WTF is a Wayzgoose? (and WNYBAC, for that matter?)

This weekend, get thee to Grimbsy for their 34th annual Wayzgoose, a festive fair and celebration of all things book arts-related. While the origin of the word wayzgoose is still up for speculation, there is no doubt that this tradition of annual printers’ parties dates back to at least the late 1600s, when Joseph Moxon, author of Mechanick Exercises (1683-1684), wrote: “It is customary for the Journey-men every year to make new paper windows…because that day they make them the Master Printer gives them a Way-goose, that is, he makes them a good Feast, and not only entertains them at his own house, but besides, gives them Money to spend at the Ale-house or Tavern at Night.” Nice.

Judging by last year’s attendance by many wonderful book artists, binders, engravers, printers, small presses, and papermakers, it would appear that the tradition is alive and well, at least in Southern Ontario and Upstate New York. Annual Wayzgooses (Wayzgeese?) are also held at the Minnesota Center for Book Arts in Minneapolis, The School of Visual Concepts in Seattle, the University of California at Irvine, the Hamilton Wood Type and Printing Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin, and here at Coach House Books in Toronto. For today’s post, we’re featuring one of Grimsby’s exhibitors from last year, (and this year’s producer of the Wayzgoose poster shown above), The Western New York Book Arts Collaborative. Stay tuned for more profiles on book artists and small presses in future posts.

The Western New York Book Arts Collaborative (WNYBAC) is a fantastic organization located in Buffalo, New York. With a mission to promote, encourage and develop the printing and book arts through education and access for individual artists and underserved communities, the center holds workshops in letterpress,  screenprinting, bookbinding and papermaking, as well as field trips and exhibitions. Currently on view is a show titled Serigraphy: The Art of Screenprinting, featuring Sandra Hall and Ed Ott, Jim Butler, and Anne Muntges.

Artist Sandra Hall worked with master printer Ed Ott on this epic series, The Journey of the Spirit, of which the above print is part. Created in Tempe, Arizona in the early 1980s, the images are inspired by the colours of dusk and dawn in the American Southwest. More on this incredible series here.

For his first US exhibition, UK artist Jim Butler is exhibiting 26 alphabetized screenprints of signage and logo fragments he found in various European cities. These prints are proofs for an artist book series titled Signs of Life, the first of which can be seen and purchased on his website.

Anne Muntges’ In Process series introduces viewers to serigraphy and reveals how screenprinters produce their work. The above image is an example of Muntges’ work, which is also available through WNYBAC’s Etsy store. To see more work, visit the artist’s website.

WNYBAC also sells handprinted posters, postcards, and accessories, some of which are shown above, via their Etsy storefront. We won’t geek out here on all the typographic and printing details, but a click on any image will bring you to its Etsy page with an informative description.

Find out more on WNYBAC through their website
See more photos of WNYBAC on Kristen Merola’s blog, composition notebook
See available work for purchase from WNYBAC on Etsy

Bonus: check out this fantastic lockup for their Deerhoof poster, and the beautiful result below!

Not sure why this is so incredible? See this short, sweet video primer on letterpress by Naomie Ross on Vimeo

Now you know.

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