Canada has had a flourishing private press movement since the 1930s. The Fisher has attempted to collect as many of the books, pamphlets and broadsides issued by these presses as possible - as a result, the library has accumulated one of the most significant small and fine press collections in the country.
While there are numerous publishers to draw upon from the Fisher collections, we want to highlight two outstanding small press publishers: Ontario's Shanty Bay Press and British Columbia's Barbarian Press.
Shanty Bay was established in 1996 as a private press devoted to publishing livres d'artistes. The press is a partnership between Janis Butler, who does the typesetting, presswork and bindings, and Walter Bachinski, who illustrates the books. The editorial, design and publishing decisions are shared. An example of its work is its book Circus: five poems on the circus, a spectacular example of one its hand-printed books. Published in an edition of sixty copies in 2002, it contains poems on circuses by D.H. Lawrence, Gwendolyn MacEwen, Rainer Maria Rilke, P.K. Page and Kenneth Koch, each accompanied by a pochoir - a highly refined stenciling technique.
Barbarian Press was co-founded and is run by Crispin and Jan Elsted out of their farmhouse in Mission, BC. From their home, they produce some of the finest handcrafted, illustrated books in the world. Since its publication in 1995 of the acclaimed and wildly successful Endgrain: Contemporary Wood Engraving in North America, Barbarian has specialized in books featuring wood engravings. It initiated a series of books called Endgrain Editions, each of which showcases the work of a single engraver. A fine example of its craftsmenship is Peter Lazarov: a selection of engravings (Endgrain Editions 3), published in 2003, containing approximately fifty engravings from the Bulgarian artist (please see image below). Barbarian continues to produce stunningly beautiful books, including a recent masterpiece The Play of Pericles, illustrated with woodcuts by British artist Simon Brett.