On Craft

At Brighton Press, our aim is to use and enrich the elements and forms that a book possesses to translate thoughts, feelings, images, and information to the viewer in the form of a journey. The idea behind the book is central to all aesthetic and practical decisions made during its creation. The craft should push the idea forward rather than be used to call attention to itself. When readers enter our books, we want them to experience the physical reality of the book as part of the concept behind it—something to encourage involvement and dreaming. This participation helps readers forget about us as makers while they are inside the book. After that, the artisanship provides evidence of our commitment to the work and its concept. The craft behind the book involves complex and time-consuming processes, giving us the opportunity to reflect on all of the ways we can imbue the structure (one that is taken for granted and trusted by most people) with layers of underlying, related, sensual experience. It also gives the book lasting power.

—Michele Burgess, Director

One move allows another and so goes the process. A mistake may be forgotten, or may hold a place of special significance, however, it is inevitable and only adds to the memory or muscle reflex of how ideas come into being. Mistakes and steps and time, conversations, corrections of course, new direction and analysis, all in the name of craft. A sense of well-being or uncertainty is felt as others before us laid claim to the same territory. The discipline is unimportant, it cannot make a thing art or artistry, but the sense of building and accomplishment is the stuff of exploration and in the arts it is the one thing that anyone who practices a method, whatever it might be, knows—that to fail at the craft is to not fully realize a form. Success, on the other hand, is the lightness of realization and the ease of accepting one's work. I feel grateful that the work becomes an idea, seen, sensed, and felt by others. I am not certain I can explain this struggle of craft but I know it is part of the process.

—Bill Kelly, Founder