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Monday, July 21, 2014

Tests for Colour-Blindness

Here is an example of the beauty and practicality of the physical book.  Tests for Colour-Blindness by S. Ishihara was published by Kanehara Shuppan Co., Ltd, Tokyo, in 1969.


This book is plain blue cloth on the outside, and fits neatly into its own slipcase.   Inside, the book holds 24 individual color plates, each neatly tucked into its own blank black page by fitting the corners of the plates into slits in the pages.

As the title indicates, the book is used to test patients' ability to see colors.  When I went to the eye doctor for an exam recently, she used this same book.
 This is an accordion book - when opened all the way up, the pages of the book can spread across the room to take up twelve feet of space.


A booklet accompanies the main book, explaining how to administer the tests, and cautions, "It is important that the book of test plates should be kept closed, except during use, because undue exposure to sunlight causes a fading of the colour of the plates."

Monday, July 14, 2014

Greetings

My friend sometimes shops at the Goodwill by-the-pound store, otherwise known as "The Bins."  I've been to The Bins a couple of times, but the shopping experience is not for me.  Not surprisingly as a used book dealer, I'm a proponent of re-use, recycling, and buying used, but the couple of times I've been I've always wished I had worn gloves and felt like I needed a shower afterward.

Giant wheeled bins are filled with piles of clothes, household goods, and, yes, books.  The customers are a mix of regular people, dealers, and crazy people, particularly those after books.  My friend usually concentrates on vintage clothing and she's found some good scores, like a Pendleton jumper, or a tapestry of a pastoral scene that she re-purposed into a skirt.  When she found this scrapbook, she passed it on to me.

This scrapbook also included a number of loose items, yet-to-be-pasted, which makes it a candidate for the "found in books" category.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Typographic Awareness

This is a really cool set of three staple-bound books of black and white photographs of street images containing lettering.  The books have no publishing information, except for the title and this note printed around the edge of the front cover in English and in French:  "little things you may have missed while on your way to work - typographic awareness series - esler's commissioned errol etienne to create & execute this series / regarder sans voir... une activité quotidienne - la collection éveil typographique."

I like how the French words "regarder sans voir" translate as "to look without seeing" - how often do we do that?  Well, it's "une activite quotidienne," or in English, daily activity.

The images depicted on the covers of the three books are an ampersand, a thermometer, and a manhole cover. Here are some images:





I did find this about the artist on Wikipedia: 

Errol Herbert Russel Étienne (1941 - 2011) was an artist in many media including watercolor, oil and acrylic painting. His watercolors can be found in museums, travelling exhibitions as well as in private collections. Much of his bright and animated work was inspired by his time living in the Florida Keys."
 These publications truly inspire typographic awareness - now look and see, as well.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Etsy Vintage

Not surprisingly I am very fond of cool old vintage items, not just books (though books are my favorite).  I recently added some non-book articles to  Pistil Books Etsy Shop.

Large plastic sign letters make cool three-dimensional wall art:

I love the brightly colored graphics in this Instructo Classification Game, an educational toy from the sixties.  Teaches children the difference between zoo animals, hats, and milk cartons.


The Our Universe Space Kit, published by the National Geographic Society, contains a silver and black cardboard "spacescope" to be punched out and assembled, along with a flexi disc recording of space sounds, 3-d glasses, and other far out goodies.


As an Etsy seller, I am a member of the Etsy Vintage Team, where you can find other great vintage stuff in all categories.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Found in Books, Yet Again

Not long ago, Sean and I were doing a book buy at a woman's house.  She was moving and was selling her pretty nice collection of books on eastern religion, psychology, body work, and the like. I flipped through a book to check for marking and two hundred dollar bills fell out.  A couple of other books also had money bookmarks, and they weren't mere dollar bills either.  Of course we returned the money to woman who was quite grateful and now our found-in-books karma has benefited.  Alas, no money of late, but check out these treasures:


One thing we found in a book titled "Reproduction in Farm Animals," was a love letter, which may be a little too personal to include in the photo, but here's an excerpt:  "Do you see that I am terribly in love with you and terribly obsessed with you?  Make sure you take responsibility for this state of my heart.  Let's see whose poison is more poisonous!"  There was also a photo of the young lovers as Disney characters.

The fortune teller card is one of my favorite pieces, and obviously applies to me:  "You have a brilliant mind and enjoy reading and the fine arts."
Drop another coin in slot and I will tell more.

Another favorite is the business card, how's this for a job title:


This little dragon is made from paper cut-outs and is really quite lovely.

Here's a bookmark from a store with 89 parking spaces - that's 88 more than Pistil has!


Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Spring Sale

Spring is here!  This is a very beautiful time of year in Seattle, with blossoming trees and flowers, bright green grass and new leaves, lots of bird activity, and alternating sun and rain, or both at the same time.

In honor of spring, and as a method of doing some spring cleaning to make room on our full shelves, Pistil Books is having a 20% Off Sale through the month of April for all books ordered directly from us.

We have many books on springtime activities like gardening, and outdoor recreation.  Our entire inventory is included in the sale, however.


Friday, March 28, 2014

Oulipo George Washington

Oulipo is a group of French writers (from the first letters of Ouvroir de littérature potentielle, "workshop of potential literature"), founded in the sixties, who use structural writing constraints to create their work.  The constraints used are often mathematical - for instance, in a poem written using the "snowball" technique, the first line is one word long, the second line has two words, and so on.

But wait, here is a presidential biography for children from 1893, far ahead of its time:

Life of George Washington in Words of One Syllable.

George is depicted on the cover standing in a very small boat with a couple other guys standing also, wearing funny hats and crossing some river full of very large chunks of ice.  
 First interior color plate shows a young pansy with a frilly neck-tie, axe at feet, a skinny tree half cut to his left, being scolded by a large man dressed in tights with a bow in his hair hiding a riding crop from boy's view. 
Almost the entire book is written in one syllable words; when they are more they are hy-phen-ate-ed, so you can learn the lies and whitewashed untruths of our beleagured nation one quarter word at a time.  

Nice cigarette burn on cover as mom refreshed her martini putting little Tommy to bed.  Cursive inscription inside front cover "... from Grammer, Sept. 1974."  Apparently the world was bathed in innocence at this time.