26 October 2011

Oh, Wayzgoose!

Marshall McLuhan at the wayzgoose

Gaspereau Press celebrated its twelfth annual wayzgoose and open house on the weekend. There was a lecture, workshops, and readings, but as usual the highlight of the event was opening our doors to the public for fun and frivolity in the printing works. This year’s special guest was Toronto wood engraver George Walker, who came with his wife Michelle and a suitcase full of prints and books.

George Walker helps a visitor print a broadside

For the wayzgoose, George engraved a portrait of the late Canadian writer and cultural theorist Marshall McLuhan and showed visitors how to print it on our 1833 Albion hand press. The text of the broadside was handprinted on our Vandercook 219. Meanwhile, I found myself (as usual) cornered in the casting room talking lead, tin and antimony and casting Ludlow slugs set by our guests. Once cast, the freshly-cast type was locked up in a parlor press and printed with the help of our young printer’s devils, and the printed sheet became the personalized cover for a hand-sewn blank chapbook. Meanwhile, Gary Dunfield and his assistants Nic (who has a Tim Inkster like obsession with top hats) and Laura had the Hollander beater and hand moulds set up for beating pulp and making paper.

Printer’s Devil Adam Steeves sets up a parlor press

In the evening, authors Sean Howard and Norman Ravvin read from their recently published books and George Walker gave an illustrated talk. We also paid tribute to recently deceased colleagues Glenn Goluska and Douglas Lochhead. We were pleased to announce that the wayzgoose lecture series will henceforth be called the Douglas Lochhead Memorial Lecture, in recognition of Lochhead’s great contribution to literary culture and the book arts in Canada.

I want to make special mention of a few people who helped or attended: Hugh French of the Tides Institute in Eastport, Maine, who dashed over for the morning’s events in his continued effort to foster better cross-boarder cultural relations and – creatively at least – reunite that grand Fundy/Passamaquoddy community one is tempted to refer to as The Old Massachusetts; Thaddeus Holownia of Anchorage Press, who drove up from New Brunswick to volunteer; Steven Slipp, who spent his 56th birthday volunteering at the wayzgoose, and loved it; David Brewer of Rabbittown Press, Fredericton, who just finished printing his first letterpress book; Laura MacDonald, who pulled in with Yukon dust still on her bumpers to volunteer making paper; Nic, Adam, Ellis, Dan, and all the youngsters who lent a hand; Heather Kelday and Peter Williams, who helped us out with the music; and all the Gaspereau Press staff, who so generously and ably shared their craft with our visitors.

We are working on the possibility of having a New England based printer as our special guest next year. I will post details as they unfold.

Typographer and birthday-boy Steven Slipp pulls a print on the Albion handpress with George Walker

Steven Slipp and letterpress printer and photographer Thaddeus Holownia

Sewing chapbooks

Printer’s Devils printing on a parlor press ...

... to impress the young lassies

Lisa and Pam (reps for one of our commercial paper suppliers) talked to people about the importance of paper

Author Norman Ravvin inks the wood block ...

... and pulls a print while George Walker looks on

Nic Dunfield making paper

Nic Dunfield and Laura MacDonald beating pulp

Locking up a form for the parlor press

Bibliophile Joseph Stevens and guest artist George Walker at the book table

George Walker

Oh, Marshall! How crisp you look!

George Walker at the Albion

Gary Dunfield drying handmade paper

Basma and George setting up the Vandercook 219

Andrew Steeves setting up the Ludlow caster


06 October 2011

Wayzgoose and other things

Well, the details are sorting out for our wayzgoose and open house on October 22nd. Toronto-based Wood engraver and letterpress printer George Walker is packing his bags and sharpening his tools in preparation for his trip to Kentville, where he will be giving a workshop introducing printmaking techniques, doing demos at the open house and presenting his illustrated talk “Printmaking and the Visual Narrative.” The workshop requires pre-registration, and there are still a couple of spots left. The poster below provides most of what you’ll need to know.

In the meantime, we are (as usual) scrambling about and working hard to get books completed and out to the first of the fall’s launches. This week, we finished the first copies of Heather Jessup’s debut novel The Lightning Field, which will be launched on October 13 on Gabriola Island, BC, at an event hosted by CBC Radio’s Shelagh Rogers. The story of the scrapping of the Avro Arrow is the backdrop to the novel’s plot, so retro images of the Arrow were featured on the book’s handprinted jacket.

Those of you, like myself, who were unable to be in Montreal or Toronto for recent tributes to our late friend Glenn Goluska will be interested to note new materials that have recently been posted online about his life.

There was also a great obit in the Toronto Globe & Mail:

I’ve got a backlog of material amassed for posting to the blog (including a report about my spring roadtrip to Willowbank, an architectural school in Niagara on the Lake which focuses on the restoration arts, and a whole lot of sleuthing about in old books), but I’ve been so socked-in with deadlines and projects this summer that I’ve had no time to write the copy and post them. I’ll soon get back in the habit again as the workload finally begins to return to normal crazy.