(More) Letter to Canadians

Work on the Confederation Country Cabinet pieces continues in the press room. After the delay waiting for capital Ks to be freshly cast, there was another pause of a few days waiting for a batch of paper to arrive from Papeterie Saint-Armand in Montreal.

After consulting with Brenda Whiteway (the artist overseeing the project), and visiting the cabinet itself, I ordered some Canal Paper, Saint-Armand’s machine-made paper in both cream and white and it arrived early this week.

There are three pleasant aspects to using this Saint-Armand paper: first, David and his crew at Saint-Armand as simply lovely people, a pleasure to deal with, and a company to be treasured by anyone who appreciates craftsmanship and pride-in-product; second, it was David who connected Brenda and I in the first place (we live only a few miles apart, but it took our paper man to connect artist with printer) and, finally, back in 2010 I got to visit Saint-Armand and see the machine that makes the Canal paper right up close.

With K and paper in hand, I was ready to head back to the print shop. This work is a challenge for reasons beyond simply naivety: I’m using a newly-case 14 pt. Bodini and a decades old 12 pt. Bodini on the same job, which makes the process of “makeready” (the subtle adjustments, with bits of tissue paper and other magic, to make sure everything is evenly inked) more complicated that usual (amplified by my naivety). But, with the wise counsel-by-Facebook from my friend Fred the Printer in Sweden (best piece of advice was to go and buy some cigarette paper, which is perfect for makeready), I’ve made my way, and yesterday I completed two of the six panels.

Here’s a detail from the panel that includes a quote from Jack Layton’s Letter to Canadians and another from Adrienne Clarkson:

Jack Layton quote.

It’s not perfect, but then printing can only approach perfection from a distance and never achieve it; but I’m happy with the result, and the Saint-Armand paper was a joy to print on. Today I’m back to the composing room to set passages from J. J. Steinfeld and Milton Acorn.


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