'A way of life': practising place in the small press
This thesis is a study of place in the practice and publications of three small presses: Moschatel Press, Coracle Press and Corbel Stone Press. Practice is central to my approach, both in situating place as something practised, unfinished and ongoing, and in the repetitive everyday acts that make running a press ‘a way of life’. I examine the ways in which small press practice shapes and responds to a variety of places. Beginning with the home, the thesis moves gradually outwards to larger-scale spaces: the local area, public spaces, the wider landscape. The thesis is founded upon the press model as one of collaboration, both between artists, and with the places they inhabit. Chapter One establishes the domestic space as central to the activities and publications of the press. The home is a site of production enmeshed with the everyday, and is the intended habitat of many small press pieces. I trace the influence of domestic intimacy and tactility across small press poetics, and the importance of ‘the domestic scale’ is foregrounded throughout the thesis. Chapter Two is an exploration of small press localness. I build upon the domestic chapter to examine how the local is shaped by its relationship to the home. I frame small press localness as distinctly embodied, examining the charting of local places on foot and the gathering of texts and objects by hand. Chapter Three examines site-specific work, exploring the presence of small press pieces in public, communal spaces. I focus particularly upon the hospital-based works of Thomas A Clark, and how they provoke questions around attention, contemplation and care. The chapter closes by reflecting upon how these pieces facilitate thinking about the more- than-human. Chapter Four sustains a focus upon the more-than-human to explore the small press relationship with the wider landscape. The chapter scrutinises an ambivalent attitude towards books as a means of relating to and recording landscapes. I consider work across deep timescales and study the embodied landscape-based practices of Corbel Stone Press, such as burial and the leaving of offerings.