Posted tagged ‘exhibits’

Exhibition opens at the General in Almonte

September 3, 2013

If it’s autumn, then it’s the season for shows and exhibits. Holly and I have our work at The General in Almonte, Ontario for the duration of an exhibition called “Text Me!” The theme is right up our alley. It is a beautiful shop/gallery. The opening is this coming Friday, September 6th.

For more information on the General, click HERE.

The General Storefront in Almonte, Ontario

The General storefront in Almonte, Ontario. How a village in rural 19th century Ontario came to be named for General Juan Almonte is a bit of a story, but the store in named in honour of him as well. There is a extraordinary glass etching of Almonte over the door.





Private press in the great outdoors

July 10, 2013


This is a shot from the Ravenswing show in downtown Ottawa earlier this summer. A lovely park and beautiful fair weather greeted those who came to check out our work. It’s what I might call a show for the 99 percent — there’s even a requirement for vendors to have a substantial portion of their stock priced $20 or lower (a challenge for me – most of my work is decidedly not priced for impoverished youth, but we rose to it). As a result, the show had an edgy but friendly vibe to it, and the vital and predominantly youthful exhibitors seemed to be having a good time. The combination of these elements, and the hard work of volunteer promoters, brought steady crowds all day long.

But this little missive isn’t about Ravenswing in particular; it’s about the things that go through the mind of private press printers who bring their work into the great outdoors.

Everything I make – everything – involves paper, book board, book cloth, paste, glue and other materials. I’ve been known to brag that my books are made to doggedly endure the passage of the ages. It is a conceit, of course. There’s the great destroyer, fire, and perhaps coming in a close second is that occasional human need to rend objects of beauty or wisdom, particularly books.

When I exhibit outside, I am at the very least under tent. I leave my books exposed to the air – they seem quite happy there so long as there is no prolonged direct daylight. I don’t want to even chance them being caught for a moment in plastic sleeves in the sun. Condensation forms inside the bag.  Anything that comes out of the studio will have collected a wee bit of moisture, nothing serious, just the usual to and fro, give and take of normal humidity that you will get in any household climate that is not completely hermetically sealed. Likewise framed prints. The same issue applies for the unframed prints, which are housed in ‘peel-n-stick’ clear plastic sleeves. Of course, rain is a big concern.There’s also wind and heat.

In these strange days of climatic change, water rising ankle high or driving horizontally into the booth is no fiction. There is nothing so despairing than the wails of a watercolour artist watching pigments puddle in painterly swirls at the base of an easel. My point is that, unless you deal in stone sculpture, outdoor shows are not for the faint of heart. It doesn’t take even a hurricane force wind to lift a booth heavenward, which could leave a potter in a suicidal state (or worse, if they hang on and go up with it) and while the encaustic (wax) paintings laugh (haha!) at rain, heat can have devastating results.

I suppose some printers could hang out broadsides printed on cotton rag paper, laugh at the gods and let them get soaked, then leave them hanging and dry out. But even that is fraught with danger. If they are not completely dry when packed away, one may find when unpacking many exuberantly colourful blooms of mould, and the hateful whiff of mildew. And this can happen even without rain, if the outdoor venue is sufficiently dank. You know, like “art in the swamp” or some such in the Florida biyous, or anywhere out-of-doors in Britain.

All this being said, we take our chances. All endeavors entail risk, and if we want to sell our work, we must show. Outdoor shows tend to be affordable for vendors, and they are popular with the public. All I can do is prepare insofar as it is practical, and accept what nature doles out with a philosophical grace…. and perhaps a calming  beverage.


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.

Impression | Expression

October 20, 2011

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