Ellen Knudson, “American Breeding Standards”

Cover with pop-up revealing the open mouth. Pictured with slip-case enclosure.


Interior pages displayed with slip case enclosure.


Interior spread with illustration. Diagram of “A Bad Horse” with indication of inferior qualities. The “good horse” is printed in mint green behind the “bad horse”.


Detail image of the title flag and illustration of the “coat of arms”. The illustration is drawn from collaged images of female models’ arms from fashion magazines.


Image of a foldout spread of the book. Illustration of the four types of stomachs a person can have. One normal, three created through bariatric surgeries. The female figure is transparent and her digestive tract is exposed. She is commenting, “This is getting stupid.”


Artist: Ellen Knudson (Gainesville, FL)

Title: American Breeding Standards

Medium/technique(s): Images and text letterpress printed from photo-polymer plates and handset metal types

Edition size: 60

Number of pages: 72

Dimensions, open: 8”H x 10”W x 1/2″D; 16”H x 10”W x 1/2″D (with fold-out opened)

Dimensions, closed: 8”H x 5”W x 1”D


Artist Statement:

The work produced by crooked letterpress is the synthesis of images and words in the form of letterpress printed handmade books and printed matter.

In all of the work produced by the crooked letterpress, a visual environment is created in which the reader/viewer is an active participant; the typography is to be viewed, the imagery to be read, and vice versa. The choices of text, imagery, materials, and binding structure are made entirely in support of the environment of the printed piece.

“I’m interested in the distillation of a subject using typography and image within the book form. Reading is a sequential and time-based process. My interest in the book lies in the opportunity to explore and direct a reader’s progression through text and image. I also revel in the craft of book art: the exploration of materials, and the effort to strike a balance between artistic and practical choices. Those processes involve intimacy and acute observation. That is ultimately what my work is about.”

American Breeding Standards explores the systemized rules about what comprises a good or bad horse, a good or bad woman — and the steps one might take to achieve the breed standard

American Breeding Standards is designed and letterpress printed on Zerkall Book by Ellen Knudson, Crooked Letter Press. Images and text printed from photo-polymer plates and handset metal types. The binding structure is an exposed spine sewn on Cave Paper tapes and attached to paste paper covered boards. The book was produced in 2012–2013 and printed by the artist in Gainesville, Florida. Text excerpted from American Horses and Horse Breeding (John Dimon, 1895) and Canine Breeding Standards of the German Shepherd (American Kennel Club, 2012). Other text and illustrations by the artist.

The cover of the book has a hinged pop-up that folds out. The interior of the book contains 3 foldout pages.