Anik See portet

Anik See rookie

Fox Run Press

Slightly off-kilter...

Dordrecht, Netherlands

How long have you been printing?

2002 - I no longer have a shop though.

Describe your first encounter with letterpress

I was at a writing residency near Minneapolis. One of the other residents had to go into the city and said I should come with her to check out the Book Arts Centre. I wandered into the basement, where there was a whole printing studio - presses, typecases, paper cutters. I had no idea what I was looking at or what it was for. I pulled open a type drawer and pulled out a letter 'm'. In a flash I understood what needed to be done to print books (in the past) and my brain short-circuited. Back at the residency, I discovered that a printer rented a space there and I dropped by one day to see how it all worked. He told me I should come back to Minnesota for a month when I had time, to help and learn. So I did.

Where did you learn?

From many people. The first was Scott King, who owned Red Dragonfly Press. He was the one who told me to come help him. He printed broadsides and small books - beautiful ones - and it was from him that I learned the basics (setting type, proportion, printing on a Vandercook), but also that beautiful design can transform text. Gaylord Schanilec was a friend and we visited him one day, which further opened my mind. I left Minnesota with a Chandler and Price Pilot press and never looked back.
Then I met Jan and Crispin Elsted in Mission, BC. They also welcomed me into the studio and I would come and help them set type for a couple of weeks here and there, when I had time and they needed a hand. I mostly helped Crispin, who taught me about setting larger pages, but spent a lot of time watching Jan operating the big Albion press, too.

Who was your most influential teacher?

Tough one. I think it would have to be Scott though. He was at once free and meticulous in what he printed, and I think if I had learned from a more traditional printer, I might never have learned to be bold, or try different things.

What super power would you like to have?


What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty, and caring enough to check in every now and then. As an expat, that means a lot.

When do your best ideas occur to you?

On walks, bike rides, or in the middle of the night. Basically: when my brain is turned off.

If you were to die and come back as a typeface, which would it be?

Deepdene - long and thin and slightly off-kilter...

What tool do you use more often than any other?

A composing stick. I love setting type, and when I sold all my printing equipment, I kept my stick.

What books are currently on your nightstand?

Birnham Wood, by Eleanor Catton
Recollections of my Non-Existence, by Rebecca Solnit
Antarctica, by Claire Keegan
American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin, by Terrance Hayes
Burn Man, by Mark Anthony Jarman
The Chandelier, by Clarice Lispector

If you could study with any printer throughout history, who would it be?

Gaylord Schanilec. It seems to me that what he does is take something raw and create something so refined out of it that it surreptitiously adds something to our understanding of it.

If you have your own shop, what equipment do you own?

I don't anymore, but I used to own a Chandler and Price Pilot, as well as a C&P 8x12 platen press, which had to be barged up the west coast of Canada, and rolled down a pathway on large dowels to the cabin I was living in at the time.

If you could change one thing about your shop, what would it be?

I'd love to have one again!

When and where are you the happiest?

On the road, seeing something new; smelling the ink of a print studio; at the end of a day when writing worked; doing something spontaneous with my family.

What is your greatest fear/worry?

That we are careering toward disaster - whether political or environmental - and that we could have prevented it, but not enough of us could be bothered to get up off the couch.

What do you think is useful about what you make?

I think it's important to show that time spent with something - that considering design, typeface, colour, page composition - matters, in the end. And that there's a lot of writing out there that deserves that attention, even if (especially if) it's not bestseller material.

What’s your day job?

I write, I teach journalism, storytelling and media production, and I make audio documentaries.