Juan Pascoe & Taller Martín Pescador
Born in Chicago in 1946, Juan Nicanor Pascoe was educated in the United States, while spending vacations at his father’s home in the Mixcoac section of Mexico City. He began to learn the art of letterpress printing at the age of 24 as an apprentice to Harry Duncan at the Cummington Press in West Branch, Iowa. When Pascoe moved full-time to Mexico in 1973, he set up a print shop with a renovated nineteenth-century R. Hoe Washington handpress and some cases of Garamont and Goudy types. In 1975, Pascoe established his own imprint, its name, the Taller Martín Pescador (Kingfisher Workshop), suggested by the writer Roberto Bolaño.

From the beginning, Pascoe set all the type by hand, inked and printed each page, and personally sewed each quire into simple paper covers. As his reputation grew, the projects became more elaborate and he took on assistants, but the technology remained the same. Authors published at the press include some of the major names in Latin American literature such as Octavio Paz, Gabriel García Márquez, Efraín Huerta, Tomás Segovia,  Roberto Bolaño, José Luis Rivas, Carmen Boullosa, Alfonso D’Aquino, Gilberto Gutiérrez and Francisco Segovia.

His printing of John Ridland’s Modern English translation of the anonymous Middle English classic, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, began as a desire to have something in English to present at the Codex conference on fine printing in 2010. In his own words, “its making has been a slow pleasure.” As he explains the “inner workings” of the book, he sketches the historical context of its appearing

… a century and a quarter after the Kelmscott Press edition of The Canterbury Tales, which book set off the great modern revival of  typography —the end of which we are possibly living: not because hand-set typography has lost its way, not because hand presses are difficult to find, not even because the buyers now prefer to purchase the multi-media anti-book gadgets upon which the "new" epoch of reading is supposed to be based, but because the machines which cast metal type are heading towards their centenary: and the making of type is complex, hot, much movement of many tiny pieces which will eventually break or meltdown. The day is coming when the casters will give out and type will be impossible to come by —although the occasional mad-man will wish to cut and cast type by hand in the manner of Enrico Martínez— and without type to set, our art —according to the ideas of the mad-man who is addressing you— is sunk.

In 2011 Pascoe was awarded the prestigious Premio Eréndira in recognition of his contributions to the arts and culture of
the state of Michoacán, Mexico. He also is devoted to preserving and performing the music native native to the Gulf Coast of Veracruz where the mixture of native, Spanish and African populations made for an engaging, lively, rich music called
son jarocho.
Juan Nicanor Pascoe, Mexico City, January 16, 1973
(rollover) Juan Nicanor Pascoe, Tacámbaro, Michoacán, 2006