Aug 20, 2018
Kickshaws is a private press founded in Paris in 1979 by John Crombie, and Sheila Bourne who often produces artwork for the books. Together they have hand-printed more than 150 small books. The design, typography and materials used to create Kickshaws publications are unusual. As a result it's difficult to define exactly what they are. Among other things, they display a wide range of type-faces and designs, letterpress printing in multiple colours, and unusual formats and bindings, including plastic comb-bindings that enable the pages of a book to be turned in different sequences. As for content, most of the books contain Crombie's poetry or fiction or his translations of French humorist/absurdist writers. These including Samuel Beckett, Alphonse Allais and Pierre Henri Cami. The artwork includes drawings, linocuts and images printed from a variety of different materials including string and wallpaper. Kickshaws publishes books in both French and English.
I met with John at his atelier in Charité-sur-Loire, south of Paris. Subjects covered include children's books, UNESCO, Edward Gorey, origins of the word 'Kickshaws', French humorists, Raymond Queneau, One Hundred Thousand Billion Poems, Bertram Rota, Charlene Garry and the Basilisk Press, enthusiasm, multi-choice stories, combining inks, using wallpaper, life intersecting with work, Montparnasse and the Marché de la Poésie in Paris