Opening the Mouth of the Dead

By Catherine Woodard

Art by Margot Voorhies Thompson

Opening the Mouth of the Dead

Limited Edition Book Art

Fall 2017

Accordion format: 11.75 x 6.5 inches, closed, opening out to 11.75 inches x 18 feet

Clamshell Box: 12 x 6.75 inches, closed

Edition size: 59 numbered copies signed by author and artist

Limited Edition Book Art: $1,750.00

The central character in Catherine Woodard’s poems is a third-grade girl growing up in 1960s North Carolina who uses the ancient Egyptian Book of the Dead to navigate her complicated relationship with her father. Alive, he sometimes seems as dead as a mummy.

The 20 poems in the book art edition were selected from the 64 comprising the paperback edition.

The type and drawings were printed from polymer relief plates on a Vandercook 219 proofing press by SandyTilcock. She bound the book, designed and made the protective clamshell box.

Thompson provided original drawings that were scanned and adjusted in Photoshop to be suitable for polymer photogravure plates. The grace notes were cut in Rubylith, scanned and adjusted to size for the plates. A mezzotint by Perri Blitz was scanned for the box picture frame and enlarged by Tilcock for the end pages. Both are printed from a photogravure plate. An Epson 4880 ink jet printer was used to print the backgrounds from scans of papyrus.

The types are computer generated: Egyptienne for poem text and Post-Antiqua for titles. Once the layout was finalized the adjusted image files were sent to Intaglio Editions of Boulder, Colorado, where the polymer plates were made by Jon Lybrook. The plates were editioned by Tilcock and Nikolas Wise in the lone goose press studio. The text paper is Somerset Book, off-white, the backing pages are Bugra Evergreen, and the cover paper is Kitakata Green. The cloth on the box is Duo Laguna from Bamberger Kaliko Textiles.

For a listing of Catherine’s readings and appearances, visit

  • “Glyphs”

  • “Heart”