Canadian Notes & Queries Keepsake

The latest edition of Canadian Notes & Queries

I’ve heard word that the most recent issue of Canadian Notes & Queries has come out complete with the article I wrote on William Morris and (to subscribers) the letterpress keepsake. My friends from Weathervane Press brought a copy to show me, and as I always do, I draw a comparison between the original submission and the final printed version. This was a habit I learned from a client years ago, not intended to generate outrage at changes to one’s pristine and sacrosanct text (ha!) but rather to learn the M.O. of the editor, what they liked or disliked in usage and grammar, what they prefer to cut etc in order to improve the next product you pass by their desk. In the end, doing this in conjunction with reading the periodical, I could custom write for each editor for whom I submitted work. Since editors changed like the hours, it became quite the task, but an invaluable learning tool.

In comparing the two text, I found that two paragraphs have been cut due to length. The first dealt with the challenges of printing large magnesium plates:

While this may seem to be a labour saving move, short cuts can often become long cuts. There are serious printing production issues with large plates, particularly when mixing large dark graphics with fine type. I bet that the fineness of the decorative border surrounding the type would not starve the plate of ink on each pass. Beneath this lie the issues surrounding the use of digital type for letterpress purposes. Fonts designed to print on laser or ink jet printers rarely convert to relief process with quality. We sourced the fonts from the digital font house P22 (, which specializes in restoring historical faces to the digital world, including Morris Golden and our own house font, Italian Oldstyle, designed by the great typographer Frederick Goudy.

The second qualified the Morris-love that infuses the piece. Not everyone holds the old guy with the same doe-eyed admiration that I harbour:

The private press movement did not begin with the Kelmscott Press, but it did inspire numerous typographers and other presses to carry on Morris’ mission in their own manner, albeit with a more stream-lined, less archaic sensibility perhaps. Morris’ aesthetics were definitely not the taste of modernism. Later critics considered him reactionary, which is ironic, since he thought of himself as a revolutionary.

And here is the keepsake:

CNQ keepsake inspired by William Morris

You know, it is ironic that, years ago, I spent a lot of energy trying to get published in Canadian (and American) literary journals, and I finally manage it once I ply my hand to another occupation altogether. Call it destiny, call it chance, call it what you will: it has a sense of humour.

Explore posts in the same categories: Fine Press Printing, Writing

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One Comment on “Canadian Notes & Queries Keepsake”

  1. […] – Graven Images – prospectus – Signature for Wayzgoose – Exhibition promotional broadside – wood engraving self portrait – Tenebrismo regular edition – Graven Images – linocut series – 8 prints – Taj Mahal illustration commission – CNQ keepsake […]

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