I haven’t blogged overmuch in recent weeks because writing for pay or publication of some kind or another has sucked up most of my words. It’s been great, but I can’t really claim my heart’s been in it. The pull to the studio is too much.
I’ve been feeling blue about a lot of things recently, amongst them the lack of progress on Graven Images, which is almost finished. When I get into a state I have Holly to remind me of the things I’ve accomplished, all of which I seem to forget about immediately upon completion.
Now a heat wave has descended upon us, making productivity an even greater challenge. An portable air conditioner in the studio takes the edge off (about 27º C, or 80ºF) allowing us to work, but both Holly and I managed somehow to become dehydrated and badly affected by the heat. Part of it for me was sleeping one night too many in the upstairs of what we call “the old house” where the temperature must have arced up into the 90’s. We’ve now relocated for the foreseeable future to the studio loft, and easier rest.
I’ve just finished and filed an article for the Maine Antique Digest about an auction I attended on June 19. I’ve spent years writing about the antiques business, and have done hundreds of these coverages. If you blended sports reportage with stock market coverage, with a little bit of Siskel and Ebert, all thrown into an 18th century brass brewing pot, you’d end up with one of my show or auction coverages. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy doing them, and after all these years I count it as something I can do very well, when inspired.
Obviously, I can’t give much in the way of details about the story, other than to say that the collection in question belonged to my dear friends Bill Dobson and Linda Hynes. Bill and Linda owned The Upper Canadian, the Canadian antiques trade newspaper, and gave me a job editing all those years ago when I first came to Merrickville. Eventually I went on to edit the newspaper, which was certainly a career highlight for me. I was a little surprised that MAD editor Clayton Pennington asked me to cover Bill’s sale, considering he must have known, as most people in the biz do, that Bill and I are good friends, and that I would have some trouble being objective. Hey, maybe it was a test. Sure enough, it proved a challenge to write.
The Dobson auction is just one of four lengthy articles I’ve had to produce this spring, with another one destined for The Upper Canadian (this past five years in the capable hands of new owners) due July 25. The July/August issue with my review of Henry Dobson’s (no relation to Bill) new book on Canadian Maritime furniture just arrived in my mail today.
Mix in with all this a small order of ornaments for our Big Client, and a few volunteer tasks, and we have a busy schedule.
In regards to fine press printing during these busy times, there is a printing opportunity pulling me away from Graven Images. Some time back, Canadian Notes & Queries contacted me wondering if the Press would produce a keepsake for its autumn issue. This keepsake would go out to their paid subscribers, so it’s no small quantity, and is intended to show off the finer aspects of the printer’s art in Canada. Just to make things a little more intense, I’m following in the footsteps of Greenboathouse Press, whose principal, Jason Dewinetz, produced a rather stunning reproduction of a page of Nicolas Jenson’s 1476 edition of Pliny’s Natualis Historiae. I have had the opportunity to examine Jason’s work, and it is, to my eye, flawless printing. I should note that Jason has been doing the hand printing gig for only a few years, but his well of knowledge in book design goes fathoms deep, as you will learn from his bio. Having recently acquired Jim Rimmer’s type founding operation, Greenboathouse Press will be a Canadian leader in private press printing, and one to watch in the future.
So, not sweating in the least about following in Greenboathouse’s wake. Well, I am sweating, but that the heat. Really, it is. I’m doing a page also, a tribute to William Morris, although it won’t be full size. I’m starting to assemble notes for the article already.
Well, that’s enough rambling for now. For Holly and me, today is our 19th anniversary; we have no actual official date, so we just use the date we met. By mutual consent, we’re off to an air-conditioned movie house.