Shaping a Surfboard, 2009
text by Dave Parmenter
Eight spit-bite aquatint etchings and letterpress,
17 pages, 13 in. x 12 in., edition of 20
Published by Simon Blattner, Eastside Editions
Price of $3,000
I spent a lot of time nosing around in Dave’s
San Luis Obispo shaping-shack when he wasn’t there, ogling
the strange tools and stranger claustrophobic space. Then I watched
him shape a board and envied his skill. A painting or print does
not have to perform physically, as does a board, but the pressure
on Dave to create a perfect object, his ability to create this great
curvilinear shape out of a hunk of foam that will also withstand
the force of a large wave, was humbling.
Shaping a Surfboard is an exploration of what
it means to spend days working with your hands. The handwork
required to make a surfboard, an etching, or an artist
book is the inspiration that enabled Jessica Dunne to fuse
her love of the craft of making prints with a lifetime
spent in the world of surfers.
The idea of putting words with images to create an
interaction between them has always fascinated Dunne.
This is her first artist book after years looking
for the appropriate text. Dunne’s father, Philip Dunne, was a screenwriter,
and her grandfather was Finley Peter Dunne, the political satirist. With
this background, she realized that to put words and images together required
the right text. She found that text in the writings of Dave Parmenter.
Dave Parmenter is a renowned surfboard shaper, writer, and former professional
surfer. He writes personally—and often furiously—about shaping
boards, surfing, and contemporary surf culture. In his dedication to his
craft, Dunne found something akin to her feelings about her own work. His
article in The Surfer’s Journal about shaping a surfboard, with all
the considerations that make it function in dangerous situations, is excerpted
in this book.
Dunne grew up in Malibu, and her partner of many years, Mark Renneker,
is a devoted big-wave surfer. She has lived for years with as many as
surfboards of varying lengths and silhouettes. She is not a surfer, however.
But it wasn’t the sport of surfing that caught her attention as being
the motive for shaping a surfboard. The craftsmen involved in the task, their
tools, and the terminology all fascinated her: the shaper, the glasser, a
The craftsman holding out against technology and mechanized efficiency
is a driving force in the author’s monologue. And the prints evoke
the working environment of the surfboard shaper. People involved in fine
have more in common than not. Since the industrial revolution began, craftsmen
have been skulking around, sensing, and maybe enjoying, impending obsolescence.
Craft consists of blocks of text excerpted from the article “A Shaper’s
Fugue,” originally published in The Surfer’s Journal 13:4. Each
page of text faces a spit-bite aquatint etching. Each of the eight etchings
was created at Eastside Editions in San Francisco. The spit-bite aquatint
is a technique of painting acid on an aquatinted plate to produce rich and
soft tones. Dunne is well known for her spit-bite aquatints in black and
white. In this project, however, she created color prints using multiple
This book is about shaping a surfboard, but it is also a tribute to craftsmen,
including those who contributed to the book itself: Dave Parmenter the writer,
David Avery the etching printer, Jonathan Clark the typesetter and letterpress
printer, and the binder Klaus-Ullrich S. Rötzscher, at Pettingell Book
Eastside Editions 167 Buena Vista East San Francisco,
415 538-9400 | firstname.lastname@example.org | www.eastsideeditions.com
craftsmen contributed to this project:
Jessica Dunne created
the images at Eastside
Editions in San Francisco.
They are spit-bite
aquatint etchings with softground,
drypoint, and roulette.
Dave Parmenter wrote
the text for "Craft" which
has been excerpted
from an article in the"Surfer's Journal" (Volume 13, Number 4), titled "A
David Avery printed the etchings at Eastside Editions
on Hahnemuhle Copperplate
Warm White paper.
Jonathan Clark at Artichoke Press in Mountain View,
CA, set the type and printed the text. The type
is set in 12-point Quadrata.
Klaus-Ullrich S. Rötzscher bound the books
at Pettingell Bookbindery in
Art Hazelwood and Mark Renneker advised on this
Images © Jessica
Text © Dave Parmenter 2009
Published by Simon J. Blattner, Eastside Editions, in 2009