Part of a series of interviews between Julia Ferrari and Jane Noyes
Ferrari:Yesterday I got to go down to North Hampton, they had a commemorative lecture for what now is going to be a yearly thing and it was the first one of its kind, this particular commemorative lecture. It was a book arts lecture
Ferrari: I went down and it was for a woman who has passed away but who had a press. I got to see all of my old compatriots from the book world and that was good. It was intense but it was you know, like a gathering of a lot of people so it was a good thing to do.
Noyes:That’s so terrific. How did you happen to know about it?
Ferrari: Well, two different ways, actually, three. Luckily, three ways that people contacted me.
Ferrari: Otherwise, I might not have known about it. The first was I saw a book binder friend when I was down visiting the Smith College Museum of Art, like several weeks ago. Then the second time was seeing a book binder friend when I went to pick something up, she mentioned it. Finally, I got a card in the mail from Smith. So, I said going to go. Got to go.
Noyes:Definitely. So it was part of a series that Smith does, or was doing or is doing.
Ferrari: It’s starting
Noyes:Just starting. Okay so then there will be other art forms
Ferrari: Yes, lectures. I think it’s a yearly lecture to commemorate a woman by the name of Enid Mark who had a press. In fact, Dan and I, we did one of her books here. We set the type for one of her books. She had passed away a couple years ago and I guess her family set up this endowment for a lecture series
Ferrari: Yes and the man that came to speak was Mark Dimunation who was a fine book collector at the library of congress. So, he came up and spoke about her books. It was called ‘Vision and collaboration in the book arts’
Ferrari: Because I guess Enid would, to make a book, she kind of would come up with the idea of the book and I think design the book too. Then would hire people to set the type, bind the book, and find the artist, the poet. So she was sort of like the command central for the book
Noyes:So she wasn’t really the artist. She was the one who kind of pulled the folks together.
Noyes:Sort of a vision that she had for something. Oh, that is kind of terrific and she was maybe a patron too. Did she pay for this?
Ferrari:Well, yes. She would hire people to do the binding or the book type setting, so in a certain sense
Noyes:Right, so she was a patron.
Noyes:Oh my God. That must have been terrific!
Ferrari:Yes, it was. It was good, it was inspiring. They talked about a few different other people in the east coast and west coast that were also people who worked in collaboration with other artists or writers or whatever which spreads it out beyond the singular but it was inspiring. I think I’m still absorbing it. Apparently, they taped it so I can go listen to it again. Smith is going to put it on their somehow
Noyes:Some website or something?
Ferrari:Smith TV or something.
Ferrari:It was nice and I went around and talked to people and of course people welcomed me with open arms because everybody knew Dan and me. We were like a team, you know.
Ferrari:And everybody has this sort of sympathy because it’s not been that long. I think it’s the first time I’ve pretty much seen everybody since Dan died, on the east coast. I went out to the west coast this summer and then that winter Dan died. But at east coast, except for them all coming to Dan’s memorial, it was one of the first times I’ve seen them all.
Noyes:Yes. It must have been kind of, well, just exactly what you said. How great that there was this particular reason and this opportunity for all these people to come together and I just imagine all these ways of staying in touch and in this well, big small world.
Noyes:And you know it occurs to me, the piece that you had sent to me which I read, about women who kind of picked up for the men and the history of all of that and how much that is a thing that would be of such interest to college.
Ferrari:Yes. It’s true
Noyes:You know because there’s always the thing. You know the way women were not in the background. They were true collaborators, if not single artists. This is a prime example of carrying on.
Noyes:Even though if you think, in times that have past it would have been the man that would have the notoriety. There’s probably an incredible history.
Noyes:It sounds like we already know that there is.
Ferrari:Yes. It was. I hadn’t expected that turn you know, because she came and interviewed me. She had called when Nelly Gable, the punch cutter was here but then the woman who did the interview became ill and couldn’t come which was kind of a disappointment but then she just followed up and said, ‘I want to come now and see you. You know we’re coming up to New England.” Because she was from Philadelphia but then instead of just only punchcutting, us working, me and Nelly, she turned it into focused on this idea of the printer’s widow which was interesting. I hadn’t expected that. I hadn’t thought about that. She put me in a, sort of a place in history which actually gave me a good sense of purpose.
Ferrari:And sort of pride about doing it. Instead of feeling like alone, it’s just an interesting thing to feel that this isn’t something that just has happened in the past.
Noyes:Right! You know how — I don’t know if this is a good analogy, it just comes to mind for me — with musicians who have this sense of their lineage and how they came down. I had worked at the music center so it’s certainly been a lot of professional musicians and it would be “Well my teacher was so so and his teacher was so so” and I’m back through times and to add back to these well-known names in the past, that sense of, the lineage you know. How I got to be here in my particular path and of course there’s many paths but I don’t know it just sounded fascinating. It was a new concept to me. It had never occurred to me like who would think about your teacher’s teachers and your teacher’s teacher and the past that it has bound.
Ferrari:Yes. It’s true, very true. It was interesting to be with this group of people because one of the woman said something to me, she said, “You know the interesting part about the valleys, it’s called the pioneer valley. They used to consider us honorary members of the pioneer family even though we were in New Hampshire, sort of, top edge of the valley.” People always would welcome people if they wanted to learn something they would just informally teach people things and I think in a way there’s still room for that, that if I want to go study something with somebody they would welcome me and I could come up to meet that challenge of learning something from different people still at this point in my life.
Noyes:Yes. I would think so too and also that you could be in the position of passing it along too to others who’re coming up and are interested in this field.
Noyes:Because I guess, it’s really like the old, well anything. I suppose there’s technical school for some of it but in a way it’s not just this craft, it’s the arts too. So my guess is that most people are working on their own though there may be aspects where they teach other artists to earn a living but it’s a much smaller world than so many other forms of arts and craft.
Noyes:So it’s really going to depend on personal relationships and apprenticeships
Ferrari:Yes and it’s interesting because by large it’s mostly a group of stalwarts of people who have been doing it and are still doing it, making a living. They were kind of our generation, Dan and me, there are young people who come up as apprentices and stuff but it’s our initial scene and it’s still got a lot of people who are our age and still working. I have been thinking about how there must’ve been part of our generation too, people who were wanting to do that, wanting to break away from regular employment and actually trying something like book binding and how that came to be a little center for that in that area, this western part of you know, New England.
Noyes:That really makes sense. You know my neighbour down the road is a curator at Memorial Hall, the museum in Deerfield but she’s a real historian herself. She just finished a book on the Arts and Crafts movement which took her three years. I’m thinking that your work is probably, to some degree part of that. She did focus on what the women in Deerfield had done in the sort of late 1800 and into the 1900s. They were sort of on a crafts co-op in a sense, the town but it was to actually find the means of making money, it was all through handiwork, not quilting per say, but very fine and delicate. Anyways, I’m thinking of the whole arts and crafts of that time and then of, as you say our time, I mean you and I are very close in age and what a different time it was for you know kids say getting to be college age!
Noyes:I think maybe because I kind of took what might have been called an alternative route that kids nowadays are just under such pressure. First of all, you have to figure out a way immediately to be able to sustain yourself. I remember paying forty-five dollars a month for rent and scrounging for fire wood. You don’t know how many kids are doing that kind of stuff now, you’ve got to get real jobs
Ferrari:Yes and even the cost of education now, people spent who knows how many years of their lives paying that debt
Noyes:They come out with huge debts and in our day, it made sense to take a loan for college because the interest rates were so incredibly low you could actually make money on your time just letting that loan keep bouncing around up there. You know, savings were making more money than the money that you had to pay in interests on your college loan. Now it’s like buying a house
Ferrari:Yes. I think it’s harder to not do it sometimes even because some people of our generation, you know they became builders and whatever. They didn’t necessarily go in the direction of college, although a lot of people did
Ferrari:But now if you don’t do that, boy! Not only is it hard to break into a world like craft where you make enough money to make a living, paying your rent or taxes or whatever because there’s just only so much work out there but the equipment itself is extremely expensive, rare. I remember Dan and I talking to young people and encouraging them, because people were always encouraging them to be more cautious not to take this kind of work on. We would say, “Hey, you can do it! It’s harder than it used to be but still, this is how we did it. You know, this can be done, you can’t get a new car, you have to buy a used car, you have to do this, and you have to do that.”
Noyes:Right! You may also have to have a job, either on the side or that sustains you and you’re going to have to do this in your extra hours to possibly reach a point where you can put more time into that than into the job.
Ferrari:That’s right because I think Dan and I were both of us doing that right up until, for me it was twenty-eight. Both of us in that range you know, twenty-eight to thirty, taking on other commercial work, working for other people, doing various things even though we tried to keep it in the book arts.
Noyes:Being true to your passion?
Ferrari:Yes and then we decided that we would make this letter foundry. Our plan was that we would train ourselves and we couldn’t lose because we’d be trained and we’d be making money at the same time and we’d be eventually really good at what we did and then we’d be able to have the means to make books too because we’d have all the equipment and we did that, basically. The only issue was that we had hoped that Dan would live like a long enough time so that we would be able to start because the plan was that towards the second half of our lives we would begin to put more emphasis into our own books and that kind of started but was not able to continue nor increase.
Ferrari:I mean I have to do that and I actually feel that the part of my goal is to live out that dream of
Ferrari:That plan, yes. To sort of not say “Okay well everything has kaput!” instead say “Well you know here I am. I’m trained. I’m artistic. I’m skilled. I’m ready and do it.”
Noyes:I can do this.
Ferrari:Yes. I can do this. It’s sort of almost a little terrifying but because the hard part is always coming up with the great concept of what you want to do that excites you enough and pulls you through a project that lasts three years or so. Two years or three years
Noyes:And a visionary thing, it must have been so wonderful having a partner with whom you shared that vision
Ferrari:Yes. Dan and I, we could just talk about that and we’d figure something out and it would be really exciting for both of us and now that’s the hardest thing. That is actually the hardest thing, it’s that I don’t have this artistic companion to bounce ideas off of or to grow ideas because we didn’t just bounce them off so much
Noyes:Yes. I’m sure it was sort of a competing thing back and forth, it increased as you both aged but you were fed by each other in your excitement and your ideas.
Ferrari:Yes, and I think that was one of the most fulfilling parts of the relationship, the fact that that was part of our interaction and boy! That’s just not easily out there.
Noyes:Right. And yes, that must be the difficult part in a way and yet the whole rest of it is not something that you are willing to give up.
Noyes:In a way, that would be harder still, get up and try to reinvent yourself.
Noyes:And then, I guess, I don’t know, deny yourself in some way.
Ferrari:Yes and I’ve had to ask myself this late winter because I sort of believe in trying to pay attention to what things are telling me in the world. Losing my heat was almost a blow in a way, which was confounding. I don’t think anybody quite really understood what was going to the degree that I had to of course feel it and endure it because you know, I couldn’t work. It was okay right up until late-mid December when I was still working at Keene State but then I lost that job and I’m thinking like “Wow! Here I am. I’ve lost my heat so I can’t work at the shop and I lost my income. What is this telling me? Is this telling me I should be doing something completely different, you know?” It’s a little scary for me to think about like am I not listening? Am I not paying attention to the universe? Am I really being directed that this is not the direction for me right now? But I don’t know, just that voice came up to ask that question at least because of that intensity of losing the ability to work in the shop. It did put me in a place where I was staying with friends and I did have really good internet access. During one of those things, I had conversations with friends, I heard about someone at Dartmouth and I looked at the internet and saw that they had some courses you could take. So I went up and did three sort of refresher courses for me, of book binding. So I did do some things like that and I guess I might not have done that if I had been here, you know completely, solo.
Ferrari:So in a way maybe it got me out of my environment for a while. My other theory is that it got me out of my environment for a while so that I really, really deeply appreciate it and come to it with a renewed vigour, you know.
Ferrari:I’m still figuring it out because it was unusual. Now maybe it was just the circumstances, shouldn’t read too much into it, I don’t know but I’m trying to at least figure out what did this bring me? What did I get from that? You know, what opportunities did I learn from this strange event?
Noyes:Well, my guess is that you’re going to know how to answer those questions as time goes on
Ferrari:That’s a good point
Noyes:You’ll know, I mean in a certain sense you are still in it somewhat so you’re not going to know until later but you’re patient, you’ll take your lessons as they come, learn and then later you’ll see the fuller picture. It seems like, maybe not the particular circumstances the way they happened, I mean it was all uncomfortable but it seems, somehow, you needed that.
Ferrari:I came here every day because I have a chicken and a cat but it felt like a passing through, being a stranger here almost, not able to stay overnight and all that combined with the fact that it was one of the coldest winters we’ve had
Ferrari:Yes, long so it all sort of fit together for some particular result but it doesn’t feel like it discouraged me because I’m back, enduring fifty some degrees, fifty-four or fifty-five and just dealing with it
Noyes:Yes it’s infinitely better than fifteen degrees, it’s manageable and being outside every day, I mean I’ve loved being able to walk out in my bare feet, even the cat wants to go out, it thrashes out in the afternoon sun. It’s just so nice to have it be spring, to have the right bright and to see the emerging — whatever’s out there, every day if you look closely, there’s more and more, the grey, devoid of colour fields change every day a little bit and get greener. It’s just a time of change, the time of growth and awakening, it’s spring, it’s all in one word — spring.
Ferrari:That’s right! You know it was spring, it was early May when Dan started declining actually because when you said hills changing, I remembered we were driving up in February at one point for some doctor’s thing, way up in Lebanon. Then in May, I remember driving up and there was a beautiful hill by the side of ninety-one, it was a rolling meadow and it was a soft brown after the snow had melted. I remember seeing it in many of the drives, we would drive up there regularly, and suddenly I watched it change into this soft green.
Noyes:You could watch it change if you drove up regularly
Noyes:That’s interesting that you’re sort of facing that. I guess there’s always going to be those times of year when you remember.
Ferrari:There’s that and we were also married in April, 18th of April so that’s coming up for its second anniversary for me without Dan. I have to go for a walk that day.
Noyes:I was going to say life always leaves these reminders, very distinct ones
Ferrari:So in terms of the creative, you know, I think when I see some of the people down there and I see other things that they’re doing, I look at that lecture. There’s people there who are interacting with, there’s the person who is sort of the editor or designer of the book like Enid Mark and there she is working with a poet so it’s her art, I guess she was an artist and did her arts in the book. So there’s her working with poets and binders, that combination is really the creative process, the person making the book, the person working with the poet who is the material, the content of the book. So I mean, I see people doing it. I guess I was kind of lucky that Dan and I had it as a team because I don’t see that much as a husband and a wife team, a little bit here and there
Noyes:How would you be able to know anyway?
Ferrari:What do you mean?
Noyes:How could you know who’s out there? I mean you know the world but it’s interesting when you think about how much it was kind of small in a way because of your relationship with Dan and how much you focused on work and the work that you did together. You certainly knew others in the world and yet so much of the way your work was, just so yours and yours alone. How would you necessarily know? You know who’s out there in Iowa or who’s there in the broader world in the North East?
Ferrari:Yes, I’m not as good at that, neither were we. We liked it that way, we didn’t require it. We were a little bit reclusive and very focused, so I need to. I mean the internet now is probably the incredible boon for that, but I was thinking when I was driving home last night, I don’t know if I already said this but I noticed that most of the people were doing one or two tasks like the book binder and printers, they’re incredible and they work with other people who’d do their printing or binding. I realized while driving back thinking, “Wow, Dan and I had this thing, we were reclusive and partly it was because we wanted to do it all and we both had that in common.” We started out as artists and poets, we started with the content and then went to making the books with the type and design and then needed to bind the books so I trained myself how to be a book binder because we didn’t actually have the money to hire a book binder. With our type setting, we didn’t make a lot of money, it wasn’t lucrative, I think book binding was more lucrative so it was being the artist, poet, printer and designer. Dan was making type, designing and book binding – it was like five to six things we did, each, let alone being the writer or the artist.
Noyes:Beginning to end
Ferrari:It was pretty much beginning to end, we did all the processes, the only thing we didn’t do was selling, we weren’t great at selling the books, although we did that by ourselves
Noyes:Well, you must’ve been to some degree, you had to figure out a way to make them go out in the world
Ferrari:We did that by ourselves too, other people sell them to the booksellers and then the bookseller will sell the book and just like in the art world you get 50% or 70% or something, but we put so much energy into it, that we would simply say “Hey we’re going to just go directly to the universities” and we would drive around and have spent certain amount of time at one point calling. I used to be the person who would call and I’d make appointments and we would go. We didn’t do this very often but we would make appointments to go sell the books and we would go to Harvard, Yale and Dartmouth and even whenever we were traveling, we would bring that in, at different points in time. We would bring it in selling our books and we would make it a selling trip
Noyes:How did that work for you when you went to the big universities? How would you even get a foot in the door?
Ferrari:Well, the book world was small and new enough, at that point in time at least, that people were totally willing to listen and interested. Since then, I learnt last year, because I tried to get an appointment at The Getty because I was out in San Francisco, went to visit a niece in L.A. and there’s The Getty so I called and tried to make an appointment but they couldn’t see me because they were so busy. I went to The Getty anyway and I realized that they are so overwhelmed and busy now because what happened in the last thirty years, part of the last twenty years, Dan and I were working here for thirty but in the late ‘80s, the book arts revolution happened, before that it was very rare. At that point in time when it was rare, there were never any problems getting appointments, you just call them up, you said you wanted to come and see them, they’d make an appointment and you’d go.
Ferrari:And they’d often, if they liked what they saw, they’d buy a book or two. Dan and I, we hadn’t done it in a while because we got political, we hadn’t really done much as part of the 2000s so we’d done it through the ‘90s and early ‘90s. 1989-90 was the beginning of the book arts revolution in a way so that ten years, we were still out at the front because we knew our stuff but in those ten years, there were a lot of people who went to study and get their masters in book arts. So I realized last year that wow, there’s amazing, incredible quantity of people now who are competing to sell books to universities because universities have only so much money. If you didn’t have a standing book order but I’m pretty fearless because I know that the books are quality so I don’t have any issues with going to anybody and talking to them in any fine library because I know the books should be there. However, it was shocking to go to The Getty and have them go like, “Who’s that? We don’t know who Julia Ferrari or Golgonooza is.” Nobody in the west coast much did
Noyes:I was going to say is it different just because it’s the west coast? Because it is another world in a way
Ferrari:Probably, yes. Although Dan and I, we were sort of centred in San Francisco and around that environment and went to UC Berkeley and Stanford and sold books but didn’t go further south or north. Last year, I got to go to the University of Seattle and down to The Getty, I got to just do it again, that’s all! But it was kind of a big deal because it cost me money to go out and it was just shocking that they were meh, you know
Noyes:Maybe The Getty is just so big with so much money and so many people
Ferrari:Yes, it’s kind of like MOMA now I think and if I tried to get an appointment at MOMA, I’d have the same issue
Noyes:Yes exactly maybe it’s for the universities or universities with Fine Art departments and Fine Art Museums, unless the Museum’s themselves
Noyes:Or again if you have the time and inclination you could be out on the road the whole time and then you could really learn how best to do it but what a time consuming process
Ferrari:Yes. That’s an interesting idea, it might be something that I try to do now because I can’t be a recluse again anymore. I should probably try to do this for a couple weeks, twice a year and just go out and plan a trip and do it!
Noyes:In a way, the north-east is probably the very best place to be because the most private universities, old and established with money and interest are there. Do you ever go back to the museums or universities you approached before and who did buy from you?
Ferrari:Yes, I sold a book to Stanford again this past winter and I have to go down to Harvard and Yale and I’m pretty sure they will buy — “Reach of the Heart”, the book that I’m binding now. I know that Harvard will because we were lucky enough that they brought our archive and usually when you’re a small press or fine press or whatever you are, you want to make sure that some particular university commits to your archive so that all the work that you did when you’re dead and gone, it’s somewhere and not thrown in a dump
Ferrari:We talked with the woman who was the curator of the fine book room and she liked us and after her talking with her board several times, they took us on as part of their archive – Golgonooza Letter Foundry. It was by in large because Dan’s punchcutting was just so amazing and the books then were amazing because they were made by hand and even though we didn’t have this huge reputation because we didn’t get a lot of people writing about us or we weren’t connected with the people in the know, we were not on the tip of people’s tongue, they still recognized that it was something very unique and luckily, she was sort of open-handed to say, “Okay, this is not just Dan, this is Julia and Dan”
Ferrari:Which is really lucky for me at this stage in my life because I’m still connected to them through that archive and they are still committed to take anything I give them
Ferrari:So I know, they’ll buy a book because they are already committed in time and histories. So I got to go down and see them and do that. In a way, that’s probably how I’m going to make my income for this next year, selling this particular book to these places. This book Dan and I finished but kind of stalled and had stalled for a while before that, I don’t know why that happened but the latter part was I think because that Dan wasn’t feeling well and he had only so much energy and time and we both had together put that latter part of our life towards being politically active and being activists, almost as sort of a transformative thing which went from something personal to universal where we felt the need to spread some good
Noyes:Yes and of course, it seems natural without thinking about what the future brought at all, you know what I mean. It doesn’t mean you were abandoning your work, it was just a natural thing that you both needed to do and yet at the same time, I don’t know if you look back and say, “Gee!” You can’t look back and regret it, it’s silly
Ferrari:No, actually we grew in different ways from doing that
Noyes:That’s what I was thinking! It’s like losing the heat this winter for you which is a great metaphor — losing the heat — losing your steam, losing your own personal debt. It doesn’t mean you really were, think you were just going inward in a place where you didn’t know what was coming and to come of all of that. That’s something that will emerge in time for you.
Ferrari:Yes, and I guess in some ways it was an opportunity to have everything quiet out to like this perfect calm. It was like the ocean or a lake or whatever when there’s no wind, you know just like total calm and instead of huffing around trying to get something going and being in the midst of it almost to come back after in a way too. Losing Dan was like a storm, you know, and then to have this calm and now to just be able to begin again, I think that’s maybe part of what’s happening. So, you know, that works, that seems to have its own place and purpose. No, I don’t regret any of the political stuff, it did take time away but the skills gained were valuable. Dan and I used to talk about how we get so excited doing it, it would be like, “This is our sport, it’s like playing tennis. We’re going out and engaging in these little sort of political battles and breathing it in is this incredible fun!”
Noyes:Yes, well, it all makes sense and I think anybody who is really thoughtful and has thought deeply about their lives and intentions, sort of seeing opportunities rather than threats closing in. I mean you always kept saying open and while others might have thought “Oh well, you know just keep moving Julia.” You know you had a reason, if you will make the best of what that was, even if that means on into your future. You will. I mean, I think you guys together look remarkable while absolutely you’re continuing on. So have you ever considered writing your story?
Ferrari:Well in some ways that’s part of this project with you, needing you to be the provocateur to ask me questions so that I’m not talking to myself
Noyes:Right, all this material, it will brew and maybe it will come back up as kind of a narrative.
Ferrari:Before Dan died, he was teaching his students how to make books, they were doing it digital because they were trying to become digital graphic designers and such, so that was another skill actually that both of us learned too, having to do that on top of things, but I saw that there are opportunities online. You can make a book that’s completely digital they call them “on demand books”, you can make one and then you can also do more as you need them.
Noyes:That’s amazing! How many people are doing that? I don’t know why I’m so shocked except that I don’t have enough friends who say, “Oh here, I’ve been making books, have one, have one!”
Ferrari:Yes, it’s an interesting process. It has its parallels because you have to design the book and you have to think about the content but the printing gets done digitally by somebody else. Still, it’s an interesting thing and Dan was starting to design a book of his poetry that way because he kind of had gotten intrigued because he had his students doing it every semester and I had made my decision to make a book too called “The Gardens of Golgonooza” and the plan is that it’s going to be the history of the press and the images but it was going to actually just start out to be the beginning of our starting here. When we moved here, this building was bereft of all, it was very desolate in terms of the greenery and the yard. It had been abandoned for twenty years
Noyes:Oh really? That’s a long time
Ferrari:Yes and the backyard was full of burdock and it was just you know, it was brushy and in some places it was almost sandy and spots, no birds. I remember first seeing it, the building, and saying “Oh, that looks kind of desolate.” I didn’t like it but then when I saw it in the spring, there was a little green, I kind of liked it and that was when we endeavoured that we were going to buy this and move out of Boston and move all the way from there to here. So, I call it “The Gardens of Golgonooza” because over the years Dan and I took photographs of flowers in my garden, close-ups, and it was our plan still to put those as images for that particular book, “Gardens of Golgonooza” but have the dialogue be at least the early days of moving here like what that was like because that was unique and then that shifted to the next stage which was like we were really skilled crafts people, working at the top of our game and what that felt like. I might write three different books and have them all be the same size and that one just be the first of the series — “The Gardens of Golgonooza”
Noyes:Oh how perfect because then of course you’re going to design and put them all together in all those other ways than just the writing, it would be wonderful to have a series, that would be terrific!
Ferrari:So I probably need to start thinking and talking about the early years with you and trying to get that on paper at some point or digitally, get it on tape
Noyes:Get it on something! Well, you know what, let’s make that the plan for next week — the early years
Noyes:I really love doing this Julia
Ferrari:Yes, I like it too, very much, I love it!
Noyes:It’s exciting to think where this little bit and all the rest of what you’re doing and interested in any way, in the next seasons or two is going to bring for you or going to bring to this next season
Ferrari:Yes, it’s extremely wonderful and I think very important and lucky for me to have you as a sounding board. One of the things that happens is this aloneness, of course I do occasionally reach out to people but the fact that we get to talk about anything related to the history or the future is really very special and I think it’s almost going to become historical!
Noyes:Yes, it’s good and I love being part of it, I really do. I feel like I’m an equal partner.
Ferrari:It’s great, I like it
Noyes:I don’t know, I’m very excited about it
Ferrari:That’s good! One of the things that I’m learning is that the opposite of being reclusive is that you have to kind of get the word out there about what you’re doing and all that stuff so I do that from my blog and I’ve been lucky enough to have two people do articles, interviews with me and I think at some point we should sort of advertise, let the world know, have someone write an article about the fact that we’re doing this, maybe down the road a little bit when we’re continuing into it but let the world know that actually we’re partners in this project on gathering the content on the history of Golgonooza
Noyes:Exactly. Before we go ahead, let me ask you a technical question: you’ve gathered several hours of conversation and they are on your recorder but have you done anything with them next? That’s a big project!
Ferrari:It is! Actually after the first one, I sat and listened and transcribed it but I realized what happens is that if we spend an hour talking, it takes at least another hour to sit and listen plus because you have to slow it up and you’re writing but a woman that I know — someone had bought it for her husband and her husband passed away — gave me this program called Dragon, which is supposed to take the voice and make it into the written word, digitally on a computer.
Noyes:Right! But have you tried that?
Ferrari:Well, I’ve been working like the Dickens to figure out how to deal with it because turns out she didn’t have the MAC version
Noyes:Oh you told me this actually
Ferrari:And I have MAC so I got on Freecycle and I have advertised that I’m looking for a used PC that has an operating system of seven or higher because that’s what I need to do, I need to find that. So I’m trying to work on that or if that doesn’t succeed, I’ll see if I have any friends who have one that I could borrow
Noyes:Yes really because that wouldn’t be a big deal and you think of all the people who have probably got all this stuff knocking around
Ferrari:Yes because usually people want to buy a new one and I’m sure they are out there so and I think then I can just play the tape, have it make the translation and I could just have that and put it up on my blog is what I would like to start doing
Noyes: Oh of course
Ferrari:Put it on the blog and then extract from the blog, the book which will take a certain effort but I think I’ll just do it chronologically
Noyes:I think you’ll need an underwriter
Ferrari:Underwriter meaning like someone
Noyes:Who could help fund your project. You know what I mean? Well, you do know what I mean, it’s like it would be great if there was somebody who could say, “Oh, I’ll take that on because this is such valuable material” or if you were to go back to Harvard who is the holder of your archive
Noyes:And tell them next time you go with books in hand and say, “This is what I’m doing” because if they are interested in the archive, I think they’d be interested in this short period oral history
Noyes:You know, in a way, it’s part of the whole, it becomes part of the archive
Ferrari:And you mean, if they were able to fund me a little bit, it would just take some of the time that I would need to transcribe it and
Noyes:Just the work. You know, if they were interested enough to take this on and I don’t know what it means but does it mean to have taken any archives when all this, when you’re gone, do all your materials go to them?
Noyes:Yes, no, that’s great because they obviously are valuing what you did as artists and craftspeople, you know, all of that.
Ferrari:Yes, basically archives are all the materials that are like, what do they call them? That are part and parcel of designing the books. They buy the books actually, but they already pre-bought the archives so that any sort of relevant materials, you know of the history of something, some stuff written down or some design sheets or all that kind of stuff and Dan’s punches of course but technically, interestingly enough I think that would then include, if I start to do punchcutting, it would include my punches which is an interesting thing because then they wouldn’t just get slumped off when I’m dead into
Noyes:As Dan’s punches because it’s part of a continuous whole
Ferrari:And probably this whole printer’s widow issue will be something that will actually be not just a write-up but be part of this history of this particular press and how things transpired and where they went from there
Noyes:Exactly! And that’s why I cannot imagine that if Harvard, first of all I just can’t believe they wouldn’t be interested in this but also if for some reason they are not or in collaboration, it seems to me that it is right up the alley of Smith College
Noyes:You know, I don’t know if you’ve ever spoken with them or their rare books people, anyway, just my thinking from sort of a woman’s angle
Ferrari:You mean, to sort of see if they will fund because right now I’ve lost my job at Keene State so I’m actually in between everything which is kind of a shocking state, especially not having heat because I couldn’t make books so I can sell the books that I’ve made. I’m not panicking but I know at some point in time some stuff is going to get a bit dicey so maybe that’s an interesting idea to talk to them and say, “Hey will you fund?” I don’t know how to even think about what to ask for but it could be
Noyes:I don’t know either but I think it is part of a whole. Well, Harvard University is a publisher of books themselves and maybe, this is just my thinking, but maybe since they are very interested in you and either recipients of this archive, I would think they would want the whole story or all that they can get. We are heading into the future with your intention to carry on, it’s part of the whole, printer’s widow and all that. Maybe it will be worth your time to just sit down and write what might be a proposal, think about how that looks, it doesn’t have to be the final piece but maybe share it with some friends who might have the knowledge of what that might look like so that somebody can help you tweak it or tell you the format or whatever. You know nothing about that but still. I would think that it would be a proposal that they would really seriously consider
Ferrari:So just the fact that it is gathering together the history of the press and then the publishing of a series of books
Noyes:Yes and certainly your intention to carry on in reference to the pieces written about the widows of
Noyes:And not that you heard about that first and that’s what you want to do but there was no question that that was what you wanted to do and then you know, you’ve discovered this material and you’re following in a long historical name here.
Ferrari:Yes! That’s a great idea. I had not thought about that. That’s a very good thought, I think I should work on that. I like that idea.
Noyes:You have still a little writing on what might be a proposal
Ferrari:Right! Because then in some ways if that was able to work out, if it was a good enough proposal and they liked it, it could be a way to that I could fund like living right now as opposed to going out and having to get a job, doing, I don’t know, stocking shelves
Noyes:It all fits nicely into a cohesive piece and it’s kind of your life mission and of course you want to keep doing the real hands-on work? But this is a part of it too, I mean you’re interested in collecting the story and putting it into some form. It just makes sense to me, I can’t imagine that people down the line wouldn’t be thrilled to see this.
Ferrari:I think that’s a great idea. I just hadn’t thought of that before
Noyes:And I think you just have to say to them in all honesty and it’s absolutely no mystery at all, you know, “Well, I’m an artist, a craftsman and etc. You know that because you’ve bought this archive and I very much want to do this, but I cannot do it alone. If there’s any possibility of your own” Well, you’re basically asking them to help fund you
Noyes:But oh my god they must fund bazillion of things but clearly this is something they’ve already made a commitment to
Ferrari:Right, yes. That’s a very interesting idea. If I start working on a proposal, may I run it by you at some point?
Noyes:But do know that I’ll say, “This sounds terrific but I don’t really have a clue what a proposal looks like” But I can ask my neighbor, I’m thinking of Suzanne at the museum and she probably writes proposals and she receives proposals
Ferrari:That would be wonderful
Noyes: Let’s see what she has to say
Ferrari:I’d appreciate that because I need to branch out and talk to people like that who know the little itty bitty things some place like Harvard would want to see or require that I may not just know intuitively so I think I should expand and reach out for knowledge and help wherever I can, I would very much appreciate that. Do you need me to write it first and then show it to her or do you want to get advice from her first?
Noyes:Well, I’ll just talk to her. I know she’s pretty busy with this next while with the museum stuff and all, she said there’s an opening and some stuff going on, he always has. Well she works but I could have a brief conversation with her about this and you know you’re working on this thing. It might not happen in the next week or so, but it’s going to happen. Just send me whatever you want when you want it. That’s our first step, there’s other folks you’d know, maybe and I’ll think on it too.
Ferrari:Okay, a rough draft, great. Excellent. I will do that. Thank you. Thank you for the idea.
Noyes:I said I’m an idea person, don’t ask me to implement anything
Ferrari:That’s okay. That’s important.
Noyes:Yes it is!