For those of you who are looking for a unique gift idea that is exciting, unexpected, won”t break down, doesn”t require batteries, lasts all winter, and won”t collect dust in the garage, here is a great idea: The Clawhammer Winter Concert Pass. For $40 tax you can gain admission to four (4) concerts throughout the winter to see some astonishing acoustic musicians.
Anyone who”s been lucky to be at a Clawhammer concert before knows they can expect a great, warm room, clear sound, and top-quality performers that won”t hear anywhere else. Clawhammer is gaining a reputation as a great place for acoustic solos and duos, and as such, we already have our full winter season booked with some great shows:
January 12, 2013 – Jenny Lester – Jenny is a seasoned, well-respected musician from BC. Touring regularly with the band Hungry Hill, Jenny is known for her songwriting, travelling, and teaching harmony to hillbillies all over Canada. More about her at www.jennylester.com
February 10, 2013 – Jason & Pharis Romero – On Nov. 18th Jason and Pharis won the Canadian Folk Music Award for best New/Emerging Artists. Not only do they build great banjos, but they play great old-timey original music. This is the must-see show of the year! To find out more about them check here: www.jasonandpharis.com
February 17, 2013 – Ben Sures, Bubba Uno, and David P. Smith – This is the second tour with these three unique musicians. For more information about each of them view the tour page here: http://bubbauno.wordpress.com/about/
March 1, 2013 – Zachary Lucky – At the tender age of 23, young Zach has already achieved critical acclaim as well as having logged thousands of miles back and forth across the continent. His heartfelt melodies and gently vocal style hearken to the early years of songsmith Sam Beam (Iron & Wine) with a uniquely Canadian apology. For more information visit his website: www.zacharylucky.com
Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 778-519-5010 for more information.
In March of 2012, our friends at Tourism Fernie put us in touch with John Lee, who among other writing gigs, travels around BC filming these little videos promoting interesting things to do in our province. John and I had a great time, and some good laughs, putting together a little print. Have a peek at the video.
The video took a while to get edited and launched but it’s now perfectly timed for this winter season.
Thanks again John and Tourism Fernie!
Once you have a bit of type, or old printing equipment, you”ll find that it grows. You”ll leave the shop overnight and the next day two drawers of 36pt. Clarendon Bold have produced a drawer of 12pt. Century Schoolbook.
Okay, there”s a little more to it than that, but there is a “birds and bees” ethos to the way new type comes to the letterpress printers” collection. When you are passionate about a process that is hundreds of years old, and a very, very few people are as taken with the process as you are, you”ll want to care for the equipment. When it comes time, as it does for everyone, and as it will for me one day, to pass the torch on to another generation of printers, we are the kind of people who want to see the equipment go to a good home.
The trick with letterpress equipment is the getting it there.
Being that a drawer of type can hold 30-80lbs. of lead type, and a case of drawers could hold 24 drawers, that means a single case of type can weigh upwards of 800lbs.
One day in April I got an email from a fellow named Pat, who”s family had owned a printing business in Nelson, BC. for 80 years. They had weathered the storm of the transition to photo-typesetting, to digital typesetting, but they did fair well when the restaurant next door burned to the ground. All the sensitive digital equipment was lost, but the durable letterpress equipment in the basement survived perfectly. The insurance company rebuilt the building, a new tenant was found, but what to do with the gear?
Pat, like many of his generation, had grown up surrounded by lead type and Heidlberg windmill presses, but was caught up in the changes that a commercial printer needed to make from the 70″s through the 90″s to stay afloat. As a result he never learned the old trade from his father or grandfather. He had fond memories of his father setting business cards and small jobs for friends, so he wanted to see this gear go to a good home. That”s where we came in. It turns out there are not many places in Western Canada that are still using their metal type.
After a quick visit and a bit of negotiation, a very fair deal was struck and I vowed to return with a trailer and a friend to help load. I didn”t know what was in there, just that it needed to get back into use. This lot had six cases full of mystery type.
And so it was that on a rainy day in early June, my friend and colleague Keith Liggett and I set out for the West Kootenays with his Suburban and a borrowed trailer. I don”t know much about trailers, and maximum weights, and all that, but I”m pretty sure we were overweight for this particular trailer. In retrospect it was pretty ridiculous that we tried, but it seemed okay and once were going it was easier to keep going than to stop and deal with the weight. We just drove slow. Nelson to Fernie is a 5-hour drive when you”re going 70 kms/hr.
At any rate, we made it back safe and sound, and had the dubious task of unloading 100 drawers of type the next morning. Then I had the even more dubious task of somehow assimilating 6 new cases of type into an already pretty full workspace. For the time being all the extra type sat in the middle of the gallery, so it had to be dealt with.
With Katherine”s help (our illustrious intern) we got the drawers sorted (haha… printer”s joke) and arranged. We moved cases back and forth, organized them based on size and style, and miraculously got all 6 new cases into the workspace without losing any walking space or worktops. It was truly a thing to behold, if you”d seen the gallery before the assimilation.
The result of the trip was essentially a doubling of the number of metal typefaces available, with some real winners in there like Huxley Vertical, Umbra Shadow, and Bodoni Extra Black. Thanks to Keith for the company and the safe driving, and a special thanks to Pat McLaughlin of McLaughlin printing for tracking us down, and trusting us with his family”s heritage. We”ll take good care of it, I promise.
Well, I do get to meet some interesting people in this line of work, don’t I?
One of the things that I’ve noticed since opening Clawhammer Press is that there are plenty of people who, like myself, are enamoured with the technology of the past. Not because we are afraid of progress, or technology, but because we see value in the process and results of the old ways. Industry tends towards faster, more efficient, and more precise. So it should be. What we don’t realize is that modern industry and technology churn ahead at breaknecking pace, in its wake is a raft of outdated technology that still has value because of what it gave us in our history, and what it can do that new technology can’t yet (or never will be able to). It takes a keen eye to spot these little gems, and often they are put aside and nearly forgotten about until the artists, philosophical gleaners of the technological era, discover, exploit, and ultimately stabilize these processes.
So yesterday I was minding my own business when a young man ran into the shop, walked right up to me and said “I’m so glad you’re open, do you mind if I take a portrait of you with your gear?”. Contrary to popular belief this doesn’t happen every day. When I seemed agreeable he brought in his camera… a WWII relic with the largest lens I’ve ever seen. Apparently the lens was used for nocturnal aerial recon in the great war, and thus was designed to accept all kinds of light.
With a few minutes of setup and fiddling with dials and knobs, my new friend Ryan of www.ryanandbeth.ca photography popped a large slab of film in the back of the camera, stepped away from it and said “I’m gonna count to 3…”. After a soft shutter he pulled the film out of the back, shook it for a few seconds, and then peeled back the cover exposing a 4″ x 5″ negative and a complete 4 x 5″ print.
According to Ryan, the resolution of the negative is the equivalent of a 243 Megapixel digital camera (they haven’t invented one of those yet, have they?). Not only that, but it develops itself, stops the process, and left me with a lovely print, and the cameraman with a negative for future prints.
With the big lens, the depth of field he was able to achieve was quite astonishing. Objects 2 feet from me were completely blurred (take that, photoshop) straight out of the camera. As you can see in the photos he took, the overall effect was classy, classic, and dramatic in a very nostalgic way.
It was only after taking the photo on the left of me sitting at the desk that we noticed the similarities between it and the photo of my Great Grandfather that I have hung on the wall. It shows him sitting at his carving bench, circa WWII, carving away to natural light. The positioning of our bodies, the lighting, and the “ethos” of the shots was pretty astonishing.
I didn’t get to meet my Great-Grandfather, since he died before I was born, but somehow I think we would have agreed; newer and faster is not always better.
Special thanks to Ryan and Beth for dropping by and leaving me with this great reminder that there are others out there who want to touch something real.
As an artist I am constantly inspired by other artists. I think that passion to create is contagious so being around other artist challenges me to get painting, printing, creating. A couple of artists who also share this view are Micheline Ryckman and Amy Chapoton. Both have worked as artist and professional photographers for a while, and like our family, recently abandoned the “stable” life to pursue a dream. Their blog Ordinary to Extraordinary (OE for short) tries to capture the inspiration in every day. One of the ways they use their gifts is by finding other artists and featuring them on their blog. This is a gift in many ways because they not only are fantastic photographers, but they also have a clear understanding of how to get to the core of what other artists are getting at. This month OE featured Clawhammer Press on their blog as the featured artist, and they have captured the space in a way that I have not been able to. Sometimes that bit of perspective is all it takes.
Please take a minute to go see their site, and have a look at the beautiful photos they have taken of the space their Ordinary to Extraordinary blogsite.
I was directed to this video by someone who was doing a search online, and came up with this youtube link. I had no idea it was there! Thanks to Sandy for posting it.
Well if you weren”t there the other night didn”t you just miss a magical night. Two lovely, unique songbirds sent their dulcid strains wafting over an appreciative audience Saturday night at the Clawhammer Gallery.
Once again we moved the art out of the way and moved the chairs in for a theatre experience that had the personal touch of a house concert with the light and sound of an acoustic hall.
Oxford-based singer Miriam Jones-Carr opened with a set of six songs from her latest album, and a couple new tunes. Her voice is at times soaring and at others vulnerable, drawing the crowd along on her sweet journey.
After a quick break to grab another glass of wine, Juno-award winning folkster Cara Luft took to the stage and danced her way through two full sets of songs and stories. Her rocksteady voice is matched only by her impeccable guitar playing. She even brought out the banjo and plunked out half a dozen clawhammer style tunes in honor of the venue.
All tolled, it was an incredible night of music and cheer. Don”t miss the next one, Bob Wiseman, on Feb. 18th.
Well folks, it”s that time of year again. The detritus of the Holiday Season is behind us with all its ribbons and bows, plastic toys and Rocky Mountain retreats. We”ve recovered from our New Years Hangover, and only just started breaking our New Years Resolutions. Just when we”re getting back into the swing of “normal” life, we gotta start applying the pressure.
Well, haven”t you heard? 3-ish out of 4 psychologists agree that laughter is one of the keys to a long, happy marriage. To celebrate this miracle romancing technique, here at Clawhammer Press we”ve created a whole series of irreverent, ironic, and down-right funny valentines cards to give you a chance to spice up your love life with something a bit unexpected. Change is the order of the day, so check out our online store for the latest in valentines card fashion, then cuddle up with your sweetheart and have a laugh.
Here is a great little video form Portland, OR. based Egg Press who made this to celebrate their 10th Anniversary. It gives a good idea of what goes into making upsiderecords.com a custom letterpress project.
Hey everyone, the store is sort of open now, our operating hours are Tuesday to Saturday, 10-5. Sunday & Monday we”re closed. We are still expecting a ton of stock to come in early October, and the store will be filling up with in-house merch also. The other thing that will be verthwesslot happening is the gallery wall will be filling up with art of various types, high-quality professional artist will be selling their works.
As for retail shopping, the first 100 or so people to come and buy something from the store will receive one of these dandy hand-printed kraft bags with a found cut of Bill Monroe (the father of bluegrass) and Clawhammer Press in wood type. Just an added bonus to say “thanks” for supporting the dream.
We also have a couple possible exciting projects starting, I”ll keep you posted as they evolve.