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Internationally recognized book artist and fine art printer, Gaylord Schanilec is a master of wood engraving and the proprietor of the fine arts press Midnight Paper Sales. His current project, The River, is a study of the 22-mile length of the upper Mississippi River known as Lake Pepin, or Pool Number 4 by the Army Corps of Engineers.
"This widest naturally occurring part of the river was dubbed the 'Lake of Tears' by Louis Hennepin in 1680, inspired by the tears of Indian men whose desire to kill the Frenchman was frustrated by their chief. The lake is home to a broad diversity of life, including, I have read, nearly 80 species of catchable fish.Mayflies of the Driftless Region (MPS 2005) established a direction in my work that my wife calls 'playful' science: for a mayfly to be included in the book, I had to catch one. Sylvæ (MPS 2007), a study of the trees in our 20-acre Wisconsin wood, continues in the direction of natural science, and adds the dimension of human history. This river, it seems to me, is the ultimate territory. I view myself as something of a modern day natural philosopher swimming in the wake of Darwin, or Thoreau. Of course there are no new species to be discovered, and I am no Henry David Thoreau, but for me this place, at this time, is as interesting as can be." -Gaylord Schanilec