02 November 2013

American Houseguests & A Visit from CBC Radio’s Kid’s Book Club

This is a digital rendition of the photograph Thaddeus Holownia made at the Gaspereau Press Wayzgoose on Saturday.(Front, left to right) Julie Rosvell, David Brewer, Michelle Walker, Sue Goyette, George Walker, Andrew Steeves, Amos Paul Kennedy, Jr, (back, left to right) Joe Stevens, Stephen Quick, Adam Steeves, Gary Dunfield, Hillary Savage, Jason Dewinetz, Ceri Sloan, Connie Sheppard.

After an extraordinarily busy wayzgoose weekend, you’d think that we’d be anxious to kick back and relax, or at least to draw the blinds, bar our doors and put out the ‘do not disturb’ sign for a few weeks while we recovered from the shock of over 200 visitors. Nope, not to be.

When I invited Hillary Savage to be one of our guests at the wayzgoose, I sweetened the offer by insisting that she stay and work in our printshop for the week that followed.

And we had a great week. Hillary managed to handset and print two different broadsides during her stay with us, despite the many worthy diversions I threw in her way – like an afternoon excursion to study old books at the university archives or coffee with a reporter from the local newspaper. (Hillary’s day job is at a small weekly newspaper in Maine.) In this photo, Hillary is adding a rusty tone to the bottom of one of her broadsides. When we were casting around for a way to achieve the effect she desired, I suggested that she roll it on with a tooth from a spring harrow which I uncovered years ago from the site of my great-grandfather’s abandoned farm in New Brunswick. She rubbed the ink into the pitted surface of the rusty harrow tooth and then rolled it across the sheet. It looked fabulous. Holding the sheets in this photo is Kings County municipal counsellor and housing activist Emma Van Rooyen. I thought Emma might find it interesting to hear some stories from Hillary about the relationship between the local press and the county government in small-town Maine.

On Saturday morning, as Hillary packed up to head for home, we had a visit from three of the four young participants in CBC Radio Halifax’s most recent kid’s on-air book club. Emma (and her sister Molly), Cassidy and Aidan were accompanied by CBC Radio host Carmen Clausen who recorded much of the visit for broadcast on CBC Halifax’s Information Morning this coming Monday.

We showed the kids how modern books are made. We also helped them cast their names in metal on a Ludlow caster, print their own two-colour covers and then handsew some little blank notebooks. I knew it was going well when Carmen swung the microphone over to Emma part way through the morning and asked what her impression of the printshop was so far. “Impression!” guffawed Emma, “oh, that’s funny!” Clearly, they were into it.

With the travel and visiting of October behind me, I intend to revert to my usual somewhat elusive habits and get some work done. Over the next few months I will be editing books for our spring list and enjoying the relative solitude that task requires.