It’s Here! It’s Here! DA 78 Is Now Available (and Looking Mighty Fine)

It’s that time of year, ladies and gents. The Grimsby Wayzgoose approaches, and that means (drumroll please!) a new issue of The Devil’s Artisan.

DA 78

Ain’t she a beaut?

The feature story is Tom Smart’s ‘Heading to Palookaville’, a fascinating look into the complex construction of self-identity in the work of Seth (AKA Gregory Gallant).

This essay kind of blew my mind. I know we say that art imitates life, but maybe life imitates art, too. And maybe life is lived through art. And maybe art affects the way an artist lives. It’s an inception-worthy concept that Tom does a brilliant job of unravelling for us mere mortals.

You’ll love the generous use of Seth’s work to illustrate the essay, and you’ll also see a little bit of art leaking into the margins and telling its own story.

margin art

The issue also includes ‘The Story of Thee Hellbox Press’, which grew out of as a series of conversations between Hugh Barclay, Faye Batchelor and Shane Neilson on the origins and anecdotes of the Kingston, Ontario-based private press.

Thee Hellbox Press

You’ll find some recurring favourites in DA 78, including Richard Kegler’s discussion of type (this time, Joseph Blumenthal’s Spiral Type). The Rogues’ Gallery highlights the career of Don Taylor, while Kandid Kamera showcases scenes from the Bibliography Room at the Robertson Davies Library, Massey College, University of Toronto.

And can we all just take a second to awww at the keepsake?


portraitSo come see us at the Grimsby Wayzgoose tomorrow, Saturday, April 30, to get a copy of your own.

Hope to see you there,sig

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Eight Print Shop Instagrams to Sate Your Design Lust

You know how sometimes you’re bored and alone and just want to look at pretty things on the Internet? Wait a minute. I feel this could be misinterpreted. What I mean is, sometimes you just want to look at photos of print shops and their products. I myself and guilty of spending an embarrassingly long time drooling over letterpress business cards. To each her own.

Well have no fear! In order to help you meet your daily quota of print-love, we’ve compiled a list of gorgeous print-related Instagram accounts that you can browse to your heart’s content. Bonus—they’re all in Canada!


Clawhammer Press

Fernie, BC

Lovely print samples alongside some truly spectacular photos of metal and wooden type. Love the type here »

The makin’ of the forms. #woodtype #funfriday #poster #livemusic #oldtime

A photo posted by Michael Hepher (@clawhammerpress) on


Pomegranate Letterpress

Oakville, ON

Their Instagram contains an eclectic mix of posters, cards, design and travel photos. Follow them here » They also have a very nice Pinterest board… Check it out here »

I want to believe. A photo posted by Margot + Joe (@pomeletterpress) on


Impressus Letterpress Paper Goods

Ottawa, ON

Whoever manages this Instagram does some pretty impressive (tee hee) and artistic photography. Mostly samples with a few choice shop pics. Be impressed here »

Their Pinterest account is very browseable. I particularly like the studio board. Follow them here »


Jackson Creek Press

Peterborough, ON

Creative work with beautiful multi-layered and multi-coloured prints. Experience life in colour here »


District Dogs Designs

North Vancouver, BC

Because everything is better with dogs. Find out why here »


Fort Heavy Letterpress

Edmonton, AB

Prepare to drool over these gorgeous and detailed business cards. Also fun to see the business-y side to the press, like paper shipments, ink mixing and so on. Start drooling here »

Detail of some fun overprints and knockouts on some thank you cards from today. #letterpress #lettra A photo posted by Fort Heavy (@fortheavy) on


Everlovin’ Press

Kingston, ON

Gorgeous colours about on this Instagram account! Cards, posters, and the occasional d’awww-worthy family snap. D’awwws start here »


Ink Petals Press

Woodbridge, ON

There’s no other way to say it. Get ready for printing nirvana. Another example of top-notch photography of a great variety of printed artwork. Find your zen here » Also some great stuff on Pinterest here »

portraitHope you enjoyed this look at some of Canada’s print shops. If you have any suggestions for Instagrams featuring the printing arts, don’t hesitate to drop us a line. Also, don’t forget to check out the Devil’s Artisan Pinterest page, where we share some print-shop love of our own.


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Nostalgic Musings on the Old Coach House

It’s here! It’s here! It’s finally here!

That’s right, the long-awaited DA 77—celebrating a whopping fifty years for legendary printer/publisher Coach House—is now available. Full of rich history, nostalgia-inducing pictures and an amusing anecdote or two, it is a must-read for anyone interested in independent literary publishing in Canada.


I first heard the Coach House moniker as a lowly undergraduate taking part in a publishing practicum at the University of Windsor. Groups of us were given an assignment to research and talk about various small presses in Canada, from their origin stories to their marketing efforts to their past and upcoming lists. (Lo and behold, every year I seem to get an email or two in my inbox from students taking the same course with the same instructor asking the same questions. Life does come full circle, doesn’t it?) I believe my group was responsible for reporting on some now-defunct publisher in western Canada, but one particular student in the class took the initiative to make the four-hour drive to Toronto to report on Coach House Books. She came back full of anecdotes about “The Magical Sleeper Chair”, about casting a line of lead type, correctly identifying Garamond among a lineup of impostors, and of course, learning about the twin Heidelbergs in the press shop. Her report, needless to say, blew ours out of the water, mostly, I think, because of the free bookmarks and catalogues, but maybe also because she had gained some small insight into design and production of books that we jealously coveted.

It wasn’t until I visited the shop on bpNichol Lane myself that I got a true sense of the toil inherent in the small press printing biz. As a grad student at Trent University’s Public Texts program several years ago, I and about a dozen other grad students clambered onto a chartered yellow school bus (amazing how quickly one forgets how uncomfortable those bad boys are) and into the Big Smoke. We were dropped off at the Robarts Library and promptly spent a solid quarter hour lost and wandering the environs of bpNichol Lane in search of the front door. Finally, someone inside the shop took pity on us and let us in through some hidden passage or other that I’m fairly certain was not intended for a group of curious students, but which did the job of ending our embarrassment rather admirably.

We had an instructive whirlwind tour of the print shop and the offices before settling into the break room area to pelt editor Alana Wilcox with what probably seemed to her like hopelessly naïve questions about how to get started in publishing. And naturally, at the end of the affair, we descended upon a pile of discounted books like a pack of rabid wolves. I came away with a book of short stories that kept me blissfully occupied for much of the long, bumpy ride back to Peterborough, and an abiding interest in those hulking machines that turned out such beloved books.

My Coach House experience is a rather mundane one, perhaps, especially to anyone steeped in the printing and publishing culture of Toronto, but it’s hard to describe how jaw-droppingly cool it was for a bookworm from the decidedly non-imaginative manufacturing armpit of Canada to SEE publishing HAPPEN, and to meet people who eked out a living through the preparation of the printed word.

The fact that I later stumbled into a little publishing gem known as The Porcupine’s Quill, with similar production methods and an attitude to boot, was a small miracle in itself. And as a bonus, Tim Inkster has a way better Coach House story than I, involving the paradoxical nature of workplace experience, a harrowing car crash, and a proud papa holding small business to account.

You can read it, and many other fascinating first-hand accounts of Coach House’s history, in DA 77.


portraitWhat are you waiting for? Get your copy today!

Happy reading, sig

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A Day at the OCAD U Book Arts Fair

On December 5, book lovers, printing enthusiasts and artists of all stripes were out in full force for the 31st Annual Book Arts Fair at OCAD University in Toronto. The Great Hall was full to bursting with a diverse collection of vendors and friendly shoppers. If you missed this wonderful event, fear not! Courtesy of DA editor and photographer Don McLeod, we’ve got plenty of photos to share with you, so prepare yourselves for some vicarious enjoyment.


A bird's eye view of the OCAD U Annual Book Arts Fair on December 5, 2015.

A bird’s eye view of the OCAD U Annual Book Arts Fair on December 5, 2015.

Beautiful stairwell graffiti at OCAD U.

Beautiful stairwell graffiti at OCAD U.

Curator and author Tom Smart helps publisher Tim Inkster man the PQL/DA table.

Curator and author Tom Smart helps publisher Tim Inkster man the PQL/DA table.

Artwork by eX Press, Toronto.

Artwork by eX Press, Toronto.

Spark Box Studio table at the OCAD U Book Arts Fair.

Spark Box Studio table at the OCAD U Book Arts Fair.

Wood engraver, artist, and publisher Alan Stein of Church Street Press, Parry Sound, Ont., chats to a customer.

Wood engraver, artist, and publisher Alan Stein of Church Street Press, Parry Sound, Ont., chats to a customer.

Kaile H. Glick of The Spontaneous Prose Store. Poetry made to order, while you wait.

Kaile H. Glick of The Spontaneous Prose Store. Poetry made to order, while you wait.

For more awesome photos of this event, stop by our Pinterest page.



A big, hearty shout out to everyone who visited the PQL/DA table at the fair. It was great to see you all! And as always, thanks to Don McLeod for taking such wonderful pictures.


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The Devil's Artisan is remarkable in Canadian publishing in that most of the physical production of our journal is completed in-house at the shop on the Main Street of Erin Village. We print on a twenty-five inch Heidelberg KORD, typically onto acid-free Zephyr Antique laid. The sheets are then folded, and sewn into signatures on a 1907 model Smyth National Book Sewing machine.

To take a virtual tour of the pressroom, visit us at YouTube for a discussion of offset printing in general, and the operation of a Heidelberg KORD in particular. Other videos include Four Colour Printing, Smyth Sewing and Wood Engraving. Photographs of production machinery used on these pages were taken by Sandra Traversy on site at the printing office of the Porcupine's Quill, December 2008.

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.