Life on the River

Barry Lopez


On April 1, 2016, Barry Lopez spoke at McKenzie River Trust’s “McKenzie Memories” evening. This event celebrated the Trust’s acquisition of 278 acres of river land near the property in Finn Rock, Oregon where Barry Lopez has lived since the early 1970’s. The talk reflected Barry’s intimate relationship with the Finn Rock stretch of the McKenzie River.

After the evening there were many requests for the McKenzie River Trust to publish the speech as an essay titled “Life on the River.” When a generous donor provided the funding, Trust leadership decided to publish a small chapbook and make it available to the public for a small cost. I was asked to design the chapbook. I donated my services as designer and hand-sewed 500 chapbooks.

Many individuals contributed significantly to the purchase of the Finn Rock Reach. The Trust asked for my help devising a way to honor major donors to the 2016-17 campaign. The solution: a limited edition, letterpress printed, hand bound book of the essay “Life on the River.” Barry agreed and I set to work.

The book measures 13 x 5.5 inches and is comprised of 22 pages. The type is digital Linotype Optima and the title and closing ornament are by lettering artist Marilyn Reaves. It was printed from photopolymer relief plates on a 1940 Vandercook 219 proofing press. All papers are from La Papeterie Saint-Armand in Montreal, Québec. They are Canal papers, made on a Fourdrinier machine using fibers left from clothing industry offcuts, white tee-shirts, blue denim and flax straw. The image on the cover is a map section of the McKenzie River including Finn Rock Reach, tributaries and Cougar Reservoir.

Printed in an edition of 77 numbered copies, each signed by the author. Copies 1-13 are housed in a custom clamshell box incorporating a DVD of Barry’s appearance at the April 1, 2016 event.

Endsheet and title page
  • Full cover
  • Last page
  • Book in box