What’s a Wayzgoose?
This year I’ve had the absolute pleasure of working with a brilliant team of designers, artists and organizers, to start planning an art festival for downtown Bremerton. Yup, that’s right – we’re planning a big arts festival for our little city!
If you’ve never heard of a wayzgoose, you’re not alone. It’s a strange word, hailing from 15th century Germany, where Gutenberg worked on the first printed book in the western world. Once referring to a harvest meal for the print shop workers, today a wazygoose is a festival celebrating all things printerly, featuring letterpress artists but not exclusively, where printers can share their work with the public.
A highlight of local wayzgeese (wayzgooses?) is a steamroller smack down event, where linoleum sheets carved by artists are inked up, laid on the street under paper and plywood, and then someone “prints” the lino carving onto the paper by driving a steamroller over them. It’s whacky and wild, and super fun to watch! You can watch a video of our board members helping out at the Tacoma Wayzgoose at King’s Books this past spring. We want to bring this kind of excitement about art and printing to Bremerton!
And although a weekend festival would be fabulous on its own, we’ve decided to include a week long design and art conference as part of the lead up to this event. We’re proud to be hosting the Ladies of Letterpress annual conference! Workshops will include shop tours to regional letterpress studios, workshops, films, meals, lectures and panels. We’ll take over spaces at Olympic College and the Kitsap Convention Center, the Roxy, Admiral, Dragonfly and SeeFilm theaters, and more. We have local folks thrilled to open their homes to host printers, artists and speakers from around the country.
Just sitting around the table with the fine folks on our board has been a dream come true. We’ve already developed a name and logo, presented in front of the City and other local funding organizations, received a $20k grant, and laid out our marketing plan for the coming months. In a couple week’s we’ll be ready to start accepting volunteers applications, and I hope you’ll consider joining us.
We’ve split the work into a few committees, from marketing and design, to fundraising and event planning. The event will be held at the end of next summer, so we have plenty of time to plan, market and organize. If you have skills and connections you’d like to put to work with us, please stop by my shop or check out the Wayzgoose Kitsap website anytime.
Bremerton is on the verge of going through some big changes. Let’s work together to make sure art and culture are central to the community we become.