07 May 2012

A week spent with great paper

Last week I was lucky enough to have spent the majority of my week ignoring most of my administrative, editing and typesetting duties and tackling a backlog of letterpress printing. As a matter of fact, I spent the whole week printing on handmade paper milled by our good friend David Carruthers and his staff at The Saint-Armand paper mill in Montreal. Any week a trade printer can print exclusively on handmade paper is a pretty good week.

The week started off with a keepsake that Thaddeus Holownia and I were collaborating on to celebrate the life of our late friend and coconspirator Douglas Lochhead. It required four press passes and a crease. Inside, one of Holownia’s images of the soon-to-be decommissioned Radio Canada International shortwave transmission towers on the Tantramar marshes was tipped in. The keepsake states:

During his lifetime, Douglas Lochhead wrote extensively about the people and the landscape of the Tantramar region, his home from the time of his appointment as Director of Canadian Studies at Mount Allison University in 1975 until his death. His relationship with the upland marsh above the Cumberland Basin was a particularly fruitful one from a literary standpoint, and poetry collections such as High Marsh Road and Dykelands secure Lochhead a place alongside Charles G.D. Roberts and John Thompson in the fraternity of Tantramar bards. Among the most iconic modern-day elements of the Tantramar’s landscape are the towers which comprise Radio Canada International’s transmission site, which since 1943 have broadcast Canadian shortwave radio signals around the world. In June 2012, RCI will discontinue shortwave broadcasting due to changing technology and federal funding cutbacks. This keepsake was produced by Thaddeus Holownia and Andrew Steeves in tribute to the passing of these two Sackville institutions and the “homesick noise” they sent “around the world from this brooding marsh.”

I reprinted the jacket to one of our perennial sellers and perhaps our best known publication internationally, Robert Bringhurst’s The Solid Form of Language. This jacket prints in three press passes – black, blue and white – and a fourth to crease the jacket’s folds. I have to admit the I enjoy printing the white most of all. There is always something joyfully perverse about inking up a press with white ink. The paper was Saint-Armand handmade ‘gold’.

I printed a two-colour book jacket for a privately issued collection of poems by George Edward Hart, the second we’ve produced for him. I was quite happy with the light blue paper and the black and blue inks.

I also printed some bookmarks on some off-cut ends of denim black Saint-Armand paper. The quotation is from Thoreau.


1 comment:

Courtney Bates-Hardy said...

I love those bookmarks! The Robert Bringhurst book is beautiful as well. Reading this blog makes me want to learn to be a print maker, not just a poet.