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Minds of the Press, Vol. 3

Updated: Nov 30, 2022

Tony Geer of Conversation Tree Press

Tony Geer is well known as a collector and friend to many in the small press community, but has more recently set out to start his own imprint called Conversation Tree Press. His passion and commitment to quality of materials, design, and running his business are clear to anyone who has read anything he has produced regarding the press so far. The focus of CTP will be on science fiction, fantasy, weird fiction, and contemporary fiction. His first title, Peter Pan, will be released to preorder on October 26th and his next two titles are already lined up and in progress currently. We are very excited to get to hear more about the direction of Conversation Tree Press and Tony's vision for the future.

Q: This press is a brand-new venture for you, but the inception of what we now know as Conversation Tree Press began years ago. Can you tell us a little more about how it transitioned from a dream to now having prototypes of your first book in hand? Was there a distinct moment you realized that Conversation Tree Press could actually be a reality?

I had my first experience printing letterpress about seven years ago when my now-wife bought me a printing lesson at a little studio as a present. Having enjoyed the workshop a great deal, we ended up printing our wedding invitations ourselves there a few weeks later. Hoping to do more printing, I looked into acquiring a tabletop press but even something as relatively small as that would not work in the condo we were living in at the time.

Lettered State of Peter Pan

Fast forward to a few years later, and a few big things happened all within the space of less than twelve months: a newborn baby, a move to a new city, a job left behind, and the start of the pandemic. With more space at our new home, I started thinking more seriously about printing again, and then found out that Don Black, the only letterpress equipment dealer in Ontario, was about to close his business. I needed to ensure I picked up everything I would need to print while building my workshop quickly, or as quickly as one could during a pandemic.

Luckily, I had the help of a good friend, Michael Torosian at Lumiere Press in Toronto, to help guide me, and together we selected everything needed to put together a letterpress workshop well-equipped for hand printing before Don closed up shop.

As I started learning to print, I realized how much I enjoyed it and how little fulfillment I found in my previous career as a project manager. Adding a second child to the mix also had a funny way of reminding me of how valuable time is and how quickly it goes by. With my wife’s blessing, I decided to pursue printing and publishing full time, and from that point on it was very real.

One of my presses – the cylinder proofing press – is perfect for applying even pressure across a wide area, as you need when printing a book, but it’s hand cranked so only suitable for shorter runs. Realizing that some of the books I hoped to make would require larger runs than I could do on my own, I started exploring the best way to make that happen.

Having been a collector for much longer than I’ve been a printer (see The Book Blog []), I already knew of many private presses, printers and binders. Knowing that Pat Randle at Nomad Letterpress, Phil Abel at Hand & Eye, and Paul Kidson’s team at Ludlow Bookbinders all did impeccable work, they were my first choice. I was happy to find out they were also very fine people who were willing to answer any questions and share their knowledge.