Once & Future

Charlotte Ashley – Book seller, collector, writer, editor, historian

April 25, 2011

Things to do this weekend: Wayzgoose!

I couldn’t possibly be more excited about this weekend, because for the first time in years I will be traveling outside of Toronto exclusively for a bookish event: the 33rd Annual Wayzgoose in Grimsby, Ontario.

There are a lot of bookish events in Ontario, but this is the only one I can think of dedicated specifically to the “Book Arts” rather than, say, publishing, reading, or rare/used books.  That’s probably why they now boast attendance of upwards 2000 people from all over the world – this isn’t exactly an opportunity to sell books or schmooze so much as it’s a genuine festival, a celebration of the arts that bring you printed books:  letterpress printing, paper making, bookbinding, marbling, calligraphy and more.  I look forward to demonstrations and displays as well as the opportunity to spend money on one-of-a-kind books from odd and out-of-the-way bookmakers.

I started this post, by the way, with the impression that the Wayzgoose was founded and hosted by Erin, Ontario’s Porcupine’s Quill Press, but after some research I discover this is not the case.  The Wayzgoose is entirely independent, officially sponsored by the Grimsby Public Art Gallery.  My confusion probably stems from the fact that Porcupine’s Quill is enormously supportive of the endeavor, especially as they publish Canada’s only dedicated Book Arts journal, the Devil’s Artisan.  It is through Porcupine’s Quill that I learned of the event and because of their cheerleading that I am so psyched about the event – and probably also because of one or two excellent wares they promise to have available: a new issue of D.A. and a new facsimile edition of George Walker’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.

And to wander further off on a tangent, Porcupine’s Quill seems to be making a stab at replacing Gaspereau Press as the country’s most talked-about craft press – not only are they running a social-media contest right now to promote Alice’s Adventures, but I spotted their little ad in the print edition of this weekend’s Globe and Mail books pages.  I choose to interpret this as evidence of a surge of interest in the book arts. Who’s with me?

Well nevermind, but I will be in Grimsby on Saturday, and I hope some of you will be to!

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