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. And the timing couldn't have been better.

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 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 moved back to the city where he operated Hartley & Marks, a Vancouver publishing company that evolved into an editorial service based in Kitsilano. Later he specialized in beautifully bound "blank books."; A 25th-anniversary edition of Cloudburst was released by Hartley & Marks.


Some Hartley & Marks titles are

John Edwards' The Roman Cookery of Apicious: Recipes From the World's Oldest Cookbook (Hartley & Marks, 1984)

Pat Katz' Craft of the Country Cook: Over 1,000 Recipes and Food Ideas from A-Z (Hartley & Marks, 1987)

David Rousseau's Your Home, Your Health and Well-Being (Hartley & Marks, 1987)

Selma Wassermann's The Long Distance Grandmother (Hartley & Marks, 1988, 3rd edition 1990, 4th edition 2001)

A Short History of the Printed Word (Hartley & Marks, 1990) by William Chappell. Revised edition, updated by Robert Bringhurst.

Saul Miller's A Little Relaxation (Hartley & Marks, 1990)

Vera Rosenbluth's Keeping Family Stories Alive (Hartley & Marks, 1990)

Betty Tillotson's Skills for Simple Living (Hartley & Marks, 1991).

Dr. Leora Kuttner's A Child in Pain: How To Help, What To Do (Hartley & Marks, 1996)

Chris Mattocks' The Energy Conserving House (Hartley & Marks, 1996)

Vera Rosenbluth & Susan McDiarmid's Classic Scrapbooking: The Art and Craft of Creating a Book of Memories (Hartley & Marks, 1998).

James Mitchell's The Craft of Modular Post & Beam (Hartley & Marks, 1998)

Abby Ruoff's Making Twig Furniture and Other Household Things (Hartley & Marks, 1999)

Projection Stenciling (Hartley & Marks, 1999)

Robert Morris' Building Boats of Skin & Bones (Hartley & Marks, 2001)

Catherine Johnson's Welcoming Wildlife to the Garden (Hartley & Marks, 2004)

Karen Nordahl & Carl Peterson et al's Fit to Deliver: An Innovative Prenatal and Postpartum Fitness Program (Hartley & Marks, 2005)


The company became more corporate after the departure from the company of Sue Tauber. Here is the official summary of the company's history from its website in 2015:

"Hartley&Marks Group was founded in 1973. Operating under the imprint of Cloudburst press, it began as a publisher of books dedicated to design, sustainable building, alternative health, and craft. The company's passion for typography and design led to the founding of Typeworks, which for two decades remained one of North America's premier sources of typesetting for literary and academic publishers. In 1991, Hartley&Marks began a transition into a broader range of book publishing. While maintaining a focus on publishing regular books, the company introduced Paperblanks, a collection of beautiful notebooks based upon its long history in bookbinding design. With nearly four decades of experience in print publishing and typography, the company is led by passionate professionals who believe the written word matters, and that blank books have a critical role to play in the art of writing. Hartley&Marks Group continues to expand globally, with offices in Canada, the United States, Ireland, Japan and China. In addition to launching Alusi candles in 2012, Hartley&Marks is excited to have launched a new notebook brand, Paper-Oh, in 2014."

[BCBW 2015]