Blog, Dream Houses, Poetry, Writing

Is it worth doing a special launch edition?

The launch of your book is a big deal. Is it worth creating a limited edition for the launch? I hummed and hahed about this for ages, but in the end I decided to do it.

I had a few reasons: design compromises happened in the production phase and I never loved the way the book looked. Maybe that was mere vanity. One other reason was the realisation I wanted to somehow honour my heritage more than the cover design I ended up with did. Another reason I made a special edition was to acknowledge the people who were showing up for me at the launch. All good reasons. On the downside, the cost was a factor, but in the end, I decided the best solution was to offset print an A1 poster on soft grey uncoated stock and chop it up myself using a scalpel and metal ruler. I used an online print service and they did a really passable job : ) Next step was to dust off the cutting mat and channel Design School packaging 101 wisdom from back in the day (stroke the paper, don’t go hard). I got to slicing, creasing and folding. A tad nerve-wracking as I had just enough posters and couldn’t afford a single botch. In the end, it was a really cost-effective way to create something special for the launch. Just a bit of planning and a sore back from standing at the cutting table all day 😅

final result!

But I also want to talk about the image. The image and the accompanying diary are dated 1933. They come from a trip my grandfather Walter Scott and his brother Bobby made together in the Rakaia headwater region of Te Wai Pounamu. The brothers were keen trampers and mountaineers, regularly heading up above the snowline. The photographs and notes we still have in the family are an incredible record of the land as it was then.

Louper Pass, above Ramsay Glacier, Rakaia River headwaters, Te Wai Pounamu

The image comes from a time in history that I feel conflicted about glorifying. It reflects the experience of a small group of privileged Pākehā men, who were free to roam the supposedly ‘empty‘ land. It’s a set of circumstances that makes me inherently uncomfortable. However, although my grandfather was a product of his era, he had an abiding and deep love and respect for this land. So I decided to make peace with context, and choose a photograph of the Ramsay Glacier, taken from Louper Pass.

Comparison of Lyell Glacier in 1866 and in 2018. Images Credit: Julius Haast and A. Lorrey – NIWA

Somewhat sobering is a rough comparison with the same area today, showing how much creep back the glaciers have experienced in just a bit over 100 years 😢