31 years and still going strong, Esther K. Smith and Dikko Faust, founders of Purgatory Pie Press, continue to churn out their limited-edition, annual datebooks. Made from found materials, the 2012 edition features recycled nautical maps, leather scraps from the Garment District and extras from a large order of small, inter-office envelopes. A convenient size and made by hand, the unique books make the perfect gift.
Each year’s limited edition datebook has a unique design to keep collectors surprised and coming back. 2012’s distinguishing feature is an envelope that is stitched into the signature and serves as a pocket for receipts, stamps, postcards or any other small objects that might otherwise get lost in stacks of papers. It was inspired by their daughter Polly who they expect to receive plenty of hand-written postcards from as she is currently studying in Paris. The fun nautical maps that are the base for the pages were found on the street and the leather that makes up the cover comes straight from New York’s fashion district. Smith creates closures using whatever scraps she finds lying around the studio- buttons, leather, wood, string- that add a unique, individual flare sure to distinguish your datebook from one anyone else may have.
The 2012 edition is limited to 36 and is about 5″ x 6″, a convenient size to carry around with you everywhere. It retails at $112 and can be ordered by email (Esther@PurgatoryPiePress.com). For a very personalized option, you can donate your own old leather scraps to be used as the cover!
The Purgatory Pie Press began in Madison, Wisconsin in 1977 but soon moved to New York City when, in 1980, it merged with the E K Smith Museum, a museum of found art. The first official collaboration between Dikko and Esther was a project to produce their wedding invitation. With reuse serving as a strong undercurrent in all projects since the beginning, the couple continues to incorporate found objects into their work.
The Purgatory Pie Press Studio, located in Tribeca, is filled with vintage presses and scraps of all shapes and sizes that have been amassed over the years, calling for play and creativity to transform them back to life. Both Faust and Smith bring their unique talents to make the most of available materials. Through several connections, Faust found the heavy-duty, vintage Peerless Gem press, among others. He passes on his knowledge through various letterpress classes at the School of Visual Arts (SVA). Smith is more focused on the book arts, teaching and practicing everything from binding to creating flip books. If lucky, you may have the chance to join one of her Artist Books classes at Cooper Union. She has also published several how-to books that are perfect for those looking for a little guidance in their DIY approach. Her titles include Magic Books & Paper Toys, The Paper Bride and How to Make Books.
Aside from teaching, the duo merge their talents to design and print logos, letterheads, invitations, custom books and cards. They produced the wood type logo for the Greenlight Bookstore in Fort Green, Brooklyn and have worked with many other returning clients over the years. InstaBOOKS is a subscription-based way to collect work from the Press. With each mailing, subscribers receive single pieces of paper- some are reversible, some are sculptural, some open up to full size prints. The Press has had solo exhibitions at the Metropolitan Museum and London’s Victoria & Albert and has work in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, the Whitney, the Tate, the Walker Art Museum and the National Gallery of Art. And of course, their work is also in the hands of several dedicated followers, many of whom loyally rely on the Press for their yearly datebook.
To experience Purgatory Press’s unique works for yourself, visit their open studio at 19 Hudson Street #403 for a special Holiday Market from 2-5pm on Sunday, December 11, Friday December 16 and Saturday, December 17.