Crab Quill Press—Artist Books > The Field of Aki

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The Field of Aki:
A translation of a poem by Kakinomoto no Asomi Hitomaro

prints by Frank Boyden; translation and preface by Edward Morris; calligraphy by Bai Qianshen
Walla Walla, Washington: Crab Quill Press, 2004

edition of 6

price on request



The Field of Aki appears in a limited edition of six copies. The type is Perpetua, a face designed by Eric Gill, and was printed letterpress on Hahnemühle Copperplate and Hahnemühle Silkscreen. The calligraphed version of the original poem, found at the beginning of the book, was written by noted calligrapher and scholar Qianshen Bai and printed letterpress using photopolymer plate. The fourteen prints, variously drypoint, aquatint, and lift-ground etchings, were printed by Frank Boyden at his studio in Otis, Oregon, during the fall of 2003. The book is bound as a drum-leaf binding, a structure developed by Timothy C. Ely. In this volume the structure has been modified to accommodate wooden covers. The Field of Aki features covers of various woods including black limba, Port Orford cedar, and Sapele. The Field of Aki is presented in a silk-lined box made of figured and spalted maple.

The design of The Field of Aki requires some explanation. Unlike most books that are meant to be held in the hand, this book is designed to be viewed on a shelf. And in this regard it can be considered a work of interactive, kinetic sculpture. The protective maple box is accompanied by two corbels so that it can be mounted on a wall and thus function as a viewing shelf. To view, the book should be taken from the box and placed on the top of the box and opened so that the front cover of the book rests at an angle against the wall; the fore-edge of the back cover will nest along the lip of the box designed to keep the book from slipping. All pages have been printed on the verso side so that they can be viewed from a variety of distances.

The Field of Aki was designed, printed, and produced by hand by Ian Boyden.

Book dimensions: 29 x 10 5/8 x 1.5 inches. Box dimensions: 31 x 17 x 2.5 inches.


Read about my collaborations with my father in my essay “Some Observations about Frank Boyden as Collaborator and Accounts of His Book Projects at Crab Quill Press.”