Tasting notes with:
Curator, The Press at the Palace of the Governors.
Outside my back door with my wife.
Sulawesi coffee (black) from Ohori’s, watching birds, rabbits, and clouds.
Music/art pairing recommendation:
A toss-up: Oh Brother, Where Art Thou and its soundtrack, or Like Water for Chocolate and the original novel. All are wonderful.
What was your first job?
What did it teach you?
Many of my workmates were on work-release from a juvenile detention facility. What did I learn? Don’t do stupid things.
What role does the Palace Press play in preserving the history of New Mexico?
You hit the nail on the head. In our culture, we learn history through printing—books, newspapers, and magazines are primary sources for the study of history. Developing an understanding of previous print technologies is fundamental to putting printed documents into proper and accurate context. If we can understand and explain those technologies in relation to their times, we’re doing our job. New Mexico’s “print culture” only began in 1834, but what followed is exceptionally rich and we strive to preserve that tradition.
What role do you play in preserving the historic presses at the Palace Press?
One of our mottos is “preservation through production”—meaning that when equipment is being used and working properly, we know it’s being taken care of.
What images keep you company in the space where you work?
A 19th-century lithograph of Frederick Douglass printed at Landfall Press, a large linocut by Mexican artist Sergio Santamaria, and a banner from our 2007 Jack Kerouac exhibition.
Teach us how to pull a print in three steps:
1) Ink. 2) Press. 3) Repeat. (If only it were that easy!)
What is one of your favorite projects you are working on now?
We are just finishing The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, with fourteen amazing engravings by Barry Moser. It’s the most challenging and important thing I’ve ever printed. We’ll follow that with two books printed from Gustave Baumann’s original woodblocks.
What is your favorite press to work on, and why?
Our 1907 Chandler and Price platen press. Besides being a beautifully designed piece of machinery, I think it is a candidate for being a national treasure: it printed the first book of cowboy songs ever published.
What relationship exists between the history of printing and publishing in New Mexico and the state of printing and publishing now, if any?
Sadly, the current state of printing here and everywhere else has become a commercial endeavor that leads straight to the landfill (or to recycling, hopefully). At the Palace Press we print things that people don’t throw away.
What comes next?
In my immediate future, I’m going to Kathmandu to teach paper marbling. But I can’t escape the fact that I’m already at retirement age. So whenever that time finally comes, I want to help to find a successor to carry on the fifty years of outstanding service that the Palace Press has given to the community.