Thursday, October 24, 2013

Gaspereau Press Wayzgoose in Kentville

It must be perfect time for the wayzgoose, because here comes another one. Gaspereau Press in Kentville, NS, is going to entertain their friends, guests and passers-by with a full day of printing and literary events this Saturday, October 26. They will start their fourteenth annual Wayzgoose at 10 am with a Literary Salon, which will feature authors Sue Goyette and Dana Mills. The Open House starts at 2 pm (but not only, because anybody can actually walk in and witness the preparations starting noon). The press staff will organize demos, such printing and papermaking. The Wayzgoosy Evening will conclude the event with readings and talks from 7 to 9:30 pm. All these delightful events are free and open to the public, so layperson or connoisseur alike can participate in this celebration of the printed word. This Saturday is a good day to be in Kentville.

For more information, please check the Gaspereau Press blog.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Alcuin Book Auction

This must be my favourite event of the year: what can be more enjoyable than getting your greedy hands on some remarkable brand new books at a bargain price, in an auction filled with humour, after enjoying a lunch where you can meet and chat with fellow bibliophiles/auctioneers, and all for the good cause of supporting the Alcuin Awards? It is a long question, I know, but that's how many good reasons you have to attend this amazing event.

These books fought hard for a place in the Alcuin Awards Hall of Fame and now it is time for them to grace your own homes just in time for Christmas. The over 200 books for sale were submitted to the Alcuin Awards in 2013 or won the competition in 2012, and some of them are not available elsewhere. These are not just ordinary books; they are skilfully designed and beautifully produced, and were considered by our Canadian publishers to represent their very best work. The books belong to the following categories: Children, Limited Editions, Pictorial, Poetry, Prose Fiction, Prose Non-Fiction, Prose Non-Fiction Illustrated, and Reference. For a peek at last year's winners, also for auction, you can visit our online catalogue. And now it is your chance to have fun playing the auction game and bid like a pro, dealing in cents rather than thousands of dollars.

The event is preceded by an optional lunch where you have a chance to meet and chat with fellow book lovers. As an added bonus, you will have the opportunity to see the books closer if you come half an hour earlier. The lunch costs $18 and you need to book your seat at Eventbrite by November 8. Please let us know if you have any dietary restrictions by emailing membership(at) The event takes place on November 16 (lunch starts at 12 pm, auction starts at 1 pm) at UBC Golf Club on 5185 University Boulevard, Vancouver.

All proceeds will go towards supporting the Alcuin book design competition. This is the only Canadian competition of its kind, to advocate excellence in publishing and book design, and encourage Canadian designers and publishers to do their best work in an attempt to help print endure. We accept cash, cheques and VISA for the auction.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Type Camp Calligraphy Workshop

Type Camp presents its second calligraphy workshop and this time it is double the fun, as it takes place over two Saturdays, October 26 and November 9. The event is hosted at the fashionable Fluevog location in Gastown, responsible for some of the most unique and trendy shoes on the planet (as an added bonus attendees will get 15% off their purchases on the camp days).

Calligraphy has got a strong comeback recently, decorating and embellishing logos, websites, book covers, posters, business and greeting cards. While it can be a helpful skill in a graphic designer's job, it does not need to be limited to the experts: anybody can take advantage of a beautifully penned script, which, I can attest, can be achieved by the end of the workshop. It can be used for anything from decorating gift wraps and preserves jars, to creating your own works of art or even entire accent walls. What you do with beautiful letters can only be limited by your own imagination.

The workshop will cover a wide range of techniques, including italic hand and brushwork, which then can be used in fun experiments. Throughout the entire process, you will be taught and guided by Seattle script designer Laura Worthington and Vancouver award-winning calligrapher Martin Jackson. The team will be completed by Shelley Gruendler, the Camp Master, who will help refine your creative process and cheer you up with her bubbly personality when your brush stroke gets out of control.

No experience is necessary, nor are computers: this is a great opportunity to get away from the screen, get your hands dirty and have fun. Supplies are included in the cost of the camp ($329 for both days). The registration is closing soon, on October 24, and there are just a couple of spots left, so make sure to act swiftly. You can find more details here.

Calligraphy workshop, April 2013, Vancouver

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Alcuin Awards night in Toronto

The Eastern Canada Awards took place on October 7, 2013 at The Arts and Letters Club in Toronto. While some might be so overwhelmed by the number of awards given to Andrew Steeves of Kentville, Nova Scotia to consider these “The East Coast Awards” the facts are that designers travelled to Toronto from Winnipeg (Brandon Bergem), from Montreal Jeff Kulak and Jolin Masson, Patrick Bisson, and Mathieu Cournoyer (of Multiple) and from Merrickville, (near Ottawa), Larry Thompson and Holly Dean of Greyweathers Press. In addition, Toronto and area designers, Zab, Carelton Wilson, Mark Goldstein, Linda Gustafson and Peter Ross also attended. There were 82 people in attendance for the evening.

The evening also marked the opening of an exhibition in The Great Hall of the Arts and Letters Club organized by Club Members (and Alcuin members) Stan Bevington, Don McLeod and Chester Gryski entitled Winning Book Design: The Elements Combined. The Exhibition in two parts displayed original drawings by Carl Dair for Cartier and the development of work from preliminary drawings to final product with work by Tim Inkster for Out of the Wood, Wallace Edwards for Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe (Alcuin award winners this year) and from George Walker for The Mysterious Death of Tom Thomson (Alcuin Award winner last year) and Tom McNeely. This Exhibition will remain on view at the Club until the end of October. Unfortunately, there is no public viewing of this exhibit planned. Those who know a club member can visit the Club with that person to view the exhibit.

Will Rueter attended the evening and we were able to honour him as the latest recipient of the Robert R. Reid Award and medal.

Brian Maloney and Will Reuter at the Alcuin Awards. Credit: Don McLeod
The speaker for the evening was Rod McDonald who spoke about the development of Cartier. Rod has researched this topic in the Carl Dair fonds held at Massey College in Toronto. He shared with his audience some of the facts about Carl Dair and Cartier that he has gleaned from this research and the insights that he has gained.   

Rod McDonald in front of a sample display of Cartier Book. Credit: Don McLeod
In all, a well received and very successful evening.

Chester Gryski

Thursday, October 10, 2013

UBC exhibition: Charles Van Sandwyk and the Children's Literary Tradition

UBC Library's Rare Books and Special Collections put together a beautiful exhibit revolving around Charles Van Sandwyk and the Children's Literary Tradition. Admission is free and open to the public Monday to Friday, 10 am to 4 pm and Saturday, 12 pm to 5 pm, till October 31. The exhibition also includes works by Walter Crane, Arthur Rackham, and Beatrix Potter. Just by taking in the dreamy, charming quality of the posters (I had to include both of them, I find them irresistible), it is easy to imagine a display meant to delight both children and adults.

Just before the exhibit closes, you will also have a chance to meet Charles Van Sandwyk, on Wednesday, October 30, between 12 and 1:30 pm. The event is free and there will be refreshments.

Tuesday, October 08, 2013

Wayzgoose impressions

Those who missed Wayzgoose on Saturday, October 5, will have to wait for another two years for another chance. The event was extraordinary, colourful and vivid, thanks to all participants and the Vancouver Public Library, and of course, to the hundreds of people who came to celebrate local printing presses, publishers, and book and paper artists.

There were many amazing exhibitors and demonstrations that captivated the public, so it is very hard to single out just a few of them. But one of my favourite was the paper marbling demonstration made by Phyllis Greenwood. The patterns, the colours, the process were all unexpected and fascinating.

Marbled paper making at Wayzgoose 2013

Marbled paper making at Wayzgoose 2013

This composition of metal ornaments ornaments and brass rule from the Bowler Press, is incredible. It represents the June page from the 2014 Vancouver Letterpress League calendar printed in limited edition, that celebrates a variety of printing techniques.

Wayzgoose Vancouver, 2013

Wayzgoose Vancouver, 2013

Finally, Gary Sim from Sim Publishing put together a beautiful relief printing demonstration and gave away the resulting prints to the delight of the attending audience. The outcome was a wonderful keepsake that should remind us of this year's wonderful Wayzgoose.

Wayzgoose Vancouver, 2013

Wayzgoose Vancouver, 2013

You can see more photos from the event here. Thanks again to all those who made this event such a fun place to be on Saturday (especially to the two wonderful organizers, Gina Page from the Alcuin Society, and Helena Jehnichen, the event organizer).

Photos by Jason Vanderhill.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Weekend bibliophile events, October 5-6

Here are a few more book events coming this weekend, October 5-6, and if the weather is as nice as the forecasters promised, don't miss this occasion to have a long walk to the venues of these book events and check them out.

First of all, we hope the Alcuin Wayzgoose is on everybody's agenda. It is a great chance to meet the publishers and book artists, buy great books and memorabilia, and witness demonstrations of various book crafts such as bookbinding and papermarbling. The event is held at the Central Branch of the Vancouver Public Library on Georgia Street, from 10 am to 4 pm and admission is free.

Vancouver Book/Art Fair, presented by Project Space, runs October 5 and 6 at the Vancouver Art Gallery. The event features a series of screenings and talks about contemporary book issues. Additionally, check out the events of Artists' Books Weekend with shows and book launches.

Sunday night, Christina Johnson-Dean and Mother Tongue Publishing will launch the book The Life and Art of Edythe Hembroff-Schleicher at Railway Club on 579 Dunsmuir Street, from 5-8 pm. It is a great chance to meet the author and follow her beautifully illustrated talk.

Thursday, October 03, 2013

Alcuin Book Awards Recap - Round 3

Last night we had a chance not only to revisit the winning books of this year's Alcuin Awards in Vancouver, but to see some of the people responsible for the amazing designs. Then, David Esslemont captivated us with an account of the journey that took him to the place he is now in his life and career in his talk "Making books -- and chili." He started his presentation by noting that "chefs and book designers have something in common: they are obsessed with detail, the quality of the material, production and creativity." In the end, he declared: "If you combine choice ingredients, with a dash of insight and a little hindsight, you can make great books, and even some great chili." In between, his recollections took us through England, Italy, Wales and the United States, on a trip full of adventure, chance encounters, career turning points and food references. The audience was charmed by his tales, his sense of humour, and not the least, of his impersonation of Prince Charles. The Toronto ceremony is coming on October 7th, when East Coast book lovers will have their opportunity to celebrate the Alcuin Awards winners.

And now, to the last round of winners. (If you missed them, here are Round 1 and Round 2.)

The first prize in the Limited Edition category, The Waiting Room by Jonathan Locke Hart is simply a work of art. The designer Susan Colberg amazed the judges with the execution of the craft details, exceptional illustrations and outstanding presentation. The materials used feel luxurious and confer the book the status of a true limited-edition tome. The book is published by the University of Alberta, printed by Sean Caulfield (who also contributed with the illustrations) and Steven Dixon.

The 2012 Alcuin Design Competition

The 2012 Alcuin Design Competition

Black, by George Elliott Clarke, got the second prize in the Poetry category. The arresting quality of this book is delivered by the use of bright white paper which makes the black ink look even blacker. The full-bleed photos add a creative punch, without dominating the layout. The overall effect is that of a superb frame for the poetic content. Black is designed by Andrew Steeves, and printed and published by Gaspereau Press, using Garamond Premier Sans and Gill Sans.

The 2012 Alcuin Design Competition

The 2012 Alcuin Design Competition

Love and the Mess We're In, by Stephen Marche, is hard to describe. The winner of the first prize in the Prose Fiction category, it is a one-of-a-kind book, in terms of both content and form. As a fiction book, it achieves the rare feat of having a different layout for almost every spread. Andrew Steeves managed not only to embrace the challenge of designing and illustrating (with Jack McMaster) this book, but to create a truly beautiful and unique typographic masterpiece in the process. The book is printed and published by Gaspereau Press, mainly using Huronza typeface.

The 2012 Alcuin Design Competition 

The 2012 Alcuin Design Competition