Thee Hellbox Press

Private Press of Book Artist, Hugh Barclay

The Paradise Project by Merilyn Simonds

Merilyn Simonds has written a series of short stories, destined to become lifelong favourites for those lucky enough to read them. The stories are concerned with gardens–though not in the usual way–and with the somewhat bizarre and deeply human urge towards paradise. Many of you will know Merilyn from her nonfiction classic The Convict Lover, her collection of real-life short fiction, The Lion In The Room Next Door, her novel The Holding or her memoir, A New Leaf: Growing with my Garden. Her writing is lyrical, insightful, provocative, and highly original, with a voice that both whispers and insists. Even when I warned Merilyn that she was dealing with an innovating, outside-the-box and somewhat rebel publisher, she was still willing to have Thee Hellbox Press publish her equally innovative and difficult-to-categorize flash fictions.

type set at Thee Hellbox PressI have been working on the design, typesetting, and letterpress printing of these 64 pages for some eight months. We are near the end of the printing and hope to put the press to bed on July 15, 2012. What we will have is a 64-page book, hand-set in 14 pt. Garamond Roman, printed on an 1890, 8 x 12 Chandler/Price press on Saint-Armand’s “salad” paper (cream coloured mould-made paper). Erik Mohr has created 14 outstanding lino-cut prints that we have over-printed to make them integral with the text. Paper artist Emily Cook has created handmade endpapers to capture both the garden and paradise in an impressionistic style, using plant material from Merilyn’s garden. All materials are acid-free to insure longevity of this book as art. The covers will be wrapped in Japanese Ajisai Gold, which translates as Gold Hyacinth.

Reserve a copy

A limited edition of 290 numbered copies were case bound by the Smith Falls Book binders. The book sells for $150.00. Anyone wishing to purchase a copy should e-mail Merilyn Simonds at or visit our ‘Buy a Book‘ page for more payment options.

Handmade illustrations for The Paradise Project

Update (July 16/12)

First images of the complete book, with the gorgeous hand-made endpapers.

handmade endpapers

Book - cover and inside

5 thoughts on “The Paradise Project by Merilyn Simonds

  1. The press has been put to bed in grand style, complete with Lagavulin and shirts-inside-out.

  2. Great job Hugh, you have a lot of energy to make a project like this come to fruition. Congrats, have a beautiful launch!

  3. dorothyanneb on said:

    So beautiful….

  4. I have added The Paradise Project to my staff picks with hopes of increasing traffic (and sales!) to your website. Check it out:

  5. Brendan on said:

    Glad to hear the cheesecake was tasty Hugh. It was a pleasure to take a look at your work. Best regards from your new friends at Sipps.

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