The Descent of Inanna

The Descent of Inanna

Her foot is pointed like a dancer’s, laces inward,
indicating darkness. The bend in her knee is not quite classical—
the bone protrudes, white-blind, and her calf is mapped:
scar, welt, sun. It hesitates, ostrich-elongate,
and the ribbon knotted at the perfumed hollow of her ankle

The wind out of the deep smells of myrrh and cardamom,
and meat just shy of spoil.

Does she hear the sea far off from her? Does she hear the working

of worms in the ceiling of loam?

So begins The Descent of Inanna, a modern re-imagining of an ancient yet timeless myth. Though based on the original text, Catherynne’s version is a fresh look at Ereshkigal’s underworld and Inanna’s descent into it. In Catherynne’s usual graceful style, we are drawn with Inanna down into the depths and, with a breathtaking end, finally led back towards the light.

“Valente’s version is superb, a wonderfully rich-as-the-earth reshaping of the poem.”

— Hal Duncan, Author of Vellum

Printed on linen paper with a metallic copper cover and spine done in satin fabric. The cover art is based on the Burney relief and was created especially for the book by Aria Nadii. The interior text border, a combination of a traditional Sumerian design, arabesques and stylized fig leaves, was designed by Erzebet for Inanna.

A limited edition of 50 numbered copies. Numbers 1-10 were signed by the author and included a special audio cd of Catherynne reading the poem.

The Descent of Inanna

The Frog Wife

The Frog Wife

I was commissioned to create a one-off miniature of an author’s poem to their beloved. This was the first binding and the only one that I managed to photograph. The author decided that this cover was not quite suitable, so I made another.

This book is perfect bound with a reinforced spine and endbands. Text was printed on antique linen paper. Green endpapers, a floral paper cover and a cloth spine.

This tiny book now happily resides in my own collection.

The Frog Wife

The Quest of the Queen’s Tears

The Quest of the Queen's Tears

If you are not familiar with the work of Edward John Moreton Drax Plunkett, better known as Lord Dunsany, you should be. This very limited edition reprint of his short story The Quest of the Queen’s Tears is my tribute to the man and to the joy his work has given me.

The Quest of the Queen’s Tears has two elements that strongly appeal to me. First is Queen Sylvia herself, cold and dry, imperial and impervious, queen of the woodland realm. Who would not love her, or slay beasts for her love? The second, and perhaps the more powerful image, is that of the Gladsome Beast: “a synonym he for joy”. It is possible that neither of these figures would hold any power if it weren’t for the way in which Dunsany wrote them, but that is neither here nor there. These two characters began this thing for me.

After re-reading the story for the thousandth time, I felt compelled to illustrate the Gladsome Beast, and did so in colored pencil and ink on bristol. From there he blossomed into (onto) a bone panel, the first to incorporate any of my illustrative work. The idea for the book lingered until I encountered, by chance, an outstanding fabric that complemented but did not overpower the illustration. Small giclee prints were made of the beast, and these were professionally framed behind glass and set into the front cover. The pages are sewn in and the spine is backed for extra strength. The books have been hand numbered in front and signed in the back by me, making them the first books I’ve bound that include any sort of a binder’s mark.

This edition was limited to 6 copies only. This title is sold out.