Category Archives: Book of Days Calendar

Autumn, and Your October Book of Days

Welcome to October. Here’s your Book of Days Calendar for October. Cover star: a swamp maple in New Gloucester, Maine, with ruby red leaves, pure essence of autumn. This is something we just don’t get much of here in Lake Worth. So if you are in a place where this happens, enjoy fully.

Here in Lake Worth, the weather has taken a definite shift. It’s not so much cooler as it is less humid, and this is nice, this is our version of autumn. There are pumpkins in the market, not the ones that grow here, but the ones that have to be trucked in from the North. Our pumpkins are delicious but not much to look at; sometimes green, sometimes beige, they’re called “calabaza” and they taste a lot like a butternut. I’ve sent pictures of our calabazas to friends up north who grow pumpkins and typically the initial response is a gasp. “That’s a pumpkin?” We love them all the same, though it’s true, our calabazas cannot hold a candle to a big Connecticut Field jack o’lantern pumpkin or a red Rouge vif d’Etampes or a ghostly blue green Jarrahdale. And so a hearty thank you to all the farmers who send their beautiful cucurbitas here to South Florida. We appreciate it. Really. For while we don’t get your beautiful foliage, we do enjoy the pumpkins.

We’re shifting into high gear here preparing for Dia de Muertos, beefing up stock and adding new artisan goods from Mexico, too. We have lots more to add to the website, but if you’re ready to start shopping, know that we offer free domestic shipping when you spend $50, and even if you don’t, our flat rate shipping is only $8.50, and that’s not so bad, either. Here’s a quick link to our catalog. Enjoy!


Drive Down Day, or Your September Book of Days

Hurricane Dorian kicked us a bit out of sync as we transitioned from August to September, but here, finally, is your printable Convivio Book of Days calendar for September. We are fine here in Lake Worth, though that is not the case with our neighbors in the Bahamas. Just 75 miles east of us is the western point of Grand Bahama Island, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve scanned the horizon at the coast when I was a boy, looking for the Bahamas because they’re right there, but 75 miles is a distance sometimes. Enough of a distance to see no sign of land from here, and enough of a distance for us to emerge unharmed by Dorian’s course.

That’s how I got to Maine the first time I went to that fair state. I was going to Penland, North Carolina, but I had some artwork to bring to a gallery in Vermont––my first non-academic art show––and, on the map, at least, Vermont seemed to be just a little further away. Why not bring the artwork there myself? And if I was going to Vermont, I figured, certainly I should go to Maine. This is the way my mind works. You can see how someone like me would be looking out over the Atlantic, hoping to see Grand Bahama from my tiny strand of sand.

Way over in Switzerland, it’s the time of year the cows come home from the Alpine meadows. They were there last July when Seth and I were driving along the Splügen Pass on the way from Austria to Italy, high in Alps, their bells ringing through the mountain air as we drove, and now that winter is setting in, it’s time for them to come down to the valleys. Typically this happens now, in early September, and especially on the 8th of September, which is the day we celebrate the Nativity of Mary, which is known as Drive Down Day in some parts of Switzerland. The return of the cows is not without some pomp and ceremony: they’re dressed up and decorated and so are their human companions. It’s a sight, I’m sure, but it’s the bells I love best. If you’ve never heard them, well… it’s the most peaceful sound. One of those bell-wearing Swiss bovines is the cover star of your September Book of Days… and while we’re at it, here’s a video we took when we were in Switzerland of the cows and their bells, not long before we reached the top of the Splügen Pass:

Across the border in Italy the folks like to eat blueberries today: blue, the color of Mary’s cloak, at least in Italian Renaissance paintings. Lights are illuminated in windows, and bonfires blaze. In France, Mary is celebrated today, in the midst of the grapes ripening on the vine, as Our Lady of the Grape Harvest. Bunches of grapes are brought to churches for the priests to bless and you’ll find lots of grapes this day in the hands of statues of Mary, placed there by Marian devotees and by lovers of wine and by traditionalists like me. This is September, the first of the “Ember” months. Seth and I, we wish you a fine one.


We’re popping up at Hatch 1121 in Lake Worth on Saturday for the big “Catrinas: The Festival” event and I’m teaching a workshop at the Armory later this month.

Saturday September 14 from 4 to 9 PM
Hatch 1121 (the old Lake Worth Shuffle Board Courts)
at 1121 Lucerne Ave in Downtown Lake Worth’s West Village
Our favorite time of year is fast approaching! Here, to kick things off, Lake Worth meets L.A. in a unique festival that revolves around an exhibition featuring works by Lake Worth artist José R. Mendez and Los Angeles photographer Gus Mejia. Admission is free and plentiful parking is nearby. In the Hatch courtyard, live mariachi, food, crafts, and low riders… and we’ll be there in our usual spot with a preview of this year’s Convivio Bookworks Dia de Muertos collection. You’ll find your old favorites plus lots of new items not yet in our online catalog, all of them made by hand by artisans in Mexico. It’s all about authenticity.

Saturday September 21 from 9:30 AM to 4:30 PM
The Armory
at 811 Park Place in West Palm Beach
Printing and bookbinding are at the core of the Book Arts, and in this one day workshop, you’ll get a foundation in both. Learn a bit of letterpress plus the techniques behind a range of handmade book structures that you can create anywhere on your own without special bindery equipment. We’ll print one of our book covers from handset type, and you won’t just leave with blank books: one of the books you’ll bind is a letterpress limited edition story that was printed by your Convivio Bookworks boys in years past, and you’ll get to bind your very own copy.


Summer Treehouse, or Your August Book of Days

Ladies and Gentlemen: Here is your Convivio Book of Days for August. Its tardy arrival is an embarrassment, and I apologize. My own transition to August has not gone at all as expected. It began with teaching a weeklong summer book arts camp for young teens, a week that threw my life a bit off the rails. The person who was supposed to teach the camp bailed at the last minute and so I was asked and I agreed to do it. I’d be home each day by 4:30, I’d get an hour lunch each day. I never get an hour for lunch in my regular job. I even brought my journal with me, for all the luxurious free time I’d have during lunch to write.

My journal is still in the back seat of the car, unopened. In retrospect, I feel like maybe the instructor who quit had some inside information on these kids and opted to jump ship. Me, I went in expecting to teach 16 kids who wanted to learn how to make books to do just that. There were a few who did have a bit of that drive: MacKenzie, Taylor, Emily… maybe even Natalia. The rest? Not so much. I suspect they were there because it was late summer and their parents really didn’t know what to do with them anymore and so they coughed up a lot of dough to place them somewhere, anywhere, for a week. It could’ve been a book arts camp or it could’ve been a labor camp––the experience didn’t matter so much as just finding some place for their kids to go that didn’t involve them.

I won’t go into detail, but if you teach middle school, God bless you. Some of us have what it takes and some do not, and I, most certainly, do not. I was a walking zombie all week, vampirized by those kids. It was only once the weekend was half over that I realized that the letterpress printed calendar that my friends Gail and David sent me was still set on the July page. And so on Sunday I turned the page to August and set to work, as well, on the Book of Days calendar project for August. Let me tell you: It’s nice to be back. Your cover star this month? A treehouse I stumbled across on one of my walks through Götzis, Austria, when Seth and I were there in July. I was walking back from the post office down by the train station when I saw it. A gnome protects the tree house, which I imagine is frequented by children who have great imagination and creativity. Perhaps they don’t yet have phones, and their lives don’t revolve around memes on YouTube. Maybe they are kids who like to be outdoors and who like to run around and experience the real world. They like cherries and they like to make things. Anyway, I hope so.

Enjoy the calendar! You’ll hear from me again this week for Obon––one of my favorite summer holidays.