Letterpress

 

Hands on printing with an eye on tradition

My father was a letterpress printer for the town many moons ago….Then in came digital printing and the cases of type were melted down, wooden blocks burnt and the machines consigned to the scrap heap.

I acquired a tiny printing press at a local sale, it had been used by a caravan company to print business cards and stored away in an attic. It came with type face and all tools required to make a finished printed product. It was love at first sight!

The first thing that strikes you is that it is so tactile, tiny metal letters you have to read upside down and back to front. Spaces between letters and lines of text all have to be planned and created using nothing more than pieces of metal wood and at times cardboard.

Inks shiny and syrupy need to be mixed, worked and blended with spatulas and applied in precise amounts to the press. It has an aroma that for me is comforting, takes me back in time.

Adana presses are all hand controlled which work with a simple but ingenious  mechanism. The reassuring noise that is emitted is of classic good design, they are a joy to use.

There is something magical about making that first impression. I love using printing blocks that have lain dormant and putting them back to work It is always magical.