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It's a Small World in the Print Industry

(June/July 2017) posted on Tue Aug 01, 2017

Coincidence is a funny reminder that the best part of the job is the people.


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By Andy MacDougall

I recently had a “full circle” moment with a fellow I had never met before – or so I thought. But it turns out our paths had almost crossed any number of times. This phenomenon probably happens to people in many occupations, but I know from experience that in the graphic trades, it happens all the time.

When we “met,” this guy, Ernst Vegt, handed me a mailer and handwritten letter I sent him over 20 years ago, when I was flogging some of the first inkjet film available in Canada. I had forgotten the piece, and looking at the prices made me laugh out loud – here was one instance where costs have dropped by half.

The really strange thing to me was our recent reintroduction. It came through my daughter, Naomi, the book designer. Turns out Ernst, who ran a high-end scanning and separation company down in the Vancouver area, photographed and scanned artwork and photos for many of the books she worked on, and he knew her and her work. When she mentioned growing up on Vancouver Island and her dad being a screen printer, Vegt put two and two together and said, “Aha – Mr. Silkscreen.”



Naomi sent us a mutual note and told me I had to meet Ernst, who had recently moved to our Comox Valley community, far from the big city. So we made contact by email, and he came in to see me last week. This is where the circle starts to get filled in.

Some of you may know I work at a place called Wachiay Studio. It’s part of Wachiay Friendship Centre. The center provides a range of services for urban aboriginal people and their families in our community, from legal, health, and housing assistance to early childhood, preschool, and afterschool programs for kids and parents; dry food and hot lunch programs; elders’ lunches; and more.

We run a social enterprise screen shop that earns money for the center, provides training in graphics, printing, and audio-visual media to native youth, and helps create small screen printing businesses. Although focused on the needs of First Nations, Inuit, and Metis people, it is open to all. It’s a really welcoming place – Wachiay means “welcome” in the Cree language.


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