About walking bird press

I have always loved books. As a child, I made weekly visits to the bookmobile, a cramped but magical bus which brought new books to the neighborhood every week. Ballerinas! Polar Bears! All mine with my pass to the world: a library card.

Twenty years later, as a graduate student in painting, I discovered the magic of letterpress printing and typography. I took a bookbinding course taught by the conservator of the University of Wisconsin Library and I enrolled in Typography. My first books in grad school were published with the imprint Pterodactyl Press (I liked the homophonic Ptero/Tara and the extinct raptor/ obsolete printing connection), and when I moved to New York in 1987, I changed the press name to walking bird press.

Between 1987 and 1992, I took courses at the Center for Book Arts in New York City. Through their Work-Study program, I was able to work in the letterpress area in exchange for taking classes and I had the good fortune to take classes with Carol Barton, Hedi Kyle, Barbara Mauriello, Scott McCarney, Susan Share, Carolyn Chadwick and other inspiring books artists. In one of these workshops, I met Zahra Partovi, binder for Vincent FitzGerald & Co., who was looking for an assistant. I worked part-time with Partovi for about a year, then began teaching Art at Rockland Country Day School in Congers, NY.

In 1992 I moved to Newfoundland with a Vandercook and 6 cabinets of type. I continue to paint and make books and have taught workshops to all ages, from kindergarteners to adults. I have worked in the ArtsSmarts and Artists in the Schools programmes, as well as teaching classes through MUN Lifelong Learning, the Anna Templeton Centre and St. Michael’s Printshop.

I love the tactile experience of holding and reading a book– the intimacy created between the viewer and object. The creative process in making books is also quite different from the act of painting, in my experience. I continue to make books because the process uses a different part of my brain than painting, and gives me a chance to combine verbal ideas and interesting materials in work the viewer can touch.

Library and Archives Canada – walking bird press

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