MARKS, Vic




Author Tags: Essentials 2010, Outdoors

QUICK REFERENCE ENTRY:

To paraphrase Joni Mitchell, “We were stardust, we were golden. And we had to get ourselves back to the garden.” And so a young Mayne Islander named Vic Marks, with his press headquarters in Brackendale, produced a practical hippie bible for rural living, Cloudburst: A Handbook of Rural Skills and Technology (1973). A former editor of B.C. Access Catalogue, Marks provided a no-nonsense guide for city dwellers who might wish to try remote, back-to-the-land living.

According to a 1975 book review in the Village Voice, “It is a charming encyclopedia that tells you how to build a 16-foot personal dome, a compost shredder, a chicken house, a juice press, a sauna, a root cellar . . . and how to cure and smoke fish, build beehives, split shakes, and on and on.” Cloudburst has reputedly sold more than 100,000 copies. Revised versions led to Marks editing Cloudburst 1 & 2: Handbook of Rural Skills and Technology (1977), from Cloudburst Press in Seattle. Again, there were detailed illustrations for building a loom, a solar roof, a wood-fired kiln, an insulated chimney, a hand-operated washing machine, a treadle-operated wood lathe, sod housing, a sunpit greenhouse, a composter toilet, a fruit dryer, a sod barn, a rock stove, a honey extractor, a carding machine, a hay and leaf baler, a scroll saw, a spinning wheel and more.

Marks’ Cloudburst imprint followed up with a natural foods cookbook and two small-format illustrated food guides, Foraging for Edible Wild Mushrooms and Poisonous and Hallucinogenic Mushrooms. Back-to-the-lander Marks has long since moved back to the city where he operated Hartley & Marks, a Vancouver publishing company that evolved into an editorial service based in Kitsilano. He now specializes in beautifully bound “blank books.” A 25th-anniversary edition of Cloudburst was released by Hartley & Marks.


FULL ENTRY:

We were stardust. We were golden. And we were supposed to get ourselves back to the garden. So a young man on Mayne Island, with his press headquarters in Brackendale, produced a practical hippie bible for rural living, Cloudburst: A Handbook of Rural Skills and Technology (1973), and it has reputedly sold more than 100,000 copies ever since. As a former editor of B.C. Access Catalogue, Marks provided a no-nonsense guide for city dwellers who might wish to try remote, back-to-land living. The paperback sold for $4.25. According to a 1975 book review in The Village Voice, “It is a charming encyclopedia that tells you how to build a 16-foot personal dome, a compost shredder, a chicken house, a juice press, a sauna, a root cellar… and how to cure and smoke fish, build beehives, split shakes, and on and on.” Vic Marks’ Cloudburst imprint followed with a natural foods cookbook and two, small-format, illustrated food guides, Foraging for Edible Wild Mushrooms and Poisonous and Hallucinogenic Mushrooms. Revised versions led to Marks editing Cloudburst 1 & 2. Handbook of Rural Skills and Technology (1977), from Cloudburst Press in Seattle. Again, there were detailed illustrations for building a loom, a solar roof, a wood fired kiln, an insulated chimney, a hand-operated washing machine, a treadle-operated wood lathe, sod housing, a sunpit greenhouse; a composter toilet, a fruit dryer, a sod barn, a rock stove, a honey extractor, a carding machine, a hay and leaf baler, a scroll saw and a spinning wheel, etc. Back-to-the-lander Vic Marks has long since moved back to the city and formed Hartley & Marks, a B.C. publishing company that evolved into an editorial service in Kitsilano. A 25th anniversary edition of Cloudburst was released by Hartley & Marks.

[BCBW 2010]