In 2007 I began a collaboration with poet and novelist John Burnside, culminating in the creation of a limited edition letterpress artistsí book.
Melissographia consists of a series of new poems which are embedded within a book-form, scattered with individually embossed hand-painted pollen maps, referencing a selection of seasonal pollen loads collected by the honeybee from single plant species. Melissographia is bound in a hand-made cover, and contains tiny botanical samples of flowers collected over the apiaristís calendar year, which are important to sustaining the health of the honeybee.
The book was made in response to my ongoing conversations with John Burnside about bees and our delving deep into the fertile bibliography of bees and beekeeping. Taking the seminal text The Life of the Bee by Maurice Maeterlinck (quotations from the Alfred Sutro translation published by George Allen in 1901 are interweaved throughout the pages of the book on delicate translucent paper) as a common reference, we created a book which offers a mind map of our engagement with the honey bee over a calendar year.
Each book is made entirely by hand myself. The text of the poems is set in Plantin type, and printed in black and gold ink. The book is scattered with gold leaf and beeswax.
The First Edition of Melissographia of 100 numbered copies has sold out. A second edition of Melissographia is now available. For information on how to obtain a copy please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
A copy of Melissographia can be found in the collection of the Gutenberg-Museum Mainz, Germany, and will be permanently archived at the Centre For Artistsí Books, University of Dundee in 2011. Other copies of the First Edition can be found in the collection of The National Library of Scotland, Edinburgh and in the Rare Books Collection at The Poetry Library, South Bank Centre, London.
This collaboration is supported by Poetry Beyond Text; Vision, Text and Cognition (Arts and Humanities Research Council) a collaborative research project based in the University of Dundee and the University of Kent.http://projects.beyondtext.ac.uk/poetrybeyondtext/index.php