Setting the Scene
In 1978 Ron and poet Roy Fisher worked on ‘Scenes from the Alphabet’. It followed on from their work together on the mould-breaking book 'Bluebeard’s Castle'. For 'Scenes..' Fisher wrote a poem with each line beginning with the letters sequentially. Ron created a pop-up A, B and C that was presented in the gutter of the pamphlet. Excited by the result, Fisher urged Ron to develop the work ...
Scenes from the Alphabet - Roy Fisher and Ron King
In 1979 the Crafts Council awarded Ron £2,800 - the only grant he ever received - to develop the Alphabet from the pamphlet.
Alphabet in the Making
It wasn't until 1982 that Ron felt the urge to concentrate on the project... He cut and folded bits of paper for months, in between doing other work, and finally came up with a square grid, which he used for each letter.
'you're not still working on those letters?'. The whole studiowould have dozens of letters all over the place."
The original plan was for the alphabet to feature in an accordion style book. This concertina book was going to run all 26 letters on the same side, and would be over 6 metres long. Using a french fold format, he realised he could create on both sides and make it compact and finish where it started.
Half Year Letters, a collaboration with poet Roy Fisher
a rare version of Alphabeta Conertina with wooden cover in black and white
The idea for the separate roll-up poster occurred to him as he looked down at all the letters laid out on the floor. Alphabet I was created as a limited signed edition of 200.
Alphabet I Poster
After a flood in the Circle Press studio, which rusted and ruined the cutters for the poster, he created Alphabet II. You can spot the difference between the two posters as it gave Ron the opporuntity to re-work the 'S' and the 'G'.Alphabet II Poster
Lastly, he also created a larger deluxe version of the concertina on hand-made paper, with inlaid wooden boards, which Ron quotes "proved to be the most difficult production he had ever undertaken!".
Click on this picture to read about the public places Alphabet has been seen, including The British Library, The Gutenberg Museum and even a commission for Pizza Express ....