The Petrarch Press

Oak Knoll Camaraderie

View of the FairRETURNING FROM THE BEAUTIFUL early fall colors at Oak Knoll to the unusually warm and dry climate in the Sierra foothills just brings home the point of how varied the world, and the world of fine press is. This year seemed more personal and more poignant as we met our old friends and eased others into the fold of fine press camaraderie.

Wonderful stories were told by Henry Morris about his Bird & Bull Press, whose first booklet he sold for $3 and was happy to find selling in 1980 for $900. We appreciated his tip about using the magic flat rate postal service boxes which, much to the dismay of his postman, came from all parts of the U.S. stuffed full of lead type for his newest book The Private Type Casters, but most importantly Henry Morris reminded us all about how fun this work really is.

Song for Henry MorrisMeanwhile, Graham Moss (Incline Press in the UK) had written some new lyrics to an old popular melody (“A-nutting we will go”) and printed them beautifully as a keepsake for this memorable weekend. Gathering in Bob Fleck’s garden on Saturday evening, Graham passed out copies of his keepsake to the entire crowd and led us all in rousing rendition of the song when Henry emerged from the house.

There's many a bold printer
Whose work looks much the same
But one we know who will stand out
Henry Morris is his name...

We were pleased with the caliber of guests drawn to this years event and appreciated being a select part of the panel discussion with other printers and librarians. A memorable slice of pre-meeting communication included the musings of one pressman on the state of the fine press world today:

"In one sense the survival of the press world seems an impossible task due to the contextual scope of the decaying culture, the rise of anti-intellectualism and the decline in reading (or the ascendance of aliteracy). All of which is reflected in the non-funding of libraries, the lack of encouragement to create content and the economic squeeze on the press world."

While most of us shared his views, we still seemed to flourish this year as the committed following of fine press lovers continued to find their way to our table.

At Oak Knoll 2008 we previewed our newest publication, Canticle of the Creatures by Francis of Assisi, in original Umbrian text with English translation by John Venerella. Though we will have many handmade paper copies available, by the end of Oak Knoll Fest, the parchment copies were already sold out! If you want more information on this publication please see our announcement here and to purchase this beautiful book contact us by clicking here.

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