All posts in Printing


Small and Fine Press Book Fair: Sept. 9, 2017, at Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto

Two years ago, the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library at the University of Toronto hosted a number of small and fine presses as they exhibited and sold their publications. The inspiration for this was an exhibition of fine printing drawn from the Library’s holdings that was on at that time. Continue Reading…


Canada’s entry in the Oxford Bodleian Library’s celebrations of 500 years of William Shakespeare

This is Canada’s entry in the Oxford Bodleian Library’s celebrations of 500 years of William Shakespeare.

They asked printers around the world to submit a broadsheet of one of his sonnets printed by letterpress. Ours is printed by Alex Widen of Clinton, BC, a former Vancouver printer and colleague of Jim Rimmer. Ingeburg van Hammerstein is a local artist with whom I did a book of Shakespeare’s “Dark Lady” sonnets. Continue Reading…


A Stop by Gerard Brender à Brandis’s Home Studio

I visited Stratford, Ontario a few weeks back to take in a new adaptation of the Henriad called The Breath of Kings being presented at the Festival. In between plays, I chanced by Gerard Brender à Brandis’ studio located in his beautifully restored Greek Revival Saltbox cottage near the town’s main street.

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On Gaspereau Press’ “Glenn Goluska in Toronto” by Andrew Steeves


In 2011, Glenn Goluska received the Robert R. Reid Award for his lifetime of distinguished contributions to the book arts in Canada. Sadly he died that year. It is hard to believe that it is five years since Glenn left us – that makes the Gaspereau Press publication Glenn Goluska in Toronto especially welcome. In 2011, Andrew Steeves visited Glenn and recorded him speaking about his early years as a designer and printer. One of these occasions was the afternoon of the day that Glenn was presented with the Robert R. Reid Award and medal in Montreal.

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A Visit to the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum

Summertime means wedding season – and for me, a chance to explore some significant printing history on the road. I recently attended a wedding in Niagara, Ontario. Having no obligations other than to show up on the day of, I took the chance to sneak away from the preparations to visit the Mackenzie Printery and Newspaper Museum.

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Chinese paper rubbings

The first form of printing consisted of rubbings from Chinese tombs shortly after the invention of paper at least 1,500 years ago. Numbers of copies could be made from the carved stones to propagate cultural myths, but Imperial fiats and regulations were also carved in stone, with copies of the rubbings disseminated. That sounds like printing to me. Continue Reading…


Printmaking as a Dramatic Public Event

In August, 2014 on Granville Island in Vancouver BC, a full-size steamroller was employed by fifteen artists to create 4′ by 8′ prints in limited editions of four on hemp and cotton cloth using archival inks. Continue Reading…


WePress: Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside’s printing makerspace

One of the topics that has been exciting the library community in recent years is “makerspaces”. These are workshops that allow members of the community to use tools that they may not have access to at home, with the goal of developing skill levels and interest in the larger community in making things. These can include many different kinds of tools from woodworking to computing. Continue Reading…

Photo: Kazuho Yamamoto

Mesmerized by the beautiful hands: The Barbarian Press film

The film goes by at a deliberate pace, like the venerable craft practised by Jan and Crispin Elsted. Which is interesting because the filmmaker Sarah Race is so young. Sarah was a one-person film crew and the Elsteds said in the Q&A after the screening that she’d taken the time to blend into press activities so that they forgot she was there. And it shows: we are intimately close to Crispin as he gathers a sequence of type between his fingers, and to Jan when she adjusts the press with a huge wrench. The abiding images for me are the closeups of the lovely, capable hands of these two craftspeople as they lovingly perform their work. Sarah’s trailer generously offers some of the most memorable moments  from the film. Continue Reading…