lone goose press has a new home!
Sandy & Patrick Tilcock
February 12, 2020
Once you decide on your occupation. …you must immerse yourself in your work. You have to fall in love with your work. Never complain about your job. You must dedicate your life to mastering your skill. That’s the secret of success…and is the key to being regarded honorably.—Jiro Ono, Sushi Master
At some point in the last month, we realized that at last, the Bisbee lone goose printing studio was a reality. Among the final steps: moving the board shear into place, installing a utility sink and redeeming the three type cabinets from the dirt-floor storage area we had begun calling “Purgatory.” Those three cabinets, sixty-odd flat cases of metal type, around 1200 pounds all in, represent the raw material of written communication. Some of that material has set the words of Barry Lopez, Gary Snyder, William Stafford, Terry Tempest Williams, and others.
For us, this is a “Well now, where were we?” moment. How do we pick up where we left off in September 2018 as we started dismantling the Eugene printing studio for the move? The location has changed but the passion for letterpress, for honoring words that embody creativity, respect for nature, justice and community—that passion continues.
For Sandy, a working studio has been an aching absence during the past year. The space she had built in Eugene had been the center of her work life since 2006. On the other hand, this past year has provided an opportunity to recover from the intense push to complete several projects in mid-2018, and it has also allowed some reflection on the rationale for this work. For Sandy, it is very simple: “I love making things for people, and tapping into the power of the written word.”
The first work off the press in its new location was the 2019 Weathergram. It captures a moment of discovery from September 2019, when we realized that our hummingbird feeders were being visited by migrating Mexican long-tongued bats.
An annual weathergram has been a lone goose press tradition since 2003. We sometimes say that they are the most ephemeral of ephemera. Their simplicity is in itself a challenge: small size, narrow format, just a few words of text. Weathergrams have been a journal of our experiences, travels and observations over the years. If you wish to receive the 2019 weathergram, send a self addressed stamped business envelope (lone goose press, 309 Black Knob View, Bisbee, AZ) and we will pop one into the mail.
The press has resumed commission work, and Sandy is currently completing a presentation folder for the University of Oregon’s Ellis F. Lawrence Award. In addition to welcoming custom letterpress and bookbinding commissions, she looks forward to devoting more energy to personal work.
Sandy is beginning to explore the technique of “eco-printing,” using heat, moisture and pressure to transfer images from leaves and other botanical elements. Textile artists have developed the process for fabric, and it is beginning to be used for paper as well. The possibilities of image making with this process are endless and it is exciting to imagine ways to incorporate it in the work of lone goose press.
We are in a completely different landscape, and finding the Sonoran desert surprisingly rich with life. After living here for a year and a season, we are beginning to have a sense of the cycle of life in this region. Currently we are struck by the abundance of ocotillo, the plant whose slender branches are armed with formidable thorns. Gray and barren for most of the year, it responds exuberantly to rainfall, leafing out within a few days, suddenly transforming many hillsides in green splendor. The elegant orange blossoms appear on the branch-tips in spring, though leaves may sprout and drop several times in a year.
As is our tradition, we took time on New Year’s Day to be in nature. This year we went to Whitewater Draw Preserve near Bisbee to check on the Sandhill Cranes. Whitewater Draw is one of the main wintering grounds for the cranes with a population of up to 35,000 in February. The region has experienced higher rainfall this year. The water was up to the trail, and the cranes were too far away to view—but we could hear their chatter. We walked the trail reveling in the quiet beauty of the preserve with crane music in the background.
While the coming year will be full of challenges on all fronts we hope that you take the time to notice the beauty that surrounds us. Happy New Year!