Fine press volume
Author: Nan McDonald
Artist: Jan Brown
Design & Production: Ampersand Duck
Printed 2007, released 2008
Transmigration is the first volume in the Ampersand Duck fine press series, ‘Selected’.
Hand-set letterpress in Bodoni accompanied by relief prints on 280gsm Arches BFK grey paper, in a cased binding of ochre Buckram and relief-printed navy Wibalin with a dustjacket of acid-free acetate. 40pp. 240 x 163mm. Edition of 90.
About the contributors
Born in 1921, Nan McDonald also began her career writing poetry at Hornsby Girls’ High School where she contributed poems to the school magazine, twice winning the Ethel Curlewis prize for verse. Proceeding to the University of Sydney, she graduated with second-class honours in English.
In 1943 McDonald joined the editorial staff of Angus & Robertson Ltd. There she worked with such people as Alec Bolton, Beatrice Davis and Douglas Stewart. Recalled by Rosemary Dobson as ‘the best book editor in Australia’, she made a considerable – though largely unacknowledged – contribution to the publication of Australian fiction and history for some thirty years.
McDonald’s poetic output was small but highly regarded, with poems appearing mostly in Sydney journals from the 1940s to the 1960s. Her first collection, Pacific Sea (1947) won the first Grace Leven prize for poetry in 1947. Her poems appear in most modern anthologies, but critical perspective is still lacking.
McDonald spent much of her time in the Wollongong region, commuting to Sydney to work. She died of cancer in January 1974 at Mt Ousley.
The 14 poems in Transmigration revolve around themes of birds, sea, bushwalking and human interaction and interference with the environment.
Jan Brown AM
Jan Brown is a sculptor who sees drawing as an integral part of her work. She has a passionate interest in living forms, especially birds and animals.
Jan taught life drawing at the Canberra School of Art for many years, retiring as a Senior lecturer in 1987. Her initial training was as a part-time student at East Sydney Technical College, and later as a full-time student at Chelsea School of Art, under the direction of Henry Moore.
She was born in Sydney in 1922, and has travelled widely overseas, living in London for ten years and returning to London and Europe on a regular basis. Her home, since 1957, is Canberra, where she lives with her husband and family.
She has been actively involved with the promotion of the visual arts in Canberra and in 1992 was made an Order of Australia and also an Emeritus Fellow of the Australia Council. In 2005 she was honoured in the ACT International Women’s Day awards.
Jan’s drawings for Transmigration were not made for the book, but selected by her and the printer from her extensive drawing archives. Her drawings, many made in the same locations that Nan was writing about, were scanned and cast as photopolymer plates, then printed as embossments, slightly inked with transparent ink to darken the paper colour.
Jan Brown and Nan McDonald were exact contemporaries. They both cared deeply about the same issues, and frequented the same walking paths. They never knew each other.
This is the front of the 4pp DL-size prospectus for Transmigration
Every ‘Selected’ volume has a letterpress-printed prospectus that is sent to press supporters and other interested parties. If you would like to be on the mailing list for these, please contact me.