Wisconsin: Perishable Press, 1973-2007. The Gabberjabbs are particularly fine examples of the art of Walter Hamady - and they are the most elusive of his books. All but the last published, HUNKERING THE LAST GABBERJABB (8), are long out of print. Complete sets are offered infrequently. The artist / author / printer / publisher / designer, Walter Hamady, has been compared to Kurt Schwitters, as well as Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Cornell, Hamady has been a major influence on at least one generation of book artists. He is the recipient of numerous grants and awards and one-man and group exhibitions. He has been the subject of many articles, and his works are in most of this country's important rare book libraries, i.e. the Houghton, Yale, Getty Center, Newberry, Walker Art Center, Cleveland Institute of Art, as well as outside the U.S.: Bodleian Library, British Library, Klingspor Museum, Lenin Library, Royal Library Stockholm, Victoria & Albert, etc. For an insightful assessment of this series one should consult two essays propounding the many levels and layers involved: the first, by Mary Lydon in "Visible Language" Volume 25, Number 2/3 entitled, "The Book As The Trojan Horse of Art" and the second, by Roy R. Behrens in "Print" January / February 1997 entitled, "The Gift of Gabberjabbs."
1. Interminable Gabberjabbs (1), from an issue of 120 copies, all printed on (according to the bibliography) "a variety of Shadwell scraps in progressively different sizes." Hamady dedicated this book to his neighbor, Ivan Staley, who showed him how to use an ear-tattooing device for cows, which Hamady has used to number the copies in this edition. In return, Hamady showed Staley how to make paper. Page size: 11 x 6-1/2 inches down to 5-15/16 x 4 inches (with several in-between sizes) 26pp, 23 of which are printed. Bound: blue Fabriano Cover wrappers, U.S. Geologic Survey maps of Wisconsin, fine. PP#61, copy #25.
2. Hunkering in Wisconsin, Another Interminable Gaggerblabb (2), one of 125 copies, each copy numbered using the "nNasco hip tags" (tags pasted to the hip of livestock at auction). Page size: 8 ½ x 6 ¼ inches, 17 page surfaces, 11 printed in handset Palatino in flesh, red, grey-blue, purple, yellow, white and greenish-black. Bound: Nideggen paper cover with pasted on white label bordered in red with rubber-stamped "ig2" on label in black. Illustrated by Jack Beal Jack. Beal's tomatoes are omnipresent, casting their long shadows in this ode to joy from Hamady, dedicated to the fruits of the summer garden, fine. PP#62, copy #87.
3. Thumbnailing the Hilex / Gabberjabb Number 3. One of fewer than 125 copies, this copy inscribed by the author on the front flyleaf, "for the JF / Holla by Golli / Buh /Wha Ma Holli / and for Mo and fer / the water Ouzel and / Shallows @ the Bridge" above a flourish and heart, also signed by the printer / publisher "Voltaire (the) Hamady / 72" on 8th leaf, above the text "to be continued with one about VP Romus in Hampstead or a pair about cats or another one like the one that started this series." The 69th book of the Press, the third in the Gabberjabbs series, was to be limited to 125 copies, however the author printer notes that due to "playing around with glue & cutting dies & ink there is a shortage" all on smooth Frankfurt Cream paper "with the chain lines going the wrong way" (printer's notes in bibliography), housed in green cloth over boards clamshell box. Page size: 15 x 7-½ inches; 20 page surfaces, 9 printed. Bound by the author / printer: hand sewn into green Canson MI-Teintes wrappers with title extravagantly and elegantly printed on front panel in light grey, housed in custom-made green cloth over boards clamshell box. Illustrated by Jack Beal with a wood engraving printed in green on grey Shadwell of a grape leaf with tan paper ribbon streamers affixed to circular "grape leaf" as if a county or state fair prize ribbon. The paper ribbon streamers were originally meant to extend below the pages of the book but this plan abandoned sometime into the edition by the printer / publisher. Printed in Sabon-Antiqua type in brown, blind, blue, green, beige, maroon & black. With cut-out rondel to reveal "grape leaf" badge and colophon printed vertically above a splendid decorative device forming border for library card modified with the pub date stamped in red, and the number "9" rubber-stamped in black, the edge of the card itself cutout with man's profile. At first glance, this appears to be a rather straight-forward press book. In fact, it is extremely complicated and one of the most original and beautiful books from The Perishable Press and the inimitable Walter Hamady. PP#69, copy #9.
4. The Interminable Gabberjabb: Volume One (&) Number Four. One of 60 copies, a "smaller than usual" edition, all on a mix of Nideggen, Frankfurt Cream & Canson MI-Teintes of varying sizes, this copy inscribed by the author / printer / designer on the final blank, "For James F. Hollygabbers / with unnecessary special / attentions from his pen / [heart] Walter (the) H." Page size: 6-½" x 5-1/8 and 10 inches; 24 page surfaces, 14 printed in Palatino, "infiltrated by Augustea filettata and Weiss and printed in green, white, black, red, blue, pink, pastel orange, yellow, gold & purple. Bound: hand-sewn in tan paper wrappers, with Perishable Press rondel device in Arabic debossed on front panel, fine. Illustrated with two photographs by Gregory Conniff: the first of a seated pregnant Mary Hamady and the second of Walter Hamady, seated looking at his cat sprawled on a Bijar carpet in the Hamady's home. The text includes Hamady's well-known "100% Bastard Title Page" and "Notes & Appendix" with image of appendix. Hamady's verse, "clean glass windows and your view of the world" is dazzling - like clean glass! PP#70, apparently not numbered.
5. For the Hundredth Time Gabberjabb Number Five / 10 & 17 November 1980 Journal Liftings by Walter Hamady for Mother's Day. One of 200 copies on various Shadwell (Hamady's own handmade) papers, as well as mold and machine-made) each with an "extra title page for librarians to do their special graffito." Page size: 7 x 5-1/2 inches, 38 page surfaces, 21 printed + 12-page book of footnotes, 11 of which are printed, in envelope on 34th page. Bound by the printer/publisher: brown cardboard exposed spine. Illustrated by Walter Hamady. Pages are printed, collaged, rubber stamped, drilled, notched, pigment patterned, (ticket) punched, grommeted, scribed, ear tattooed, drawn, camouflaged or time clocked and every cover is different. The text was set in Gill Sans Serif and Bifur and printed letterpress in black blue, brown, pink, white, blind & transparent inks on ten different Shadwell scraps. Mr. Hamady describes this as "one of the funnest books to make & is a favorite." in his bibliography of The Perishable Press. PP#100, Copy 14,647 (apocryphal).
6. Neopostmodernism or Dieser Rasen ist kein Hundeklo or Gabberjabb Number 6. One of 100 copies, this copy with hand-written colophon on blue paper, annotated and signed by the binders Marta Gomez and Ken Kasuboske as well as Walter Hamady and inscribed by Hamady to his friends, Holly and Elspeth Pope and signed "XX00 / W". Page size: 7-1/6 x 9-7/16 inches; 118 page surfaces all printed, perforated, drawn, cut, die-cut, rubberstamped, collaged, torn, and bitten by the author. Printed using eighteen typefaces in eighty-eight colors on variegated Shadwell papers handmade in the barn. Written and illustrated by Walter Hamady. Bound: sewn by Marta Gomez in six signatures on six cords and bound by Kent Kasuboske into former Tax - Roll - Records - Marbled-Covers retrieved from the Wisconsin Historical Society. The bibliography notes that, "All printed, perforated, drawn, cut, die-cut, rubber-stamped, collaged, taped, debossed, grommeted, ponce-wheeled, signed, notarized, numbered, notched, torn, and bitten by the author, fine. The author / artist has created a book that refers back to his first, THE DISILLUSIONED SOLIPSIST - as well as the previous five GABBERJABBS. The reader is obliged to read and re-read letters jammed together, set on different angles, interspersed with images (or are they?) as Hamady plays with texts, bookmaking and the book form itself. PP #113, copy #40.
7. Travelling or NeoPostModrinPreMortemism or Dieser Rasen ist kein Hundeklo (II) or Interminable Gabberjabb Number Seven. One of 125 copies, this copy with inscription by Walter Hamady on the verso of the front free endpaper explaining this copy was cased in by amateur bookbinder "Hamady", all copies on various papers (hand, mold and machine made) numbered at least 19 times and signed and/or annotated at least 10, employing an "unthinkable number" of typefaces, ink colors, and press runs. Also signed by Mary Lydon, Professor of French, granting Walter Hamady to use and quote from her essay, The Book as the Trojan Horse of Art: Walter Hamady, The perishable Press Limited and Gabberjabs 1-6…" Also signed by the artist / author / printer / publisher's wife, Anna Hamady. Also signed by Kenneth Bernard after his essay, The War of the Footnotists…" With "Front Matter": "1. Just about all books start out from an idea. 2. Everything in the world is waiting to become a book. 3. Before ideas can be read they need to become words..." Page size: 10-1/4" x 7-1/4" (164cm x 184cm), 154 pages. Bound by the printer/publisher: old paper maps over boards (no two alike) this a topographic map of land on either side of the Platte and Little Platte Rivers on the Iowa-Wisconsin border, the town of Paris IO, labeled Potosi, WIS. Pages are printed, collaged, rubber stamped, drilled, notched, pigment patterned, (ticket) punched, grommeted, scribed, ear tattooed, drawn, camouflaged or time clocked. The printer/publisher/author/artist tells us that this No. 7 GAEBBERJABB also involves, "...iconoclasm/craft, art/daily life and sophistication grounded in physiology and earthiness...a reflective vehicle in its ability to break and intersect narrative lines, play with syntax, integrate found materials, convey enigma, paradox and information all at once." PP#122, copy #20.
8. Hunkering, the Last Gabberjabb Number Eight and IX/XVIths or Aleatory Annexations... One of 108 copies on various papers (hand, mold, machine-made and even crush or mull) numbered (six times) and signed by the author / publisher / designer / printer, Walter Hamady, twice, with original invoice from Hamady to subscriber. Page size: 10-1/8 x 7 inches; 160pp. Bound: brown cloth over boards with rondel / cameo in dark blue in middle of binding with silhouette of Hamady within triple-ruled frame containing author's name and The Perishable Press Ltd., marbled endpapers, new. An extraordinary book, the sub-title "Aleatory Annexations" more than a clue to its nature (aleatory as pertaining to the chance writing of the surrealists) The front "blank" is a base map (different in each copy) from the U.S. Geological Survey. Sheets with a poem by Ruth Evans (Hamady's grandmother) printed on the verso with blind stamp copyright notice centered at bottom of page; title (eight titles listed as follows) on p. [iv] reading "HUNKERING" in red followed by "Largely by Walter Samuel Haatoum Hamady / augmented by Henrik Drescher. Patrick Flynn. David McLimans. Peter Sis and William Stafford. PP Announcement of Projected Titles, copy #35. Item #11280