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A Closer Look -- Orchard Volume Two: Not Seen | Not Said

Not Seen | Not Said
The second volume of Orchard series, Not Seen | Not Said, contains photographs by Raymond Meeks and Wes Mills, along with the minimalist drawings of Mills. The book shows Mills wandering in a barren land as Meeks follows, documenting the artist's inquisitive steps with his camera. The photographs were taken by Meeks between 2008-2010 in two locations, an orchard owned by Mills' family (apropos to the series title) and the John Day fossil beds near Kimberly, Oregon. Accompanying Meeks' photographs are 17 reproductions of text and drawings by Mills. Lovingly and carefully printed on green colored paper though also seemingly aged and discolored, they have been tipped into the books pages after binding. The cover of Not Seen | Not Said is a silver halide transparency of one of Meeks' portraits of Mills in the fossil beds and is straight-stitched onto the front of the book with, what the publisher calls, a "really big sewing machine and steady hands."

From Not Seen | Not Said
Like the first volume of Orchard, the book is available in three versions: Contributor, Sustainer and Patron. Accompanying both the Sustainer and Patron editions is a second book titled India, containing images photographed by Mills in 2007 while on a motorcycle trip around the country. Aesthetically and rhythmically, the images feel like they could have been made by Meeks had he been along for the journey. Mills' photographs, although not a travelogue or documentary project, provide a realistic and sincere perspective of India and the people he encountered. For the Sustainer version, Not Seen | Not Said is presented along with India in a slipcase with a hand typeset letterpress cover, like the cover of India.

Sustainer edition -- Not Seen | Not Said and India
The deluxe version of the three editions, the Patron version, includes both Not Seen | Not Said and India along with an original drawing by Wes Mills and a silver gelatin print by Raymond Meeks. The print by Meeks is an outtake from the book, and although showing bias here as I have not yet seen it, I'm sure it will be both a beautiful image and print. Mills' drawing will be presented in a custom-made wood frame sized to match the book. Instead of presenting a simple reproduction, Mills is cutting out the elements of his drawing and attaching them to the paper, effectively creating each piece by hand. All of these elements will be gathered and presented in a handmade cloth-covered slipcase.

Patron edition -- Not Seen | Not Said, India, and framed Wes Mills drawing
The pairing of Silas Finch and Raymond Meeks for the Orchard series has allowed both partners to join their passion, sweat and love of bookmaking to bring to fruition the top-quality artist's books they strive to create. These publications are indeed book fetish objects, designed to be intimately acquainted with as you look through the silver halide cover, lift the tipped in plates of Mills' drawings, read the poems and wind through the hand crafted object. If you are so lucky to possess the Patron version, the journey also includes delicately holding the Meeks' print up to the light, watching the silver shimmer as it is lit from side to side, exploring all the tones in the gelatin print and proudly hang the understated and exquisite framed Mills drawing on the wall.

From India
The first volume of Orchard with photographs by Raymond Meeks and Deborah Luster is sold out in the Contributor version, but as of today a few copies of the Sustainer and Patron editions are still available. The Orchard series is on going and would be a wonderful addition to any library. The Contributor and Sustainer versions of Not Seen | Not Said, like the first volume of the Orchard series, are available in an edition of 100 and 75, respectively. The Patron version, however, has only been produced in an edition of 15 (the Patron version of the first volume was 25). All three versions are sure to sell out quickly. The publication date is tentatively scheduled at June 30th, although there may be a few production delays considering the meticulous quality of the production. We are happily reserving copies now. -- Melanie McWhorter

Pre-order a copy of the book here.