Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Scottish Highland Games

Keith sampling a modern kilt and the funny sales man with a braided beard.

Last weekend we went to the annual Highland Games in The Plains, VA and it was a delightful afternoon of cultural enrichment. I enjoyed seeing so many men in kilts and hearing fiddlers, pipers and drummers playing Scottish tunes. There was a marching pipe and drum band and dancers to demonstrate the highland styles of dance. There were players amateur and professionals competing for best in a number of unheard of sports.
Caber toss, bale toss and others that I don't recall but mostly the prize it was for the highest, furthest or best throw of something heavy. Rescued Scottish breed dogs were looking for caring homes, Clans were seeking to find lost family members. Food was plentiful and kilts were for sale. One of my favorite things to see is also the border collies herding sheep. I took a few pictures but mostly I just enjoyed the sights and sounds. You can see some of my pictures and a few little films on my flickr page.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

new books

One of the new letter press printed gray labels in a lavender-blue book.

the lavender-blue book with matching beads on the spine.

new rusty red book with multi colored beading on the spine.

Here is one of my labels for this years books. I printed it at Pyramid Atlantic and cut and sewed it into the first signature of each new book after setting cold metal type and inking it up and printing about 40 of them on the Vandercook proofing press.

These are Light in October show flyers and two of my 8.5 by 5 inch books.

This week I cut two large pieces of davey board into numerous smaller book covers using the massive board shearer which is part of Linda Rollins binding studio at Pyramid Atlantic. The blade is amazing to pull down and cut through thick boards smooth as cutting butter. Many thanks to Linda and all the folks at Pyramid Atlantic Arts.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

following John Quincy Adams

silhouette from National Galleries of Scotland.

The other day on Twitter, where I have been casually following the 1809 voyage notes by John Quincy Adams posted daily in tandem with the two hundredth anniversary of his voyage to Europe. The notes directed me to the Mass. Historical Society's blog where I discovered a post about all the books he was reading to kill the long hours of a two month journey where there was nothing to do but eat, exercise and sleep. Ok, they played some card games too but he did a lot of reading. I was curious about the books he read. Most were very classical histories of Roman men but JQ Adams seemed to be having great fun reading a lady"s letters. I looked the lady's letters up since it is available online. I started reading the same edition he was reading. Now it is on Google books from an original copy preserved in the New York Public Library collection. I found it a fascinating read, all the more interesting on the internet while looking up all the towns the author writes about on Google maps. Words I don't know also easy to look up on google or in dictionaries. What a way to read, it strikes me as very twenty first century: Twitter, Blogs, Google, Historical magic with nearly real time world view of the landscape in addition to numerous pictures posted on the maps by all sorts of modern people. It is like magically melting time and space. I can read descriptions of places and people in 1773 Scotland and go look at the satellite view of the areas and zoom in and observe micro details of towns, roads, lakes and geography and then see modern photographs of the same place as it looks now. I love the future.

copy of the post on Mass. History blog:>>>>
8/11/1809: Mrs Grant's Letters.
Anne McVicar Grant, Letters from the mountains: being the real correspondence of a lady, between the years 1773 and 1807. An 1809 edition (Boston: printed by Greenough and Stebbins) is available via the Internet Archive: Volume 1, Volume 2. In his long diary entry, JQA writes: "I employed much of [the day] in reading Mrs. Grant's letters, which I find more interesting than Plutarch. I return to them of choice, but Plutarch is a task, and a heavy one. I never could read him through. I find it especially hard to read him after a sleepless night; after two harder still."<<<<<
Above is a link to the google page for a look at this old book. I found that the introduction was kind of heavy but if you scroll to the first letter it is a fun historical read. Let me know what you think!