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Four of the eight etchings from Jessica Dunne's book
CRAFT: Shaping a Surfboard


Other Prints by Jessica Dunne from Eastside Editions

Emerging Train
Outbound L Taraval
The Last Leaf
Simon's Porch

Jessica Dunne
CRAFT: Shaping a Surfboard,
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

photo: Ira Shranck

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.
–Jessica Dunne

CRAFT: 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 forty-five 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 downrail.

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 crafts 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 plates.

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 Bindery.

Eastside Editions 167 Buena Vista East San Francisco, CA 94117
415 538-9400 | studio@eastsideeditions.com | www.eastsideeditions.com

Many 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 Shaper's Fugue."
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 Berkeley, CA. 
Art Hazelwood and Mark Renneker advised on this project.

Images © Jessica Dunne 2009
Text © Dave Parmenter 2009
Published by Simon J. Blattner, Eastside Editions, in 2009