Make way for Wayzgoose 14th annual letterpress and print festival takes place at the end of April

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Steam roller prints are one the annual highlights of Tacoma’s Wayzgoose festival. 3 x 3 foot squares of linoleum are carved with a design, inked and then pressed with a steam roller to produce a large print on paper. This year’s Wayzgoose takes place at King’s Books April 28 and 29. Photo courtesy of Wayzgoose

Tacoma’s annual Wayzgoose festival is coming right up, slated for the weekend of April 28 and 29. All would be well advised to make their way to the Wayzgoose and have a goosey gander at all the goings on.

The Wayzgoose festival, held at King’s Books (218 St. Helens Ave.), is Tacoma’s yearly celebration of all things to do with paper and printmaking. The origin of the term Wayzgoose is lost in obscurity, but it is the name of traditional celebrations for printers and papermakers in old Europe, dating back to the first use of the printing press and to a time when most people had windows made of waxed paper. More recently, the term has been revived to denote festivals that feature hands-on craftsmanship in printing, celebrating shops that still use hand-set printing of the written word and makers of cards, broadsides, and artistic, limited edition books. With widespread and easy use of digital means of promulgating the written word, handmade, crafty print products have found an economic eco-niche as prized products made with care and devotion. Hence the revival of the Wayzgoose festival, variations of which have been cropping up all over the United States and Canada.

This year will mark the 14th annual Wayzgoose festival in Tacoma. It started and continues to run as a collaboration between King’s Books, which is under the able helmsmanship of sweet pea Flaherty, and Springtide Press, which is run by printer extraordinaire Jessica Spring helped by her partner in crime, Chandler O’Leary of the Anagram Press. (The duo are the force behind Tacoma’s famous “Dead Feminist Broadsides.”) From the beginning, Wayzgoose has had support from the Tacoma Arts Commission, which provides funding for things like the linoleum blocks for the steam roller prints as well as the use of a steam roller itself. Support from the arts commission also brings money for materials that festival visitors can use to make free souvenirs.

Photo courtesy of Wayzgoose

Wayzgoose started in Tacoma in 2004 and has steadily grown in popularity. In 2015 the event became a two-day affair, drawing increasing numbers of fans and participating printmakers and vendors. In 2009, the Wayzgoose featured the first steam roller prints, in which large squares of linoleum are carved with a design, inked up, covered with paper and run over with a steam roller to press the ink to the paper. From the start, the steam roller prints have been one of the main attractions of the Wayzgoose. Select artists and teams of designers create the blocks used for these large works of art. This is a popular project for the art departments of some of the local schools. In the past, teams from Pacific Lutheran University, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma Community College, Charles Wright Academy and Stadium High School have carved linoleum blocks to be set before the mighty press of the steam roller. This year, a team from Lincoln High School will join the fray. This year’s theme is “All Around T-Town,” so the prints will all have something to do with Tacoma’s neighborhoods.

Inside and outside King’s Books, there will be tables and booths at which vendors, printers and designers will show their wares and offer festivalgoers a chance for hands-on activities like paper making or printing a memento. Bring a blank T-shirt and you will have a chance to silk screen a design on it.

The Wayzgoose is one arts festival that seems to have captured the fancy of many in Tacoma. It is fun for all ages. The lumbering presence of the steam roller and the workmanlike nature of the craft no doubt have an appeal to the citizens of our City of Destiny, where hands-on workmanship has always been prized. This is a working town, after all. Perhaps the prospect of getting one’s hands down into the pulp from which paper is made hearkens back to the days when the pulp mills on the flats sent clouds of uniquely scented steam into the very air from which we draw our breath.

Wayzgoose takes place April 28 and 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Admission is free. For additional information, visit tacomawayzgoose.com.

Artists and small presses: 

  • Anique Zimmer of CLAW Creative Guild (Sun. only)
  • Carl Montford (with Laura Bentley) of Montford Press (Sat. only)
  • Carol Clifford of Orange House Press
  • Carrie Foster of Shroom Brothers (Sat. only)
  • Cat Snapp Cat Snapp Studio
  • Cathy Moeller of Printwood Blocks
  • Chandler O’Leary of Anagram Press
  • Doris Arndt (Sun. only)
  • Emily Riley of Rx Letterpress
  • Griffith Williams of East Point West Press
  • J Hukee of Pope Press (Sat. only)
  • Jenny Craig of Notta Pixie Press
  • Jessica Spring of Springtide Press
  • Juniper White of dwell press (Sun. only)
  • Karen Perrine of Karen Perrine Art
  • Katie Dean
  • keegan wenkman of keegan onefoot (Sat. only)
  • Laura Bentley (with Carl Montford) of Pinwheel Press (Sat. only)
  • Lisa Hasegawa of ilfant press (Sun. only)
  • Liz Brindley of Prints & Plants, LLC (Sat. only)
  • Mare Blocker of Presstidigitation
  • Mare Blocker of Pacific Lutheran Printmaking and Elliott Press Students (Sat. only)
  • Marilyn Stablein of Book Arts Editions (Sun. only)
  • Sherry Buckner of Red Twig Studio
  • Tom Llewellyn and Lance Kagey of Beautiful Angle
  • Yoshiko Yamamoto of The Arts and Crafts Press

Steam Roller Print

Artists and Teams: 

Saturday, April 28

  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Brian Hutcheson, Stadium High School
  • 12:30-2:30 p.m., Chris Sharp, Saiyare Refaei (new this year)
  • 2:30-4 p.m., Katie Dean, Tom Llewellyn and Lance Kagey of Beautiful Angle

Sunday, April 29

  • 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Carrie Foster of Shroom Brothers, Charles Wright Academy
  • 12:30-2:30 p.m., Audra Laymon, Lincoln High School
  • 2:30-4 p.m., Cecelia Schilling of SeaGreen Studios, Tom Llewellyn and Lance Kagey of Beautiful Angle

Yoshiko Yamamoto of The Arts and Crafts Press

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