The Books Arts Association of Newfoundland and Labrador (formerly known as the Letterpress Association) held its second biennial celebration of printing October 14-19, 2008. This six-day series of workshops and talks was designed to bring attention to the art and design of books, and cultivate an appreciation for the history and process of printing.
The Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador collaborated with the Book Arts Association, as a co-sponsor of our invited guests, Crispin and Jan Elsted. Crispin and Jan are the proprietors of Barbarian Press—one of the country’s most acclaimed fine presses. The Elsteds began printing in England in the late 70s, where they learned from Graham Williams, a master printer. When they returned to Canada, they established their own press, which has set the standard for fine press book production in Canada ever since. Jan Elsted is a master printer, with a particular gift for printing wood engravings; she has worked with engravers from across North America and Europe and is highly regarded internationally for her abilities. Crispin is typographer, book designer, poet, essayist, musician and actor.
Papermaking with Natural Fibres: A workshop with Anita Singh (Anna Templeton Centre)
An artistic approach to papermaking, experiementing with how natural fibres (flowers, grass, leaves, corn husk, pineapple tops, onion and garlic skins…) can be transformed into works of art.
A Celebration of Johnny Burke (Crow’s Nest Officers’ Club)
An intimate evening of words and songs in celebration of St. John’s printer, poet and song-maker Johnny Burke, featuring an informal talk about Burke’s life and work by folklorist Philip Hiscock, and a performance by Ron Hynes. Renowned for such songs as “The Kelligrews Soiree” and “Old Brown’s Daughter,” Johnny Burke chronicled and satirized life in St. John’s at the beginning of the twentieth century. A poet, playwright and songwriter, Burke printed his songs as broadsheets that were sold for pennies on the street. Several of his songs continue as standards in the Newfoundland repertoire. Philip Hiscock has written about Burke’s importance for Newfoundland musical and popular culture. A Newfoundland musical icon in his own right, multi-award winning singer/songwriter Ron Hynes originated the role of Burke in the Mummers’ Troupe’s acclaimed production “The Bard of Prescott Street.”
The Bard of Prescott Street: Ongoing display (Centre for Newfoundland Studies, Memorial University)
A display of works written and/or printed by Johnny Burke, and materials from the Mummers’ Troupe’s play “The Bard of Prescott Street” which celebrated Burke’s life and art; works are taken from the Centre for Newfoundland Studies, the MUN Archives, and a private collection.
Printing Wood Engravings: A workshop with Jan Elsted (Running the Goat Press)
Demonstrations on Vandercook and/or hand press will show preparation of block/blocks (underlay), proofing and make-ready, and printing of block/blocks.
The Right Type in the Right Order: A workshop with Crispin Elsted (Eastern Edge Gallery)
A workshop on the relationship between typography and design, and their impact on legibility and literacy.
Homemade CD Cases: A workshop with Duncan Major (St. Michael’s Printshop)
Practical input on letterpress CD-sleeve design and printing, offered in conjunction with St. Michael’s Printshop.
Public reading by Crispin Elsted (Eastern Edge Gallery) co-sponsored by the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Canada Council for the Arts
‘The Private Press and the Roots of the Book’: A talk by Crispin Elsted (Map Room/QE II Library, Memorial University)
A lively and informative public talk on the private press movement of the 19th and 20th centuries, with reference to some of the treasures in Memorial’s Library.
‘The useful with the beautiful’: The work of Barbarian Press – A public talk by Crispin and Jan Elsted (Eastern Edge Gallery)
Crispin and Jan Elsted, co-proprietors of Barbarian Press, have been printing remarkable books for over thirty years. They give new life to classic texts (currently a new edition Shakespeare’s Pericles, with original wood engravings by Simon Brett, is in production) and publish new works by fine contemporary poets. Their ongoing series devoted to the work of international wood engravers includes books featuring the work of Peter Lazarov and Abigal Rorer, among others. Presented with the kind support of the College of the North Atlantic.
‘The Gauntlet Press of Richard Outram and Barbara Howard’: A Digital Exhibition (Map Room/QE II Library, Memorial University)
The launch of this digital exhibition, organized though Memorial’s Digital Archives Initiative, featured short talks by poet and scholar Amanda Jernigan, on the history of the Gauntlet Press, and by Humanities Librarian Martin Howley, on Special Collections at Memorial, and on the significance of the Gauntlet Press emblems; also a brief press-demonstration by printer and photographer John Haney. The event was be hosted by Map Librarian Dan Duda. An excellent opportunity not only to launch the digital exhibition, but to see the actual printed works of the Gauntlet Press, many of which were on display in the Map Room.
Co-sponsored by the Faculty of Arts, Memorial University, the QEII Library, and the Book Arts Association of Newfoundland and Labrador, with the kind support of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.
Selected Works of the Gauntlet Press: An ongoing display (Map Room/QE II Library, Memorial University)
a display of letterpress-printed items from the Special Collections of the QEII Library
The Gauntlet Press was, for more than forty years, the principle publishing outlet for the remarkable poetic and artistic partnership between Canadian poet Richard Outram and artist Barbara Howard: “From almost the first days of our coming together, in London, we glimpsed the possibility of our managing to achieve, as best we might in our entwined vocations, some true marriage of word and image. One that might come in time, however inadequately, to reflect our astounded delight in our own discovered mutuality of body, mind and Spirit. This insight led us in time to found The Gauntlet Press, with all that went out into the world thereafter under its imprint….” — Richard Outram
Printers’ Fair (Anna Templeton Centre)
An afternoon of demonstrations, displays, music and readings, featuring the work of local book artists and printers, and of printers from Canada, the United States, Mexico and England. Readings by Monica Kidd, Mary Dalton, Robin McGrath and Crispin Elsted; musical performance by Sandy Morris and Graham Wells.
Printers, print-makers and book artists displaying at the fair included:
Anchorage Press (Sackville, NB)
Anita Singh (St. John’s, NL)
Barbarian Press (Mission, BC)
Caroline Clarke (St. John’s, NL)
College of the North Atlantic — Graphic Production and Printing
(St. John’s, NL)
Daubers Press (St. John’s, NL)
Ed Hutchins (New York, New York)
Gaspereau Press (Kentville, NS)
Incline Press (Oldham, England)
Littoral Press (West Oakland, California)
Joyce Majiski (Whitehorse, Yukon)
Pick Me Up Press (St. John’s, NL)
Porcupine’s Quill (Erin, ON)
Riddle Fence (St. John’s, NL)
Running the Goat, Books & Broadsides (St. John’s, NL)
St. Michael’s Print Shop (St. John’s, NL)
Stone Cold Press (Goose Bay, NL)
Taller Lenateros (San Cristobal de las Casas, Chiapas, Mexico)
walking bird press (Flatrock, NL)
Walpurgis Press (St. John’s, NL)
Wayzgoose 2008 was presented with the kind support of the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council, the Canada Council for the Arts, the Faculty of Arts/Memorial University, and the College of the North Atlantic.