Monthly update

My, how the time does fly! In the intervening month since my last blog, I have done a number of printing related tasks. I completed my submission to the Grimsby Wayzgoose anthology. The Grimsby Wayzgoose is the venerable book arts show held in Grimsby, Ontario every year in April. ‘Waysgoose’ is an old word to describe a printer’s party, but it has evolved into a show. Participants are invited to submit a signature (one or two 8.5 x 11 sheets folded in half to create a 4 or 8 page signature) which are compiled and collated into bound anthologies.

Back in December, Hugh Barclary of Thee Hellbox Press asked me to work with him on a collaborative Wayzgoose contribution with another printer, on the theme ‘alternatives to war’. I had to bow out of this for a number of reasons, but decided to carry on with the theme. For a while I was going to do the old hippy chant, ‘Make Love, Not War.’ I had even set up the type for the ‘Not War’ portion:


with ‘Make Love’ done in calligraphy by Holly. I considered doing a vaguely erotic block print to go with it, or perhaps hands clasped in the ecstatic moment or something, but just couldn’t come up with anything that wasn’t, well, silly. The quote was part of the problem. So back to the drawing board, and ended up with a William Gladstone quote that had a similar sentiment, but with a little more…. what? Dignity, perhaps. Geez! I’m getting uptight.

“We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace.”

An interested statement from a man who periodically ran an empire in the later 19th century, but there you have it. Apparently he was a Dove, and Disraeli was the Hawk. I am a bit cynical about blanket statements and slogans and buzz phrases regarding peace, love and all that. I don’t subscribe to the simplicity implied in Gladstone’s statement, or the hippy chant. If there is a solution to war, I know it’s not going to be a simple fix. All of these things are frigging complex, and as I get older, they seem to get more complex, which makes these simplistic solutions so enticing. I still haven’t ruled out doing a run of a much longer quote on this subject from none other than that master of stirring eloquence, Martin Luther King. Sometimes, in the face of human savagery and brutality, the sentimental refuge of idealism is preferrable to apologetic pragmatism. Sometimes not.

Well, enough waffling. Holly designed the piece, featuring a digitally produced ‘Power of Love’ centerpiece, and two small linocuts based on portion of this text. I used a large board and printed them together — successfully — thus saving a third print run.


Final result:


I used Fox River cotton rag paper, but it is a bit too lightweight. Fortunately, the translucency works for the piece, adding a kind of geometric weight to the inside of the signature. The type is handset in lead in the house font, Italian Oldstyle.

Explore posts in the same categories: Letterpress printing, Shows, Wood Engraving

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