Wednesday, December 16, 2009

a holiday gift from a generous Ontario book publisher

A couple of weeks back, I had the pleasure of visiting The Porcupine's Quill, Erin Ontario's full service book-printing shop run by Order of Canada recipients Tim and Elke Inkster. The Porcupine's Quill produces both a full list of literary titles each year and two issues a year of The Devil's Artisan, Canada's journal of the printing arts.

Situated in a storefront on Erin's historic Main Street, PQL would be a fascinating daytrip destination for anyone from the GTA and points immediately north, south and west. When I arrived, Tim was working on the layout for a new book entitled A is for Alice -- an alphabet in handcarved woodcuts by printmaker George Walker. He took me downstairs to show me the Heidelberg Press on which every PQL book and journal is printed, and Elke demonstrated the signature sewing machine used to stitch together the pieces of each book before binding.

I ran into Tim Inkster and George Walker (and PQL intern Caleigh Minshall) at last weekend's Small Press of Toronto book fair at the Gladstone Hotel, and they mentioned a short film that had been made to commemorate the publishing of A is for Alice. The film is now available online, and is a timely reminder of how technologies of the past and present are combining and cooperating to make beautiful, artful contributions to our culture.

The death of print?... I think not.


You can also see it full-size at this YouTube link.

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