Category Archives: Books

H.A.M.S. – The Holiday Arts Mail-order School

A Brief Timeline for H.A.M.S.

March 2008

FLY Gallery
Month long exhibit promoting the founding of H.A.M.S., the Holiday Arts Mail-order School.
A Correspondence Art Project by noted Hallowe’enologist Professor Derek McCormack, Ian Phillips, an artist, and Miss Candy Cackle of the Ladies Institute.

The launch of H.A.M.S. successfully enrolls painters, sculptors, authors and librarians into it’s Hallowe’en Arts program for the 1936-37 year.

Fly Window

H.A.M.S. recruitment window inviting passersby to sign-up for a correspondence course on the topic of Hallowe’en


H.A.M.S. promotion

H.A.M.S. promotion


YORK logo

October 2011

AGYU, The Art Gallery at York University presents:
the Holiday Art Mail-order School
at the Toronto International Arts Fair

Three years into our project, we invited the public into our open house at The Toronto International Arts Fair. Patrons experienced a replica of our haunted Peterborough classroom and were treated to a display of completed student projects and related ephemera.

Haunted Peterborough, Ont., map

Haunted Peterborough, Ont., map


H.A.M.S. Ouija Board

H.A.M.S. ouija board and planchette


Student projects at H.A.M.S.

Student projects in the H.A.M.S. haunted school house


Ectoplasmom at H.A.M.S.

Ectoplasmom in the entrance to the H.A.M.S. Haunted School House


H.A.M.S. souvenirs

H.A.M.S. souvenirs and multiples


H.A.M.S. student conduct

H.A.M.S. classroom


H.A.M.S. souvenirs and multiples

H.A.M.S. souvenirs and multiples


H.A.M.S. student awards and bone china Jack-o-Lantern clock by student Alexx Boisjoli

H.A.M.S. Haunter of The Year award and glow-in-the-dark bone china Jack-o-Lantern clock by student Alexx Boisjoli


Haunted Peterborough, Ont., map

Haunted Peterborough, Ont., map


The H.A.M.S. correspondence course for the year 1937 is complete. We are very excited to announce the Fall 2016 launch of our H.A.M.S. yearbook,
The Jack o’ Lantern!

H.A.M.S. correspondence lesson books

H.A.M.S. correspondence lesson books

A number of events are planned just in time for Hallowe’en 2016, including a H.A.M.S. yearbook launch party and graduation ceremony. We are also working on plans to attend art book fairs in the Toronto and Peterborough region, where the public can obtain yearbooks and H.A.M.S. multiples. Here is a sneak peek at our soon to be released yearbook:

Faculty of the Holiday Arts Mail-order School, of Peterborough, Ont.

Faculty of the Holiday Arts Mail-order School, of Peterborough, Ont.


A sneak peek at our student gallery

A sneak peek at our student gallery


H.A.M.S. achievement awards

H.A.M.S. achievement awards

Thank-you to everyone who helped us with H.A.M.S. Special thanks to Darryl Bank, Alexx Boisjoli, Emelie Chhangur, Joey Comeau, Grant Heaps, Jacob Korczynski, Michael Maranda, Jason McBride, Mr. and Mrs. McCormack of Peterborough, Ontario, Melissa McCormack, Philip Monk, Christopher Paulin, AGYU The Art Gallery at York University, and Fly Gallery. A very special thank-you to the graduates for all their enthusiasm and hard work — to you the upcoming edition of The Jack o’ Lantern is dedicated!
— Dr. Derek McCormack, Prof. Ian Phillips, Miss Candy Cackle


Freedom to Read Week

It’s Freedom to Read Week, so I thought I’d post my illustrated book cover series.

Probably one of the more famous of fictional books from the cinema

Probably one of the more famous of fictional books, appearing in Rosemary’s Baby. The central illustration is the tanis root pendant that Mia Farrow’s character dropped down a sewer

A fictional press for fictional books. I call it The Cinotext Library.

A Country Made of Ice Cream from The Way We Were

A Country Made of Ice Cream from The Way We Were

Each time I see one of these movies, I am reminded of this idea I’ve had to illustrate the covers of all the fictional books from movies that I like to watch. Here are a couple of pairings of books:

Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and Night of The Iguana

Truman Capote and Tennessee Williams. Breakfast at Tiffany’s and The Night of The Iguana. Of all of these books, Collected Verse Vol. 1, is the only title we don’t actually see in the film, and it’s only mentioned once.

I’ve always hesitated carrying out this project because there are a lot of artists and illustrators who paint and draw old book covers — Harland Miller and Anna Hoyle immediately come to mind. But I concluded my idea is unique enough, if I stick to the cinema. I’ve also really just wanted to do this for such a long time.

Manhattan and Deconstructing Harry

Woody Allen’s Manhattan and Deconstructing Harry

The design is based on old Pelican and Penguin classics, but I’ve changed a few things, notably the colours! These will all be available as limited edition prints, in my Esty shop, in just a few days, sans the 50-cent stickers (did that just for Instagram).

pas de chance at the bookfair!


1093920_608632935824114_930069413_oI’ll be there! with a table full of my wares: pas de chance books, art prints, objects. This is the first book fair I’ve done in about ten years, hoping to see a lot of familiar faces! More info here.

A Death Rarely Exaggerated


A nice surprise to find that a pas de chance book, Drinking Songs by Elissa Joy has been included in an exhibition at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library. A Death Rarely Exaggerated: Canada’s Thriving Small and Fine Press is curated by John Shoesmith and runs May 22nd through August 30th. The library is located at 120 St. George Street, in Toronto. Here’s a video about the show:

Handwriting Analysis: A Collection

A country veterinarian’s journal

A sad tale

The journal of Douglas Young, 1898–99

Thomas Field’s scrapbook, Galt, Ontario

Found in a Calgary bookshop. Sprinkled with four-leaf clovers

The handwriting: H.R.H. Prince Arthur

Money Spent in 1931, by H. Wilbur Schwartz of Wayne County, New York

Pants + spenders + socks for $3.68! A bushed of turnips for 10 cents!

I picked up this book, attracted by the handwriting throughout in the margins:

The Hall of Hellingsley Volume III, by Sir Samuel Egerton Brydges, published in 1821

“This book is a mere parcel of balderdash”

Love Letters: Lawrence and Louise

Dearest Louise

Dearest Lawrence

Dearest Louise

Dearest Lawrence

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