I have just returned from the Ladies of Letterpress second annual conference on all things letterpress and I am psyched! I am on a letterpress high of ink, paper, presses, samples, and the people who do all this amazing work! Now in the coming weeks I am going to be writing about the things that I learned and the people I met, but something came up that I had to write about!
The Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum Wayzgoose is November 2-4 this year and I am finally going! Ever since I was in school at IU, I have been hearing my professors talk of their trip to Two Rivers, Wisconsin , the home of the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. A house-hold name (or a print shop name!) in their own right due to their leadership and dedication to the production and use of wood type, their wayzgoose is spoken about in reverent tones and has become an activity that draws people from around the world each year. People come to print, hear leaders in design, printing, and design history speak, and to talk shop with easily the most knowledgeable people about the letterpress industry. Plus the visual stimulation is just on overload! It’s kind of like a designer/printer’s version of Comic-Con. The nerdiness comes out (big time), really obscure jokes are made and everyone will understand and laugh, and everyone wear’s their favorite costume (lucky aprons that you’ve owned for decades and t-shirts with sayings like, “That’s how I roll” with an image of a Vandercook press on them. Hehe, funny every time!)
Image from Veda House.
But what is a wayzgoose you ask? I had to do a little research on this topic myself, but once I did, I started hearing everyone use the word! In its earliest uses, a wayzgoose is entertainment that is put on by a master printer to his workers on or near St. Bartholomew’s Day. It marked the end of the summer and the start of working by candlelight in the shop. In more recent times, it refers to an outing and dinner for the staff of a print shop or of a newspaper.
While the origin of the word wayzgoose is shrouded in a bit of mystery, I did find one etymology that made a little sense. The word “Weg(s)huis”, which was current in early Modern Dutch literally means “way house” which in English meant “inn” which in turn was figuratively used for “a banquet”. So since a wayzgoose is a gathering of printers for entertainment and food, this isn’t such a far stretch!
So while the origins of the word wayzgoose might be a little unclear the Hamilton Wayzgoose will not be! Amazing speakers include Steven Heller, Louise Fili, Sandro Berra of Tipoteca Italiana, Lucio Passerini, Kitty Maryatt, Rory Sparks, Gaylord Schanilec, Amos Kennedy and more. Whoa! Doesn’t get better than that! Plus there will be a dinner at the Lighthouse Inn (starting to see the connection now?) where you can continue all of the conversations that started at the museum and break a little bread while you’re at it!
Interested in going? There are still a few spots left. As of this morning when I checked the website (11:05 am) there were 41 spots still left! So head to their website and get registered! The experience will far outweigh the costs! It really is the event of the year! Hope to see you there!
Image from St. Mary’s University Newsletter.