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Archive for October 3rd, 2009

C&P

We are throwing a Wayzgoose this year. It’s going to be in my shop in Fort Bragg on First Friday, November 6th, starting at 5 pm. Several people may ask the question, What’s a Wayzgoose? In the olden days of printing, it was a printers party; the print shop boss would take his crew out into the country for a big picnic or feast to celebrate, around the time of Saint Bartholemew’s Eve, marking the time of when they would have to start printing by candlelight.

Here is a quote from the OED: “Carriages were chartered, an enormous quantity of eatables and drinkables provided, and away we
went, a regular wayzgoose or bean-feast party.”

The Cruise of the Cachalot, by Frank T Bullen, 1897

And here is another quote about Wayzgooses:

“It is also customary for all the Journey-men to make every Year new Paper Windows…; Because that day they make them, the Master Printer gives them a Way-goose; that is, he makes them a good Feast, and not only entertains them at his own House, but besides, gives them Money to spend at the Ale-house or Tavern at Night. These Way-gooses, are always kept about Bartholomew-tide. And till the Master-Printer have given this Way-goose, the Journey-men do not use to Work by Candle Light.”

Oxford English Dictionary

A Wayzgoose has a long tradition in the history of printing. The first time we heard the word we had to look it up in the Oxford English Dictionary. Then, we proceeded to throw a whole series of Wayzgooses, with different themes each year.

These days, a Wayzgoose is more often a dinner where letterpress printers gather to talk about the art they love, and believe me, that is some talking. A keepsake is often printed to commemorate the occasion, sometimes printed up right at the affair, & there can be entertainment as well. Always ready for an excuse to throw a party, Studio Z Mendocino long ago adopted the idea, turning it into an appreciation of our customers & an opportunity to show off the beautiful craft we still get to practice.

When we saw the part about the “bean-feast,” we had to look that up in the OED too. It actually means a feast, but we decided that it meant beans, and that is what our tradition became. A bean-feast with actual beans, and we would spare no creativity in serving beans from every corner of the world.

Everyone was very, “Oh, ho ho, beans and champagne!” but then they would just eat the whole feast up and drink up all the champagne, even though it was quite cheap champagne (which is what we serve instead of giving out money to go to the Ale-house), and a regular Wayzgoose was had by all, in Fort Bragg. Somehow, with all the printing and designing and whatnot, we let our Wazygoose tradition go by the wayside, but for our Twenty-fifth Anniversary, how could we not revive it? We won’t be making paper windows, nor printing by candlelight at the Studio Z Mendocino Wayzgoose, but there might be a lagniappe to take home, if all goes well. We certainly look forward to seeing you here on November 6th, to showing you our recent work, to serving champagne and beans to you and to ushering in our next twenty-five years. We hope to greet you at our party.

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