Monday, March 25, 2013

Thank you, William Reuter!

Will Rueter Receives Robert R. Reid Award
Howard Greaves, Will Rueter, and Ralph Stanton at SFU Vancouver on March 21, 2013.

Last night I felt truly blessed listening to William Reuter accepting the Robert R. Reid Award and Medal for lifetime achievement. It was an honour for the Alcuin Society to have William Reuter among us and share with us some of his thoughts.
First, Board Member Ralph Stanton made a brief presentation, highlighting Reuter’s achievements, after which Board Chair Howard Greaves presented him the award. But before that we got to know William better, in the form of an interview, more like an informal conversation between him and Rollin Milroy, from Heavenly Monkey, who skilfully guided the discussion and put him at ease. There couldn’t have been a more pleasant way to feature Reuter’s wonderful knowledge and personality.

Reuter revealed himself as what he really is, a Renaissance Man, with interests varying from graphic design, bookbinding, typography, calligraphy to music, and teaching. He founded his private press, the Aliquando Press in 1963. His commitment to his work is summed up by Terentianus’ words, that he exquisitely printed to celebrate fifty years of Aliquando activity: “The fate of books depends on the capacity of the reader.” But to understand his relationship with letterpress and printing, there is no better way than quoting his own words: 
“Making books allows me to identify myself with the press, it brings the best in me. It becomes like a salvation.”
His knowledge and dedication can only be eclipsed by his bubbly personality, joie de vivre and sense of humour. When asked about the importance of rendering letters by hand, he talked about his adventures in lettering, also admitting that being left-handed always got in the way, “always fighting the urge to fling my left hand over my shoulder.” But he acknowledged that the profound understanding of letters and their relationships comes from drawing.
Another inspiration in Reuter’s life and work is music. He considers “printing is music in a visual kind of way. You need music in order to print.” Reuter creates an analogy between letterpress and various musical instruments: you can feel each impression on paper the same as each instrument has its own voice and tuning. This brings on another confession: 
“I have great frustration with music: I tried to build a harpsichord and this is when I discovered I have no talent in working with wood.”
The whole evening was a well-deserved homage to a wonderful man, an artisan of printing and lover of letterpress and private press. Thank you very much, William Reuter, for being among us and letting us in on your thoughts, your beliefs, your witticisms.

- Lumi Constantin

Photos from the evening of Will Rueter's Robert R. Reid award presentation.


Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Ten "Great Books" You May Want to Avoid

I purchased a deck of cards entitled 500 Greatest Books of All Time at the Vancouver Public Library the other day since I just can't resist that type of book, you know "The 1000 Books You Must Read Before You Die" sort of thing. I was a bit trepidatious since I noticed the deck was at least printed, if perhaps not published in China.  At any rate if you are looking for a list of books to add to your greatest books read list please consider plunging in to one of the following timeless masterpieces of prose:
  1. Robert Baden-Powell - Scouting for Boys
  2. Jehovah’s Witnesses - The Truth That Leads to Eternal Life
  3. Charles Sheldon - In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?
  4. Louise Hay - You Can Heal Your Life
  5. Xaviera Hollander - The Happy Hooker
  6. Spencer Johnson - Who Moved My Cheese?
  7. Francine Pascal - Sweet Valley High
  8. L. Ron Hubbard - Mission Earth
  9. Korean Mathematics Reference Book (12+)
  10. Arthur Agatston - South Beach Diet

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Untruth is Stranger Than Fiction

I am not surprised that some savvy Australian library patrons posted a sign that advised users that all books written by the disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong had been moved from the sports designation in non-fiction to the fiction section.

Officially the librarians involved said the printed notice was just a prank and that an internal review of the incident was underway.  Somewhat stuffily they offered that “libraries cannot arbitrarily reclassify categories of books, because that depends on the ISBN number that is issued the National Library.”

Unofficially, however, one certainly hopes that the librarians had a good laugh about the prank in their own staffroom.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Hot off the Press: Printing in New Westminster

Hot off the Press: Printing in New Westminster

Last month, the New Westminster Museum & Archives opened an exhibit called Hot off the Press: Printing in New Westminster. covered the show recently, showcasing the work of the late Jim Rimmer in this article, History of printing in New West on exhibit. The paper uncovered the fact that some of the exhibits were loaned from my personal collection, as no exhibit on printing in New Westminster is complete without the inclusion of Jim Rimmer. From the article above:
Local collector Jason Vanderhill loaned many of the works done by New Westminster resident Jim Rimmer, a renown letterpress designer who died in 2010. He operated Pie Tree Press from his backyard workshop.

"It's wonderful to see my grandfather's art on display in the city where he lived and worked," said Rimmer's granddaughter Beth Baker in a press release.

Admission to the exhibit is by donation. The museum is at 302 Royal Ave., behind Irving House and is open Wednesday through Sunday from noon to 4 p.m.
If you've never been to the New West Museum and Archives, this may be the last year you'll find them situated behind Irving House. The Anvil Centre, their soon future home, is currently being constructed in the heart of town with a completion date set for the spring of next year.  

Hot off the Press: Printing in New Westminster runs until April 28, 2013. Check it out!