When I’m in the United States (as I am now) I spend an awful lot of time dealing with basements and storage facilities. Like this one, for example:
A few of these boxes contain personal photos, yearbooks and old paperbacks, some of them contain tools and supplies that haven’t made the crossing to my home in the UK. The rest? My Big Jump Press archive. I have always found it difficult to part with the debris field that is the inevitable by-product of printing a book, especially during my time as a grad student at the University of Alabama. Each of these well-used Big Jump boxes looks something like this:
I always visit them when I come home, usually with the intention of separating the wheat from the chaff. But when I look inside, I freeze, unable to decide what should stay and what should go. In fact, I can’t bear even to think about it, so instead let’s postpone all those tough decisions and take a look at some book flotsam. Picking a box at random yields the history of this book, The Index, from 2006:
Of course I’ve got the mockups. Only a maniac would throw those away.
But these boxes are HEAVY and mockups are just the beginning. You’ll also find early notes for other skeleton projects,
notebooks full of structural plotting and planning,
xeroxes of Pantone books and notes on color choices,
newsprint sketches held together with scotch tape,
refined drawings on mohawk paper,
and even the lino blocks.
What do I save? What has value and what does not? It all takes up so much space, and these days every inch of space I take up in Delaware belongs to someone else. And it is clear to me that the moment I part with my last box, the moment my last tool or beloved and heavy art book makes the trip over the Atlantic, is likely to be the day that I move back to the US and start the whole process all over again. I’m rolling the rock up the hill, everyone. I’ll keep it all. I always keep it all.