Saturday, October 20th can only be described using one word, abundance. Others who experienced the day may have their own word for it, a neighbour called it a rich day, to which I agreed, but I needed my own word, so abundance it is.
The week leading up to October 20th was not great, I had been followed relentlessly by a migraine that actually woke me from a dead sleep on more then one occasion. I spent more time on the couch or in bed then I did upright, not a state I like to admit to. There were bright spots, but in the fog of a head and body that don’t cooperate, I wasn’t embracing them. So when I woke up Saturday morning pain free the day started off with a bang.
Saturdays my husband and I take turns visiting and running errands for his mother, or as he sometimes jokes the APU (aged parental unit). He was working so I made my way to her in a bit of a rush, as I had a list of places I needed (ok, wanted, but is that so wrong?) to be. Luckily for me she was in good spirits, so groceries, paper, chat, and I was off.
This gave me exactly one hour and twenty five minutes to visit the Gaspereau Press Wayzgoose, an open house at the press for writers, printmakers, bibliophiles, papermakers, bookbinders and those interested in local cultural activities. Last year I went for a workshop in the morning and ended up staying all day. This year time was short, so I wanted (this time it is actually needed, what I really wanted to do was stay all day) to check out the action, say hi to couple of people and then move on to my next destination.
As I walked through the doors I saw David Brewer of Rabbittown Press, a talented artist from Fredericton, NB getting ready for the open house. I was greeted by Andrew Steeves, who somehow quickly put me to work at one of the presses helping visitors print part of the days poster. The last time I set foot near a press of the sort that Gaspereau Press operates (see, I’m even stumbling over what to call it, is it a letterpress? Hell if I know) was a year ago at the 2011 Wayzgoose. Lucky for me Andrew is a no nonsense teacher, press this, do that, don’t worry, just don’t leave anything on the press, holler if you need anything.
My first victim of the day was a woman named Laura, an illustrator and artist who just moved to Nova Scotia with her fiancé, clearly excited about her new home and the discovery of Gaspereau Press. She studied at Emily Carr University and has a passion for illustration, writing, bookmaking and printmaking. Can’t wait to see her work and find out more about how she ended up on the east coast.
During my brief time at the press I got to chat with Dick Groot, a photographer based in Wolfville, who I seem to be meeting up with everwhere except our hometown, last time was in Halifax at the Cultural Federation offices. My neighbour Stan Moeller, a former journalist and educator, who now works the land just up the road from me tried his hand at the press. Visitors from all over the province were trickling in, still nearly an hour before the open house was officially to begin.
Just as my time was about to run out printmaker Dan Steeves arrived. I didn’t really get the opportunity to talk to him, exchanging only a few bits about our mutual friend Bob Morouney of Hidden House Press. I did notice that Dan uses both sides of his zinc plates, sanding down and apparently sandblasting the backs so he can etch images. He also mentioned that Mt. Allison University uses nitric acid for etching, which he feels is a good clean option, even if it is quite harsh, I expect they have strong safety procedures in place.
With that I had to abandon ship, not a happy moment for me, but it would all be worth it in the end. I got home at exactly noon, jumped from drivers to passengers seat so my husband could drive us down the highway to Halifax. We met friends Adam and Kristina at Wharf Wraps in Eastern Passage where the abundance continued. I was given the largest piece of fishI have seen, lightly battered, cooked to perfection, I only finished half, and wished I was headed straight home so I could bring the rest with me.
Our mad dash to Halifax was to finally cross helicopter ride off my husband’s to do list. It was a brief excursion, 8 minutes to be exact, but well worth it. We took off from Shearwater and flew over both bridges in the Halifax Harbour, then back again. The side door wide open, a spectacular view, our only regret that we didn’t get to sit with our legs hanging out the door.
Moments after landing back a Shearwater we were Valley bound. I quickly dropped Peter off at home and returned to Kentville for part two of the Gaspereau Press Wayzgoose. The evening was spent listening to readings by local authors, a lively talk by Andrew Steeves, chats with many neighbours, printmakers and friends. I even managed to find some paper from Montreal papermaker David Carruthers of Papeterie Saint-Armand.
As abundant as this day was I’ve already booked next year’s Wayzgoose off, so will spend the day at Gaspereau Press. No mother-in-law duties, lunches, helicopter rides, just Wayzgoose.