Posted tagged ‘Ottawa Press Gang’

Another Old Year – Achievements

January 23, 2012

Well, it’s rolled around again, and again I’ll do my  brief summing up. Overall, I didn’t stroke much off the big list of major projects. Work and life got in the way. But as usual, when I add up what I did achieve, it surprises me. A lot of work on marketing this year, and my first exhibition of prints and books in a gallery setting!

Last time, I set the following goals:

  1. produce ten books in five years
    I’m not really on schedule for this, since the current book project, Tintern Abbey, was pushed into 2012 by a sudden and welcome flood of work in the studio.
  2. step up production value
    What I did produce this year certainly shows more confidence, in keeping with the “get serious!” theme of the next 5 year phase of the press.
  3. marketing: on-line presence, adverts, launches, more shows, book sellers
    Some of the ground work on planning and pushing the books paid off, with some books winding up in special collections. We hired a marketing consultant late last year, and I am determined to stop whining and learn to love social media.
  4. intensify illustration: my own, but working with other artists as well
    I’ve got some irons in the fire with work from other artists, and my own frontiers have opened up with my first efforts on wood engraving (see previous blogs).
  5. form working alliances with writers, illustrators, printers, bookbinders
    I approached a Queen’s University prof to write the intro for Tintern Abbey. He said yes, so that is about to be set in type possibly within days.
  6. further my studies in book design and typography.
    That is an on-going project indeed. I did spend some free time trolling through book spreads on line, making some observations but it’s hardly a concentrated study!

What I did do this year was a lot of little things done, including:

1) a new years card – I’m silly late this year, though!
2) Pondered reorganization, and made some minor progress
3) Tintern Abbey book got pushed, although my Wayzgoose anthology contribution made for an early study of the idea
4) Two rare commercial jobs, both invitations
5) Did the usual shows, organized one of them
6) Saw the work produced by Saint Lawrence College students from the printmaking course I taught the previous fall at their year end exhibition (That was a highlight!)
7) Collaborative calendar with the Ottawa Press Gang – (I’m April)
8) Wrote an article for Ornamentvm on the Canadian fine press scene
9) Took professional advise on marketing
10) Produced a broadside type sampler
11) Tried out wood engraving, although rightly that belongs to 2012
12) Spoke to the 2nd year architecture students at Carleton University about book arts
13) Had my first gallery show in Kingston at Studio22

Almost everything mentioned above is covered in some form or another in the previous couple dozen blog entries.

Thinking ahead to April

September 9, 2011

Well, that was summer. In the midst of an enormous burst of work, and some personal obligations, I managed very little in the way of printing. So thank goodness for the Ottawa Press Gang and specifically Steve Quick of Weathervane Press, who came up with the idea to do a calendar project for 2012, hoping that the various Ottawa presses would do a month each. I chose April, the month of my own birth. I had the black done some time ago, but our busy work schedule prohibited printing the red until just yesterday.

Originally I considered doing something in lino to do with rain, you know, the usual April cliche. Then Holly gave me a quote from one of the Brother Cadfael mystery books that mentioned April, and that led me to medieval calendars. The size of the project (to fit in a CD case) would not allow me to do a real medieval calendar, which did not number the days of the month, but I found a website that converted Julian calendars to Gregorian, which gave me April, 1145, or more accurately the 10th year of the reign of King Stephen, which is the era in which Brother Cadfael solves his mysteries. That year, April had the same weekly configuration as 2012. (Click images to see larger)

I have very little blackletter type. I even had the quote above set in the house font, Italian Oldstyle when I discovered a unlabeled tray of 18 point. Even setting the headings over the calendar was touch-and-go. I hasten to add the only reason I have any blackletter at all is that Holly thought she might use it in her art work! But now I’ve got a couple of ideas for using it, and may borrow some blackletter typefaces in the future. That happens sometimes when you settle into a particular face on a particular project.

You may note the figures on the calendar are Italianate, not Northern Gothic: I would have needed 13 figure 1′s and 13 figure 2′s to complete it…. Not even close. As the saying goes, I was out of sorts, so one must use the resources one has at hand. Let’s call it a transitional calendar.


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