Sylph Editions was established in 2006. It came about as a natural expansion of our design studio, which specializes in book design and frequently works with other publishers. The events that led to the setting up of the press clearly illustrate the main objectives and ideas. It began with the artist Jila Peacock. She had produced a spectacular silkscreen, hand-printed book with ten shape-poems from Hafez, the great 14th century Persian master. She approached us to turn her limited edition book (50 copies) into a more readily available publication. We were happy to do this, but obviously the book needed an appropriate publisher. We approached many prospective publishers along with Jila at the London Book Fair but no one seemed to have the necessary imagination to turn this into a commercially viable book. This was very much a tipping point for us; we realised there are many such worthy projects out there that fail to materialize – all they need is a certain kind of vision. Jila’s limited-edition book was being exhibited at the British Museum as part of the Word into Art exhibition. The British Museum is fortunate to have its own independent bookshop, which, unlike corporate chains, was happy to stock our book. During the exhibition it became their best-selling non-British Museum publication. This gave us the impetus to carry on. What we wanted to do, and believe we’ve done since then, is publish books that marry text and image – or as we like to put it ‘image and text conceived as one’ – while also paying attention to the book as a physical object...

Read more of the interview with Num Stibbe, Director of Sylph Editions, over on the HappenStance blog.

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