Small Press Explo: Wooden Toy

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Here at Printeresting we are supremely bored by headlines and news bits about the death of print and collapse of publishing. From what we could tell from the recent NY Art Book Fair, E/AB Fair, SPX and many, many more examples, it looks very much like small press art publishing is exploding, while assuming ever more mercurial modes of distribution. With that in mind, it seems worth looking more closely at the plethora of interesting small press art/design publications. If your interests go beyond art and design and into lit and poetry, head over to Small Press Distribution your one-stop-shop dedicated small publishing concerns.

With that in mind,  the strangest package arrived at the Printeresting underground lair a few weeks ago and this seems like a good time to crack it open and take a look. The Wooden Toy Quarterly is a limited edition publication produced out of Australia, and is the flagship publication of the Wooden Toy Publishing. At first glance, this periodical is a fun factory bursting with hand-drawn illustration and typography. This issue, the Music Edition is full of.. well, it’s full of lots of printed stuff. While the music theme allows for some discussion of music, bands, etc, make no mistake this is primarily an excuse to show case new and respected voices from the growing gig poster scene. Keep reading for a full tour of this lush production.

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There is the certificate of authenticity. While an edition of 5k seems a bit of an affront to a fine art printmaker, it creates an interesting economy of collectibility for a quarterly publication.

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A free wheel of death!

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This little gem is maybe my favorite part, the Lyrics and Type zine.

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Essentially a typographic exhibition in print, the Lyrics and Type zine collects a great range of typographic talent.

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Now onto the Wooden Toy Quarterly itself. It’s a hefty book made up of about a half inch of paper.  And it’s chief architect, Timba Smits uses that bulk to put it’s weight behind a maximal approach to content, lots of lush full color illustrations, clever design elements and consistently smart use of printing technology.  I am particularly fond a weather newsprint trompe l’oeil effect used through out, giving the whole a kind nostalgic ambience.

You can read more about Timba’s exploits here and here.

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It quickly becomes clear that this is not a magazine per say, but an art project in journal form. The craft of designing a publication has been put into service, in this case to curate a specific vision of hand-drawn type and illustration.

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Thanks for reading.

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Categories: Interesting Printmaking, Print-related


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