26 October 2011
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
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
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
ANDREW STEEVES ¶ PRINTER & PUBLISHER