Tacoma's Wayzgoose proves fun

By Jessica Corey-Butler on April 1, 2007

When sweet pea said that yesterday's Wayzgoose at King's Books was a letterpress "O Come All Ye," I thought he was engaging in a bit of hyperbole.

But "All" seemed to attend, and seemed to enjoy themselves as heartily as I did.

The event was centered on letterpress, though the papermaking courtesy of L'Arche Farm & Gardens was a nice (if cold, in front of the shop on the early spring day) warm-up for the activities within.  Inside, Jessica Spring had a wee press set up where we received our first memento of the day, a roughly 6X6 card with the haiku "sweet emerald peas/nestling with their neighbors in/shiny spring condosâ".  It exemplifies what I love about letterpress.

Letterpress is art, plus so much more, made tangible and accessible. There is something for everyone, from decorator dilettante to art lover, color theorist, historian, mechanical engineer, graphic designer, or lover of literature.

Stylistically, finished works become something old-school modern, and can evoke the turn of the century, the sixteen hundreds, or 1950.

The wee one, aged 5 and a bit, created a work at the table set up by the School of Visual Arts folks, with a bright, bold heart, under which her somewhat eclectic selection of motifs – a phone, three stars, a car salesman, and her name, as well as an arrow, nuclear symbol and flower – blended quite nicely.  Together with Lance Kagey of Beautiful Angle, she created her own Beautiful Angle poster, inscribed with copy that made my heart sing: "Tell me a story around a small, neat fire, about the first time your soul rose upward, like smoke, about the first time mercy fell down like ashes upon your head."

Tragically, the posters were smudged slightly in my grubby little hands. I was saddened by the smudges until I re-thought them: the smudges identified these pieces as imperfectly ours as we involved ourselves in their moments of creation.

Those moments were made more fun by the crowd that surrounded us; there were people I recognized from frequent travels about the town, people I recognized from trips to the Tempest and beyond.

But today was different – I didn't have a glass of wine in my hand, I had my daughter's warm hand in mine.  We engaged in intelligent art with moms like Rosemary Ponnekanti and Amy McBride, seeing ballet mom friends and their kids, ballet teacher Kate and MLK cohort Alexa, and gaining inspiration from the cards, carvings, wood cuts, book art techniques, and promise of future book making classes offered by King's on April 14, 21, and 28.