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Barry Moser - Booksmith
Posted: 08/28/2006

Who:
Barry Moser

What do you do:
Booksmith

Where do you work:
Western Massachusetts

When did you realize you wanted to be a booksmith:
I never did, actually. I more or less segued into it: I was trained as a painter (oils), but was always fascinated with prints, especially woodcuts and etchings. After college I followed that fascination on my own and taught myself how to make woodcuts, etchings, and eventually wood engravings, my favored medium… So it was a natural, if not easy, jump from wood engraving to bookmaking, which, as I mentioned before, was largely a matter of studying fine typography, learning to set type by hand, learning and understanding how to design books, learning all the various qualities of paper and book binding, and how to run a printing press.

How would you advise others:
The most important values of all are dedication, determination, indefatigable energy, a tough hide that can withstand rejections, and perhaps most important of all: a willingness to fail… Then, of course, study. And study well. Study the history of printing and the history of literature. Read, Read. Read. Find a print shop somewhere and learn how to set type by hand, then learn to set it by computer. Let your hands learn it first.