Feb 21, 2012
“PRINTING, ILLUSTRATION, TYPE DESIGN, typefounding, type engraving, bookbinding, graphic design, stone cutting and digital type design are things that have occupied me for over seventy years, and do to this day. Excepting the bit of letter cutting in stone, these occupations have all put dinner on the table; but it has been my good fortune to have loved the work.”
This is how Jim Rimmer (1934-2010) starts off his Pie Tree Press, Memories from the Composing Room Floor (Gaspereau Press, 2008)
Rimmer was a mainstay of the letterpress/private press community in Vancouver for much of the past 50 years. Trained as a commercial compositor in the 1950s, his aesthetic taste, artistic talent and mechanical know-how combined to produce a long, significant career as a graphic artist, printer, type designer and caster. Despite the many fonts he designed, engraved and cast, despite his beautiful linocuts, and despite the fact that in 2004 he completed the first engraving and casting of Carl Dair's Cartier face in metal, Jim is remembered most of all for love.
The love of a business that he was passionate about; and the love that he instilled in so many, for books, the printed word, and the letterpress printing process.
An archive of material from the last decade of Jim's work is held by the Special Collections Library at Simon Fraser University in Burnaby, B.C. I met there recently with Eric Swanick, Head of the Library, to talk about Jim Rimmer.