(Northampton, MA): Apiary Press, 1961. Oblong quarto. (10)ff., + single letterpress sheet laid in. One of twenty-five copies signed by the illustrator, Joyce Sills. This copy bears a presentation inscription from Sills to social-realist artist Ben Shahn and his wife, Bernarda. The colophon notes that the Shahns' son, Ezra, had a part in the production of this book. Completed under the Apiary Press imprint, the name given to works produced by Leonard Baskin's students when he taught at Smith College, this work contains ten etchings of spiders, including one printed in green. Sills went on to enjoy a reputation as an award-winning printmaker.
In a handsome designer binding by Sonya Sheats of full green Oasis morocco with enamel onlays. The binding features an abstract relief pattern formed by pressing the design into the leather using engraved plastic panels. Across both panels are a series of circular onlays of enamel-colored calf. The overall design is a series of concentric circles surrounded by perpendicular lines, which one can see as either a spider's web, or reminiscent of the shape of the spider's abdomen. The design for the covers is taken directly from the decorative endsheets, which show a web pattern made with India ink and thread. Housed in a slipcase of walnut veneer over plastic, which made the artist "think of a box in which one might store specimens," with a plastic sliding tab engraved with the book's title. Protected by a blue microsuede pouch. An uncommon book with a great association in an elegant modern binding. Item #23579