Archive for the ‘Barbarian Press’ Category

Crowd Sourcing the Barbarians

Thursday, October 15th, 2015


As Jan & Crispin Elsted embark on their latest publication, they have put together an IndieGoGo crowd-sourcing campaign to help cover start-up costs. The project, possibly the Barbarian’s most challenging to date, is an involved examination and presentation of the Curwen Press’s impressive history with typographic ornaments.

The book will describe, celebrate, and display a significant area of printing history in the 20th century: the ornamented borders of one of England’s most distinguished trade publishers, The Curwen Press, which existed from 1863 until 1984. The press was well known for its artistic designs, and in particular, for its original and exquisite use of type flowers and ornamented borders.

For more information, and to view their introductory video on the project:

Jan and Crispin Elsted named Robert R. Reid award winners for 2014

Sunday, June 1st, 2014

149JanKrispinSMThe Alcuin Society announced on May 25 that Jan & Crispin Elsted (Barbarian Press) of Mission, B.C., are the the winners of the seventh Robert R. Reid Award and Medal for lifetime achievement in the book arts in Canada. Barbarian has long been an avid supporter of FPBA, and Crispin served as editor of the North American editions of Parenthesis for many years.

Both are masters of their arts, and have shared their knowledge and experience unstintingly, mentoring many fortunate younger artists. Read more about them, and about the award itself and its previous winners, on the society’s newly-designed web site.

The award will be presented to them in Vancouver, at an event to be announced later this year.

–Bob McCamant

Awards announced at Oxford fair

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

Russell Maret, right, with Annie Schlecter

Five presses and one illustrator won awards at the Oxford Fine Press Book Fair on Sunday, November 6, 2011. The five presses to receive Judges’ Choice awards were –Nikodim Press (Dimitry Sayenko, St. Petersburg, Russia), for the ABC of Fears; –Russell Maret (New York City), for Specimens of alphabets designed or revived by Russell Maret; –Susan Allix (London), for Myth; –Barbarian Press (Crispin and Jan Elsted, Mission, British Columbia, Canada), for Pericles; and –Whittington Press (John and Rosalind Randle, Leominster, Herfordshire, UK), for A Vision of Order. The Parrot Prize for best illustration in any medium went to Angela Barrett for her illustrations in the Hand and Eye Editions (London) version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

Additional random photos from the fair can be seen on the FPBA Facebook page. If you’re not on Facebook, just click here.

–Bob McCamant

Alcuin Society awards for best-looking limited-edition books of 2010

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

It’s always exciting to see the winners of the annual Alcuin Society Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada — especially when FPBA members appear in the top of the list. This year, Crispin Elsted of Barbarian Press and Jason Dewinetz appear three times in the Limited Editions category. And Andrew Steeves of fine press/trade hybrid Gaspereau Press, who also designs the North American issues of Parenthesis, appears four times in various categories. Nice work, gentlemen!

Each year, the Alcuin Society gives award for the best book designs in the the following categories: childrens’, limited editions, pictorial, poetry, prose non-fiction, prose fiction, and reference; the jury changes from year to year. This time round, the entries were judged by Alan Brownoff, Dr. Shelley Gruendler, and CS Richardson. Here’s a few photos of the judges at work. This year there wee 37 winning titles from 217 entries, from 9 provinces and 96 publishers.

In the Limited Edition Category, the winners are:

First prize: CRISPIN ELSTED, designer of The Play of Pericles, Prince of Tyre … by William Shakespeare, edited with commentary by Crispin Elsted; illustrated by Simon Brett (Barbarian Press).

Second prize (tie): JASON DEWINETZ, designer of Alphabetum Romanum: the Letterforms of Felice Feliciano, c.1460 (Greenboathouse Press).

Second prize (tie): LINDA GUSTAFSON, designer of Words Have No Meaning, edited by Zengetsu Myokyo (Enpuku-ji Press).

Third prize (tie): RAPHAËL DAUDELIN, designer of L’Absent by Fernand Ouellette, illustrated by Christian Gardair (les éditions du passage).
Third prize (tie): JASON DEWINETZ, designer of Light & Char by Jake Kennedy (Greenboathouse Press).

The full list of award winners in all categories can be seen here.

— Paul Razzell

Curwen archive acquired by Barbarian Press. ‘The Curwen Project’ forthcoming

Monday, July 13th, 2009


Many readers of this blog will be familiar with the Curwen Press, the most important letterpress trade printer in England throughout much of the 20th century. In 1984 the Curwen Press closed and sold its entire composing room to Ian Mortimer, proprietor of I.M. Imprimit in London. The Curwen archive is still intact and was recently sold to the Barabrian Press of Mission, British Columbia, who have announced a forthcoming book, The Curwen Project, scheduled for publication in 2010.

The archive consists of three parts:

‘The first comprises about two hundred packets of set ornamental borders in pages, composed for specific jobs and then tied up and stored for future use.

The second part is made up of the Curwen Press composing room stock of ornaments, comprising fifty-eight half cases densely packed with unused ornaments from 6 to 36 point, and nearly one hundred packets of ornaments from the foundry, never opened.


Last, there is a large carton of printed proofs of all the borders and other jobbing work: the composing room records of printed jobs, marked up with compositor’s details of dates of printings, number of copies printed, and so forth.’

According to the Barbarian Press website, ‘The book will reprint the complete range of hand-set borders still standing from the time the Curwen Press closed in the 1980s, printed in similar colour ranges to the originals. A possible deluxe state will also show some borders no longer standing newly set from the Curwen Press ornament collection after proofs in the archive.’

Read the full story here (half-way down the page).

—Paul Razzell

Guest Post Number 1: Lunch with the Typophiles by Jason Dewinetz

Friday, June 26th, 2009


Jason Dewinetz of Greenboathouse Press was recently paid the honour of being invited by the Typophiles to give a presentation at their spring luncheon in New York City.

Jason is a fine designer and printer and it is no wonder his work caught the eye of the Typophiles. The subject of his presentation was contemporary fine printing in western Canada, which means he talked about the works of the big three of Canada’s west: Barbarian Press, Jim Rimmer’s Pie Tree Press, and Heavenly Monkey.

I’m very pleased that Jason agreed to contribute an account of his visit to New York to the this blog. The following article is the first in a series of occasional Guest Posts to be featured on the FPBA blog. If you have an idea for a Guest Post, we’d love to hear about it. Please address it to Paul Razzell at NAEditor [at] FPBA [dot] com.

Read ‘Lunch with the Typophiles.’

— Paul Razzell