Print Culture, or Your August Book of Days

This month, we’re giving you a little glimpse into the Convivio Bookworks printshop––the heart of Convivio Bookworks. The presses, the movable type: letterpress and books are the core aspects of our business, and we’re celebrating them in this month’s Convivio Book of Days calendar. For in the wheel of the year, come late summer, one of August’s traditional celebrations is the Bartlemas Wayzgoose. It comes each August 24th with St. Bartholomew’s Day: a bittersweet day, reminding us of summer’s waning, for it is a celebration influenced entirely by the sun. Come Bartlemas each August, printers in England would begin bringing lanterns back into the printshop, as the sun alone no longer provided enough light. As sunlight wanes, so does the summer season.

Ah but that celebration comes on the 24th, and I will send you an invitation to our online Library Wayzgoose Festival at the Jaffe Center for Book Arts. Save the date, in fact: Monday August 24 at 7 PM Eastern Daylight Time. We’ll be posting a link on Vimeo and on Facebook, where Convivio Bookworks will be hosting a watch party. And if you can’t make it then, worry not, the video will be available afterwards, too, anytime, from wherever you are. We may not be able this year to gather together for the Library Wayzgoose Festival, but the good news is this year you can join us from anywhere.

As August begins, though, it’s time for another old celebration: Lammas. It is a cross quarter celebration, an old festival of the first harvest, also based in that same idea that summer is ripening, slowly giving way to fall. The Celts called the day Lughnasadh (LOO-na-sa). We find ourselves now at the midpoint between the midsummer solstice of June and the autumnal equinox of September. A freshly baked loaf of bread is a traditional part of the celebration. Indeed, the name Lammas descends from the Old English hlafmaesse, or “loaf mass.”

This Lammas, we wish you good health, we wish you glad tidings. We have our challenges here in Florida right now. Those of us who feel quarantining is best in the current situation, or who at least see benefits to wearing masks, see no end in sight to our isolation. It’s frustrating, and small family businesses like ours are affected disproportionately than corporate businesses. Friends of ours who own small restaurants are afraid to open. For us, pop-up shops are our livelihood, and these are not an option now, and won’t be anytime soon––not in a state that sees over 10,000 new cases of Covid-19 each day. But we stay at home and we know others who do, too, and we know that eventually, we will get through this. And, as we always do, we do the best we can. The Library Wayzgoose Festival on the 24th of August is a fine example of this, and I am so excited to share that special event with you. Mark the day. This month’s Convivio Book of Days calendar, by the way, is, as usual, a printable PDF document… and a good companion to this blog. See you on the 24th? Good.


4 thoughts on “Print Culture, or Your August Book of Days

  1. Carl and Kathleen Maugeri says:

    Loved your post. We live in New Jersey and have been in quarantine since mid March. It is very hard and also very beautiful. Our State has begun opening but it is not time. So we stay home. There is much we miss but we have learned to focus our hearts on things that keep us afloat. We have each other. We have a beautiful yard with trees and birds and light. We will have books.We have music.We have paints and sewing. Most of all we have time…and we are learning to appreciate things we have overlooked. Stay well stay at peace. Treat this isolation as a gift. It will end and we will be different on the other side. Much love to you both

    • John Cutrone says:

      Carl & Kathleen: You are absolutely right. My mom misses having company over for Sunday dinner, and she misses going to Joy Noodles and Cosa Duci, some of her favorite restaurants, but neither is open, anyway, as they don’t want to risk it. (As Silvia at C.D. told me: “I’m going to endanger my family just to sell a few sandwiches?”) Seth and I are both blessed to have jobs we can work from home, and the gift of time has been wonderful. Not that we have time to do things (we’re both working just as hard) but it is good to be home and together and the cat enjoys the new feeding schedule and there has been more music and books, too. I’m thankful for this experience. I am a little jealous, though, of my cousins in Italy who have all been through a proper quarantine, one in which the populace was cooperative, and who are now enjoying some semblance of normalcy.

      You two stay well. Enjoy the gift of this time.

  2. Geoff Moor says:

    Thank you for your post. Sad news about the situation in the USA. Fortunately on the west coast of Australia we don’t have any community-spread of the virus and those in quarantine are folk who have recently arrived in the country. Unfortunately other parts of Australia are not so fortunate. We are 8 hours ahead of you time-wise and I hope to join the Library wayzgoose festival – albeit at 7am on Tuesday 25th. Stay safe and keep printing. Geoff

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