The Baltimore Catechism Artist's Book

The Baltimore Catechism Artist's Book

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  • Handmade
  • Materials: letterpress, metal type, ink, paper, wood, book, muslin, ribbon

The Baltimore Catechism is a collaborative artist's book written by Chris Fritton & Ric Royer. Fritton conceived, printed, and executed the book itself.

This impressive body of work is an unintentional, fanciful, imaginary revision of A Catechism of Christian Doctrine, Prepared and Enjoined by Order of The Third Plenary Council of Baltimore (1885) wherein the authors posit the most fundamental and absurd physical and metaphysical questions, and postulate ever more fundamental and absurd answers. Originally intended as an artist’s book, this capricious, eccentric, and inadvertently satirical project quickly took on a much wider scope, begetting large-scale woodcuts and accompanying prints, a performance component, and hand-set letterpress posters and broadsides.

This project was initiated by Chris Fritton and Ric Royer in 2010 in Baltimore, MD; it was completed in November 2012 by Fritton while artist-in-residence at AS 220 in Providence, RI.

The work is a hand-finished wooden box shaped like a book with a drawer that slides out, revealing a laser-cut top sheet that covers the enshrouded loose-leaf pages. It's a modern relic written with a catechistic structure, wherein questions are asked, answers are posed, and based on the query some answers are text, some are image, and some are text & image.

Sometimes dark, sometimes humorous, but always seeking the truest possible rejoinder, The Baltimore Catechism can be read in any order, and questions & answers can be mixed & matched. Note that the work is not satire.

This project was initiated by Chris Fritton and Ric Royer in 2010 in Baltimore, MD; it was completed in November 2012 by Fritton while artist-in-residence at AS 220 in Providence, RI.

Please note: due to the natural variations in wood grain, the pattern & color of each individual book is unique. Book measures 5" x 8" when closed.

Signed and numbered in an edition of 75. Ships boxed.

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Chris Fritton

Chris Fritton

Owner of itinerantprinter

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106 shop reviews

5 out of 5 stars
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Elizabeth Norwood Sep 17, 2020  Shipped to: United States

5 out of 5 stars

What a curiosity! A puppeteer friend at Lowe Mill told me about this book and I had to peek. Enchanted! This is really one of the best projects I've ever seen. Thank you for making it! Rare and obscure and beautiful it is!

Purchased item:

Melanie Jun 30, 2020  Shipped to: United States

5 out of 5 stars

Chris generously surprised me with a second Banshee print in my shipment! I also own the sunrise/sunset/midnight series and am excited to add these to my home as well. Thank you!!

Purchased item:

Stephen Taylor Jan 8, 2016  Shipped to: United States

5 out of 5 stars

This is an extremely beautiful little book. The matching red stitching and cover ornament is inspired.

Purchased item:

Anthony Elder Mar 12, 2021  Shipped to: United States

5 out of 5 stars

My designers and I use this mantra constantly at our little agency, so when I found this piece—and by an awesome printer who I've been following for some time—I knew I had to grab one for each. Loved that they're all 1/1 in their organic colorways and the designers loved their gifts!

Purchased item: