Don’t Sleight This Book

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Many get pleasure out of reading books and making their own works of creativity, but few find the time to craft a book based on their own works of art.

Emily Kalwaitis and Lindsay Lusby

But Emily Kalwaitis and Lindsay Lusby of Chestertown are two of those few.

“Sleight,” the first project for Thread Lock Press, the joint effort of Kalwaitis and Lusby, debuted at the Chestertown Book Festival last November, and consists of three poems and three paintings by Lusby and Kalwaitis, respectively.

Lusby, an ‘08 WC grad, received her B.A. in English and minored in creative writing. She’s now in her ninth year working at the Kent County Library.

Kalwaitis received her BFA in drawing and fiber art from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. “I just really wanted a change,” said Kalwaitis, who lived in Wisconsin for ten years before moving to Chestertown, where her grandmother resides.

Emily and Lindsay met through mutual friends, Matthew Swanson and Robbi Behr (the husband and wife artistic team and creators of Idiots Books), and decided that combining their talents for a new project would be a good match.

“We both like the idea of handmade books,” Kalwaitis said. Lusby, who learned about letterpress printing in the Rose O’Neill Literary House her junior year of college, says she fell in love with handmade books during that experience.

“We decided we wanted to do something with our work and not just keep it to ourselves,” said Lusby.

“Sleight” interweaves the themes of fairytales, playing cards, and folk culture in its pages. Both Lusby and Kalwaitis are big fans of fairytales, and Lusby says her seven years of working in the children’s department carved in her heart a special place for children’s literature.

So why “Sleight”? Within that short title, there’s a great amount of depth and thought, with both a play on words and a bigger message involved. “The character sketches are mostly of children, who are slight in height,” said Lusby. She also noted that this book itself is a very slight volume, and that the title tied into the “sleight of hand” in card games. But beyond the puns is the authors’ belief that fairytales are often slighted and marginalized in the world of literature.

Fairytales are usually misjudged and pushed into the circle of children’s literature, Lusby said. “Most of the fairytales we know were not written for children. All the things that make adult literature good have to be in children’s books as well. Children’s literature is for everyone,” Lusby said.

As for future projects, the two have no specific projects in mind, but are certain that this is only the beginning for Thread Lock Press.

Letters to Editor

  1. Where can this book be seen?

  2. They’re available at The Bookplate. Sorry!

  3. Way to go, Alice…glad you’re using your talents this summer. See you Thurs. C.G.

  4. For more information about the bookmaking process, feel free to check out my blog site: http://www.ontopofgoosehill.blogspot.com (entries concerning this book will be in the 2009 group).

    And for more of Emily’s art, check out her website: http://www.emilykalwaitis.com

    She is also selling the books from her Etsy shop: http://www.etsy.com/listing/36892657/handmade-book

    Thanks for the great article, Alice!

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