‘Though an angel should write, / still ’tis devils must print.’— Thomas Moore (1779–1852)
A Rogue's Gallery
George A. Walker
Michelle Walker and I have been making books and prints at our private press for over twenty years. We use a Vandercook SP15 proof press, located in our re-purposed garage in the Leslieville neighbourhood in Toronto. Besides the book press, hot stamping press and cases of type, one can find the studio crammed with the hand-printed books and prints that we have generated over the years.
We've worked under many press names (Biting Dog Press, Cheshire Cat Press, Columbus Street Press, Pancake Press, Wind of Change Press) that reflect the partnerships and collaborations we have initiated. My favourite medium is wood engraving and most of my time is spent engraving blocks for book projects. We avoid commission work and don't enjoy working on projects that may compromise our creative control.
As a book artist I want my works to reflect my own quirky and eccentric style. So, besides creating limited-edition books I like to experiment with the constitution of the book. It's challenging and fun to tamper with the structure of the book and its cultural concepts. These unique works are my artist's books, which can be more like sculpture and may stretch the definitions of traditional bookbinding and printing.
As much as we enjoy the traditional book form we are aware of its changing status in culture, both as information vehicle and archive of knowledge. The private press is perhaps the best place to pay homage to the enduring qualities of this most advanced technology called `the book'. In the future we will see what stands the test of time as an archive of our culture, the finely made book or the new permeable technology.
The Devil's Artisan would like to acknowledge the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Magazine Fund (CMF) through the Support for Arts and Literary Magazines (SALM) component toward our editorial and production costs. Thanks, as well, for the generosity of the Canada Council for the Arts, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Sleeman Brewing Company.