Monday, September 20, 2010

Tom Killion at the Book Club of California

Tom Killion: Tamalpias Walking: Poetry, History and Prints

In a new collaboration by the authors of the bestselling The High Sierra of California, readers are introduced to the unique mountain overlooking San Francisco Bay. A source of story and myth since time began, Mt. Tamalpais has inspired conservationists, trail builders, botanists, artists, and poets for more than a century. With freshness and sustained delight, Tamalpais Walking explores Mt. Tamalpais s natural, cultural, historic, and spiritual dimensions. It is a book shaped by two master craftsmen collaborating on an enterprise nurtured by long and passionate involvement. The artwork is the product of Tom Killion s decades of depicting and interpreting the mountain s many moods and aspects.

Gary Snyder has been hiking Mt. Tamalpais since 1948, and through poetry and a new, revealing essay he offers his thoughts on the mountain, its history, and the practice of walking meditation. Further enriched with Killion s essays on the mountain s history and selections from the work of Jack Kerouac, Ina Coolbrith, Kenneth Rexroth, and Lew Welch, Tamalpais Walking takes us deep into Mt. Tamalpais' pathways, offering original, revelatory views of a mountain prominent not just on the landscape but in the history and imagination of the West Coast.    

Tom Killion: Born and raised in Mill Valley, California, Killion was inspired from an early age by Japanese art, particularly by the works  of Japanese artists, Hokusai and Hiroshige. In his walks and travels around California (especially Mt. Tamalpias),  he sketches at the site. Later, back in his studio, he used his Japanese carving  tools to create wood and linoleum block prints

"The art of multi-color block printing is so demanding that to an outsider it seems almost cruel in the servitude it requires. To execute a print such as “Bolinas Ridge to Point Montara” Tom Killion had to carve fifteen separate wood blocks and commit himself to 300 hours of meticulous labor. One might expect the result to look overworked, but behold the miracle: a scene of startling freshness and radiance. Flowers sparkle in the foreground, trees bend to the wind, waves crash around sea stacks, clouds scuttle past distant mountains, and three birds hover in a world of clarity and delight, a world vibrant and distinct, a world that evokes wonder and gladdens the heart, a world alive, alive, alive."   

Book Club of California
Founded in 1912 by a group of SF bibliophiles, it has included a long roster of San Francisco's finest among it's members. Membership is limited to 1000 people (per their website) and there is a long waiting list. For a mere, you get the newsletter, access to events and the privilege of belonging to a distinguished group of book lovers. Only two hundred and twenty five books have been published in the last century, under the imprimatur of the Book Club of California. Each one is a masterpiece of the printer's art, a collector's item and a joy to look at and read.

The NY TImes has an article on "niche" book stores. I suppose you could consider the Book Club a kind of niche book store but it's much more. Without organizations like this, the art of fine book making would be an even more endangered craft than it already is:

Book Club of California
312 Sutter Street, Suite 510
San Francisco, CA 94108-4377
800-869-7656   415-781-7532
Open: Mondays through Fridays 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
current exhibit up through September 30th


dargie said...

Those really are lovely.

namastenancy said...

If you check out Amazon, there are a lot of his books for sale at prices that fit our budget. I have bought a lot of cards with his work on them and can't bear to part with them.