22 June 2010

Useful Shelves

Whenever we take on a student intern (which is not that often), I always suggest that they read Richard Kennedy’s memoir A Boy at the Hogarth Press (1972). In the memoir, Kennedy recounts, before heading off to intern with Leonard and Virginia Woolf, his uncle’s story about a successful intern in his architectural firm: “[He] never lost a plan, he replenishes stocks of drawing materials, and he put up Useful Shelves.” I have to say that I am yet to have hosted an intern who has erected Useful Shelves, but we have have had a number of exceptional people move through our doors over the years.

Since January, Gaspereau’s been hosting Laura MacDonald, an intern who studied book publishing at Humber College in Toronto. It seems Gaspereau Press came up in one of her classes, and she was hooked. Technically speaking, her internship ended months ago, but she’s been hanging around the printshop, finishing up her letterpress project and picking up some paid work in the bindery (as well as playing crib with Gary at lunch break). Interns be warned: a job in literary publishing ruins you for normal work.

Laura’s letterpress project is a chapbook of poetry which she designed and hand set in 18 point Bembo. It was printed on a Vandercook proof press.

She’s also been learning how to make paper by hand. These sheets will be used for the cover of her book jacket.

Not to give you the wrong impression, I should add that most of Laura’s time here has involved running paper cutters, folders, binders and other production equipment, helping us to produce our trade books. But we also made sure that she’s had some time to muck about and learn some of the rudiments of the traditional book arts, at least the little we know about them here.


Speaking of people moving through our doors, Emily Leeson is leaving the press at the end of June in order to pursue other interests. Emily started with the press in the fall of 2008 and her energy and enthusiasm have been a great asset in the promotion of the press’s authors and their books. We are presently considering our options with regards to this vacancy, and may in fact take this opportunity to reconfigure the position altogether. In the meantime, all promotional queries may be directed to Gary Dunfield or myself.


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