Today I visited with Tom Leech and his assistant James Bourland at the Palace Press, also known as The Palace Print Shop & Bindery, located in the courtyard of the Palace of the Governors. I’d been there years ago, but everything has changed. The reconfigured print shop now houses, among several recreated print shops, a recreation of Gustave Baumann’s studio, including his original press and inks. This was especially interesting to me because among the projects I’m planning as Poet Laureate is an exhibit, talk, and reading at the New Mexico History Museum on the history of poetry in Santa Fe. Baumann, of course, was one of a group of artists, writers, and poets who became central to Santa Fe’s cultural life.
One of the pleasures, I’m discovering, of being Santa Fe’s Poet Laureate, is that I’m being dragged into a more public life, into the communal life of the city. And I’m enjoying it. Twenty years ago, I moved here in large part to have access to the arts, to music, to art films, and to readings. But the workaday world (especially when one loves their work—just a little too much, as I do) and the inertia of that have caused me to miss much of the cultural life I came here to find. So walking through the print shop with Tom was a revelation; he’s produced absolutely gorgeous work that I totally missed—broadsides, posters, chapbooks, folios . . . All beautifully printed, letter pressed, often on handmade papers. If you have not visited his shop at the Palace of the Governors, do so. Right now. Before the inertia takes over.
Here’s the web site for the Palace Print Shop & Bindery:
And here’s an interview with Thomas Leech: