Preserving the lost art of typesetting by hand.
Pie Tree Press: Memories from the Composing Room Floor (Gaspereau) is the first stab at an autobiography by the British Columbia type designer and private-press printer Jim Rimmer. I say “first stab” because he left me wanting more, and I have the feeling that there are untold stories where these came from: his fifty years working in the printing trade from Vancouver to Williams Lake. Rimmer was witness to, and participant in, incredible changes in the industry. He got his start in an era when all books were routinely typeset by hand, one letter at a time (or, as he puts it somewhat wistfully in his conclusion, a time when the printing trade was “in its sunset years after five hundred years and more of life”). He worked in the trade more or less continuously until the present day, when most press lines are entirely digital and letterpress publishers such as Rimmer are seen as “high priests” who practise and preserve the rituals of a vanished art. This Gaspereau edition is the trade version of what was, in its first appearance, a limited-edition letterpress original, and it is a neat little package indeed—clothbound, with a smattering of colour reproductions and photographs—one that reflects the high standards of its author.