Brocade in the Dark of Night evolved directly my previous book Floating Bridge of Dreams which is one of the two books in my Japan Project. With a desire to repurpose the remaining sheets of that book and curious as to the aleatoric effect of folding the original sheets and thus changing them from their initial juxtapositions I took one set of all of the leftover offset printed sheets from Floating Bridge . . . and folded them in half, then inserted these folios to make one signature. I was completely surprised to find that the random ordering in fact gave a fearfully symmetrical rendition. Crossovers created from separate pages were rendered in almost mirror-like symmetry. The kaleidoscopic patterns I had created from photographs of our backyard garden were thus given a further boost from this mirroring. The results are visually stunning, with photographs morphing into abstract lines and forms. The patterns are offset printed in metallic inks of varying transparency and color shifts which lend the underlying photographs an hallucinatory effect.
The title, Brocade in the Dark of Night, comes from a phrase in The Tale of Genji by Murasaki Shikibu – “Autumn leaves that fall in the mountains, with no one to see them, are like
brocade in the dark of night.” To me this phrase embodies the often melancholic and dark images of the book.
I offset printed the cover and endsheets on Astrobright Black paper with metallic inks. This was a direct intervention on the press, as I could not create the images completely in the digital realm. There is no way to predict the exact effect of metallic inks on the computer. Only on the press, with ink on paper, will the true results occur.
The book is case bound with the signature sewn to a hinge which is glued into the spine. This binding allows for a book that lies perfectly flat.
I took all the photographs, offset printed the sheets on a Heidelberg GTO (eine farben), and bound all the books by hand.
Brad Freeman is a photographer, book artist, and offset printer who has been making his own artist’s books since 1980. He founded JAB, the Journal of Artists’ Books in 1994 to provide a forum for critical discussion of artists’ books. His book Wrong Size Fits All was a finalist for the 2011 MCBA Book Prize.