Wrenching Times

  • Poems from Drum-Taps by Walt Whitman
  • Edited by M. Wynn Thomas
  • With 9 colour wood engravings by Gaylord Schanilec
  • Gwasg Gregynog, Wales, UK, 1991
  • Book: 385mm x 245mm x 20mm
  • Box: 423mm x 293mm x 41mm
  • Southall Collection, UK
  • Bound in 2015
Full leather binding, sewn on five tapes, covered in scarf-jointed black and dark blue goatskin.
Miscellaneous leather onlays in black, grey and blue, and one circular inlay in light yellow on the front cover of the binding.
The covering leather is embroidered with words over the onlays with silk threads using a combination of running stitch, whipping stitch and French knots, graduating in colour across the sentences.
The binding is blind tooled using hand-made finishing tools.
The doublures are patterned with multi-coloured threads, sewn in circles to mirror the cover design.
The edge is coloured with black acrylic paint.
Padauk wood box which has been routed, mitred and glued into shape.
Panel inset into the top of the box, patterned in the same way as the doublures, with a circular window.
The text block is inspired by the 1865 publication, “Drum-Taps”, containing poetry from the American Civil War. When researching the poet, Walt Whitman, I found a website which contained original notes from the diaries that he kept when visiting the army hospitals during the war. On this website was a collection of archived documents from the life of Whitman, including images of draft poems and other notes written by his hand. I decided to use these words as imagery on the cover design. I chose various pieces I found on the website, which were all written during the same period as the poems within the book, and embroidered them in concentric rings emanating from a moon, and graduated the colour from left to right as if the moon is casting down light on them. The background cover design was inspired by one of Gaylord Schanilec's wood engravings, with the light of the moon casting down onto a battlefield. The image inspired the choice of colours. The doublures tie in with the cover design, with concentric circular lines to match the writing on the cover. These are designed to be like the reverberations on the skin of a drum whilst it is being played, whilst also fitting in with the cover design.