Gaylord Schanilec: A Natural History - Gaylord Schanilec - 02/15/2019 - 5:00pm

Gaylord Schanilec: A Natural History

James Watrous Gallery

Internationally known for his exquisite color wood engravings, letterpress printing, and handmade books, Gaylord Schanilec has often focused his attention on the landscape, natural history, and culture of the upper Mississippi. This exhibition will include his four fine-press books (detailed below) focused on natural history—My Mighty Journey, by John Coy (2019), Lac Des Pleurs (2015), Sylvae (2007), and Mayflies of the Driftless Region (2005)—along with framed color wood engravings from each book and a wide selection of working materials.


Celebrate the opening of his exhibit at the James Watrous Gallery beginning at 5:00 PM. The artist will offer an informal gallery talk at 5:30. The exhibit runs from February 15, 2019 until April 7, 2019. Presented in partnership with the James Watrous Gallery and the Wisconsin Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters


My Mighty Journey: A Waterfall's Story 

(Hardcover: October 2019 from Minnesota Historical Society Press. The exhibit will feature a limited edition from Midnight Paper Sales.)

John Coy; designed, illustrated, type-set and printed by Gaylord Schanilec.

A picture book for ages 4-8 about the natural and cultural history of the falls on the Upper Mississippi River. Illustrated with a combination of color wood engravings and direct nature prints.


Lac des Pleurs: Report from Lake Pepin

(Midnight Paper Sales, Stockholm, Wisconsin, 2015. Limited edition only.)

A study of the 22-mile length of the upper Mississippi River known as Lake Pepin, with commentaries on passage through the lake by Louis Hennepin, George Featherstonehaugh, Henry Schoolcraft, George Catlin, Jonathan Carver, Zebulon Montgomery Pike, Charles Latrobe, Henry David Thoreau, Oliver Gibbs Jr., and Mark Twain. Introduction by Patrick Coleman; image captions and epilogue by Gaylord Schanilec. 76 hand-set and hand-printed pages illustrated with 9 color wood engravings, including a 2-by-3 foot folded map, 5 large foldout plates, and 30 electrotypes from Thaddeus Surber’s Fishes and Fish-Like Vertebrates of Minnesota (1920). Bound and boxed at Booklab II with cover paper marbled for the edition by Jemma Lewis.


Sylvae: Fifty specimens printed directly from the wood with historical anecdotes & observations

Gaylord Schanilec and Ben Verhoeven

(Midnight Paper Sales, Stockholm, Wisconsin, 2007. Large paper and standard editions.)

Sylvae documents every species of tree in the 20 acres of woods surrounding Schanilec’s Stockholm, Wisconsin, studio to create a work not only about these trees, but of them. Twenty-four species are catalogued through image, historical and silvicultural anecdotes, and notes taken during the cutting, milling, engraving and printing. 192 hand-set and hand-printed pages illustrated with fifty-three images, primarily reduction cuts from long-grain and end-grain specimens found on his property. The large paper edition includes 25 wood specimens. Bound at Booklab II in a laced board binding with quarter-sawn white oak boards and an alum-tanned goat skin spine. 


Mayflies of the Driftless Region 

Gaylord Schanilec with Clarke Garry

(Midnight Paper Sales, Stockholm, Wisconsin, 2005. Standard, special, and trade editions.)

Inspired by the engravings in Frederick Halford’s Dry Fly Entomology (1897), Schanilec undertook a careful microscopic study of mayfly specimens collected from streams near his home. His own detailed wood engravings, combined with identification notes by entomologist Dr. Clarke Garry, result in a book that captures the poetry of scientific investigation. 88 hand-set and hand-printed pages, with 14 color wood engravings. Bound in full chestnut morocco by Jill Jevne. Special edition: includes a portfolio of the same leather, with paper sides handmade by Mary Hark, includes proof sheets and an extra suite of the engravings, each titled & signed. Both volumes are housed in a slipcase with a glass window at the top revealing 8 flies hand-tied for the edition by David Lucca.

Gaylord Schanilec

Gaylord Schanilec

Best known for his color wood engravings, Gaylord Schanilec has set the standard for contemporary artist’s books over the last forty years. His widely collected and unique fine press books explore his interests and experiences as well as his hometown landscape and community. From farming culture and the waters of the Mississippi, to an exhaustive inventory of the twenty-four species of trees surrounding his Stockholm, Wisconsin studio, Schanilec’s wood engravings illustrate local landscapes, historical anecdotes, and his own playful investigations of natural science. Schanilec has also explored subjects far from home, including two books about New York City. Schanilec established his own press, Midnight Paper Sales, in 1980. Since then he has published more than twenty-five books under his imprint, and accepted numerous commissions including works for The Greynog Press in Wales and the Grolier Club of New York. Schanilec has been the recipient of numerous awards including the Carl Hertzog Award for excellence in book design and the Greynog Prize. He is an Honorary Member of the Double Crown Club and an active member of the Typophiles, the Ampersand Club, and the Fine Press Book Association. His work is represented in most major book arts collections in the United States and in the United Kingdom, and the archive of his working materials is held at the University of Minnesota

Recent Book
Lac des Pleurs: Report from Lake Pepin