Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Learning Letterpress

Just before we headed off, Barry and I spent the day with a few representatives of the Warwick Historical Society who have been gifted the massive task of getting the old Warwick Daily Newspaper Press back and working. Not all of it by any means; but having saved the equipment, they would like to be able to use some of it.

Warwick is about 3-4 hours' drive away from Maleny so it was quite the trek for them.

We packed a lot in as we tried to teach the basics of setting type by hand, but also share with them some of the tricks of the trade about setting up a press and studio working space. Things we have learned like labelling, sorting, categorising etc. In the morning we set about learning about tools and equipment and setting metal type.

We discussed how metal type ranges from very small (8pt here) to large (72pt). Such a contrast!

We also had a 'teachable moment' when we were proofing a postcard - the s wasn't printing properly.  So we had a look and altho its hard to see; the piece of type had clearly been damaged and  couldn't pick up ink where it had been a bit flattened.

After lunch we printed the metal type on postcards on a platen press, (no photos sorry!) then set up wood type and printed it on A4 pages on a proofing press.

Lots was learned and noted.

I liked the playfulness of this; the bright colours, the random type, the variation in bottom and top lines and the touch of gold powder at the end. It evoked a carnival atmosphere for sure!

This was a tricky lock-up but B managed it beautifully alongside the maker.

Who also decided to have a play with different colours and diagonal rolling.

Of course I loved the minimalist nature of this one With the word set in the middle of an A4 page it looked stunning. When we did a quick postcard sized print it looked surprisingly different. Both good, and headed to the studio of the maker as an elegant, thoughtful, reminder.

It was a big day all round, but a truly satisfying one.

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