Consider the Oyster
I first discovered M. F. K. Fisher’s Consider the Oyster in 2018 while browsing the cookbook section of the Mills College library. It was a first edition, and given the reverence held for Fisher, especially in the bay area, it should have been in the special collections department. Even though it was written in 1941, I was immediately struck by the passionate “foodie” sensibilities with which she waxed poetic about oysters. In fact, she made any modern writer of the subject seem incredibly boring. A serendipitous connection led me to be able to ask M. F. K. Fisher’s daughter, Kennedy Golden, directly for permission to print the work. Between then and now the press and all of its 50k pounds of equipment were moved to a new home in Southern Maryland. Following a year of construction, the new studio was powered up and production of Consider the Oyster was on its way.
Martin Mazorra is a Brooklyn based artist originally from West Virginia. He works chiefly in woodcut and letterpress, from small books, prints on paper, large prints on fabric, to site specific print-based installations. His work is in the collections of the Yale Beinecke Library, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Taubman Museum, the Block Museum, and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art.
His anthropomorphic illustrations for Consider the Oyster were drawn to capture the playful ways in which oysters in the book reveal the art of eating and the human experience, through humor and anecdotal ruminations.
The Prototype Press is based out of Southern Maryland. It is run by the owner/operator Mark Sarigianis. Collectors of the press might notice a by-line on the title page has changed from “Oakland, California” to “at Tranquility.” This refers to the new home and plot of land the press sits on, known to those intimate with it as ``Tranquility.’’
Consider the Oyster was printed on custom paper from the Saint-Armand paper mill. The book cover and clam-shell book box are covered in two additional papers from the mill. Quarterbound in white, foilstamped goat leather. A custom oyster shucking knife accompanies each book to assist with opening the book box. The typeface used for the text is 12pt Monotype Goudy Light. The blue headline typeface is handset Windsor Elongated in a variety of sizes. It is printed in an edition of 52 copies. Cast, printed and bound by the press.