters' intriguing graphic design and beautiful
Taken all together, here is a fable that will take parents and grandparents back to the "chapter books" of your childhood. Here is a story that will transport
today's child of any age into that captivating realm of fantasy, morality, adventure and imagination.
A Designing Family Collaborates
In this fantasy, Posterity Press, Inc., proudly publishes a volume that owes its remarkable visual appeal to the graphics team of the
English-born illuminator Sheila Waters and designer/calligrapher Julian Waters, her son. This is the first book project that the two have completed together.
Mrs. Waters is celebrated in lettering circles throughout the English-speaking world as a calligrapher and illuminator. Trained at the Royal College of Art
and once the youngest fellow of the Society of Scribes and Illuminators, she has created many notable works, including unique diplomas and documents presented
to royalty. Her illuminated manuscript book of Dylan Thomas' Under Milk Wood now resides in the permanent collection of the Getty Library in
Oxfordshire. Her work and teaching have had an incalculable influence on modern calligraphy.
English-born Julian Waters, regarded by many cognoscenti as the finest calligrapher working in America today, studied with his parents, Sheila and Peter
(founder of the Library of Congress Conservation Lab) and with the German designer Hermann Zapf. Himself now a teacher in many venues in America and abroad,
he became Zapf's successor at Rochester Polytechnic Institute. His memorable commissions include advising Maya Lin on the Vietnam Memorial and designing
lettering for postage stamps such as the "LOVE" stamp.
Unique in its particulars, The Blacksmith's Tale... was designed, typeset and printed with an attention to detail and quality rarely seen these days.
For example, it uses the ligatures of yore: paired letters such as æ, fi,fl, etc. appear in single characters. Likewise, the book includes special
typography"type tricks" in which words and letters are laid out to reflect action or mood. Buffered paper was used to assure longevity of the
Smyth-sewn volume and the leaves were bound "grain right" (parallel to the spine) so the book can lie open.
The Blacksmith's Tale or Once Upon a Flower, was honored for both its cover design and interior graphic design by Washington Book
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