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propellerwork

By Rachael Wilson

O

n a basic level, books are containers for culture. At least that’s what the polychrome poster on the back wall of the Container Corps workshop proclaims. Beside this poster, two others—similarly striated in hot pink, yellow, and blue, and emblazoned with Gary Robbins’ own Container Corps font—remind me just a little of the warm but stern library posters of my childhood, which exhorted me to “Read” or to “Go Anywhere...With a Book.” In the terse diction of political slogans, the signs at Container Corps half-opine and half-implore: “Books Are Containers For Culture,” “Print Still Matters,” and “Cultivate a Local Canon.” The space is a small storefront in North Portland, Oregon, and you might easily overlook it for the minimalist aesthetics of one white neon

sign in the shape of the press’s logo—a trapezoid—and the thin lettering on the window that reads “Publishing Workshop and Gallery & Store.” Inside, the room is partitioned exactly so. The front half houses a modest shelf of publications and “xylobooks”—journals made from salvaged hardwoods with guts that can be replaced in-house when needed—ephemera, tapes from Eggy Records, and more publications. On the walls hang pieces from Alisha Wessler’s book Der Struwwelpeter, and an illustrated edition of cautionary children’s verses penned by German psychiatrist Heinrich Hoffmann in 1845. This is the most recent project coming out of Container Corps. To the back, in a space adjoined to the gallery/storefront (looking something like an open

Propeller 2.4  

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