17 October 2012

Tramp Printer Report No. 12

I arrived back home in Nova Scotia on Tuesday evening after a whirlwind journey through New England. Here are a few photos from the last few visits I made in New Hampshire and Maine.

Election signs everywhere.

On Sunday night, I stayed with the ‘retired’ New Hampshire papermaker Richard Langdell in Lebanon, NH. Richard ran a hand papermaking business for about twenty years which catered primarily to the wedding invitation crowd, but he has recently decided to walk away from the vat and try something different. His papers were wonderful, and it sounded to me like he several years of stock still available for sale.

Monday morning I headed to Dartmouth College in Hanover, NH, where Stephanie Wolff was kind enough to show me around the book-arts holdings in the Baker-Berry Library (and to show me a few of her own bookworks too). They have a couple of Vandercooks, a Pearl and a couple of iron handpresses. I was happy to see a copy of Carl Dair’s Design with Type on the table in the press room.

Then I drove through the very perfection of a New England autumn afternoon to Portland, Maine.

This Portland election sign was one of my favourites, at least as an example of local wild letterforms. (Note the spur on the G and the serifed peak on the A.)

My second (though alternately spelled) Wolfe of the day was David Wolfe at Wolfe Editions in Portland. David has been a letterpress printer since 1979, including a seven-year stint at the famous Stinehour Press of Lunenburg, Vermont.

After David moved to Portland in 1997, he acquired a great deal of the Monotype casting equipment from Stinehour’s defunct letterpress department.

David does most of his casting on an Intertype linecaster, the competitor and imitator of the Linotype.

David and I first met at The Tides Institute in Eastport, Maine, which was where I headed next. The Tides is an impressive initiative spearheaded by the quiet, wry-witted local impresario Hugh French. When I got there, Hugh lead me up many lifts of scaffolding to see the new sandstone cap recently placed atop the building’s facade.

Hugh believed that the new stone was from the same pit in Wallace, Nova Scotia, where the original stone was likely quarried. The view of the bay from the peak of the roof was quite impressive.

Hey, nice letters.

Back inside, we looked over the Institute’s modest but expanding letterpress holdings in their temporary home (they had recently been boomed down from the third floor). The Tides Institute is presently in the midst of renovating a second historic building across the street which will, among other things, eventually house the letterpress studio. I noticed that they had a Nolan tabletop proof press, so my printshop tour ends where it began. How convenient is that?

I’d planned to spend the night in Eastport, but once I had that salt air in my lungs I was hellbent on getting home that night. It had been a long journey and I wanted to see my family and sleep in my own bed. The seven-hour’s drive that lay between Eastport and my own threshold seemed inconsequential, and I would not be dissuaded. Before I struck out, Hugh took this photo.

This concludes my tramp printer reports. I’m back in my Kentville shop where I belong, preparing for our Wayzgoose this coming Saturday October 20. On Saturday evening, I’ll be giving a short, illustrated talk about the trip as part of the Lochhead Book Arts Lecture. I’ll also be writing a more detailed article which will appear in an upcoming issue of Canada’s foremost book arts journal, The Devil’s Artisan (also known as DA).

Thanks to all those who welcomed me into their shops and into their homes.



deconet said...

Nice blog. The images are beautiful. I like the "Forward OBAMA" picure.
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Bill C. said...

Those are some great looking shots.