AUTUMN IS THE SEASON FOR MIGRATION and every autumn for the past sixteen years, book lovers, private press and letterpress printers, as well as graphic designers, make a migration to the Annapolis Valley of Nova Scotia to attend Gaspereau Press’s annual Wayzgoose. Gary Dunfield and Andrew Steeves are the proprietors and hosts of this annual gathering. Gaspereau Press was established in 1997 and over the years, has developed a loyal and strong following. Instead of a trade show or vendors fair, the Gasperaeu Press Wayzgoose is an open house that allows visitors to peek behind the curtain and glimpse the various facets of publishing house and printing operations and to ask questions of creative artists. The programme of events follows a similar routine each year with a mix of readings by poets and authors, panel discussions on writing and printing, lectures and presentations by printers and book designers, and a wide variety of hands on demonstrations of printing, bookbinding, papermaking, and hot type linecasting.
This year’s events began on the Friday evening with Gaspereau Press authors Brian Bartlett, Allan Cooper, Sue Goyette & Sean Howard reading selected passages from their latest works. The evening was well attended and visitors thoroughly enjoyed the readings and the opportunity to talk with the authors. Saturday morning featured two simultaneous activities in two separate locations: an Authors’ Salon hosted by Monica Kidd that featured the authors from the previous evening and a Book-Arts Panel on the topic of “How to Get Your Start in Letterpress Printing”. This latter activity, moderated by Andrew Steeves, was a frank discussion about how one might begin to get seriously inky-printy and featured Myrna Keliher (Expedition Press, Kingston, Washington State, USA), Michael Hepher (Clawhammer Press, Fernie, British Columbia) and Stephen Quick (Weathervane Press). The audience was made up of local folks and visitors that included a busload of design students from NSCAD who participated actively in the question and answer session following the panel discussion. After lunch an Open House was held at the Gaspereau Press building. Myrna Keliher, Michael Hepher, Laura MacDonald (Deep Hollow Print) and Tina Arsenault (Arquoise Design) provided printing demonstrations and allowed visitors to print a souvenir on a variety of presses. In the Bindery visitors where taught how to make a pamphlet stitch book and Andrew Steves assisted visitors to typecast a slug of their design. The afternoon provided a great opportunity to talk to the artists and buy some of their unique works of art. Finally, on Saturday evening, the Lochhead Memorial Book-Arts Talk took place featuring some swinging music by Zakary Miller and illustrated talks by Myrna Keliher & Michael Hepher.
Overall it was a splendid event. If you are interested in any facet of printing or publishing, this should be on your to-do list.