04 April 2012

Letterpress Symposium at Massey College

I’m back at my desk after a week on the road to Hamilton and Toronto. After returning home I was reminded why my career in journalism was shortlived. I had taken almost no photographs, despite the many interesting visits I paid. But here are a few snaps from the trip.

Before going into Toronto, I went to visit William Rueter’s Aliquando Press in Dundas and Tim & Elke Inkster’s The Porcupine’s Quill in Erin Village. Above is Inkster in motion in his front office and bindery.

The main destination of the trip was the iconic Massey College. I was excited to visit the printshop and library which my late friend Douglas Lochhead had been instrumental in establishing. The printshop houses a number of platen presses, including Albions, a Washington and a Colombian. I was also eager to get a closer look at the architecture. The college building was designed by Ron Thom. This photo of the central quadrangle is taken from the main gateway.

Pictured here are Massey’s resident printer, Brian Maloney (left), and the type designer Rod McDonald (right). They are standing beside a small Albion press which I believe once belonged to the Canadian designer Carl Dair.

As well as presses and type, the Massey printshop houses a great collection of books and artifacts related to print history. I was quite interested to have a chance to look at a collection of sketches and drawings related to the development of Carl Dair’s typeface Cartier. Dair’s typeface was later refined and extended by Rod McDonald into a digital typeface called Cartier Book.

I also spent time with some original type specimen sheets from the foundry of William Caslon (1692–1766). I don’t get to see much of this sort of thing in my neck of the woods.

Stan Bevington from Coach House Press also joined us at Massey, which is just around the corner from his own shop on bp nichol Lane. Stan can always be counted on when you need someone to mug for the camera.

The “Get the Lead Out” symposium itself (and my lecture on Ecology & The Book the following day) were well attended and sparked great questions and lively discussion. There is a short report and some photos posted on the Quill & Quire blog. After the symposium, we were invited to dine as guests of the Master in the Massey dining hall. The dining hall is an inspired space, full of air and light. Luckily, there was no ‘high table’ that evening, though the students all wore their gowns; Stan picked one up somewhere too, but the rest of us were content with our uncovered state. Pictured here are Stan Bevington, Will Rueter, myself, and Rod McDonald.

Anyway, thank you again to Massey College, the University of Toronto and everyone who contributed to making these events possible.


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