Tuesday, 10 September 2013

DIY Fantastic: Letterpress Course - Part II

As promised, here we have Part II of our epic letterpress course. And in due course I'm sure we'll continue with a part III, IV, V etc as we progress with our training and projects! So far we'd shared the key steps in preparing the type and locking it up in the press ready to print. So next we shall share a bit more of the actual printing process and the fruits of our labours!

This is the studio in East London, the home and base for the London Book Arts Centre. It's a functional but funky mix of essentials, storage and antique printing presses!

The centre has a wide range of presses, you can see some of them in action below. I would love to give you a dappled history of the various presses at the centre, but I'm afraid I don't know enough of their history (yet)! You'll just have to arrange a visit yourself instead. :)

In addition to the working presses they also have a number of these beauties dotted around. I wonder if they are still in working order, but I don't care either way - they are magnificent sculptures and works of art in themselves!

Rolls and rolls of colourful bookbinding canvas...

The first go on the printing press, that look of concentration on my face. Ha, my pesky tongue is always a clear giveaway!!

And finally, below is the result of my first attempt, yeay! I rather like the effect, the textures and variations in density it created give it lots of character! :) But it needed some tweaking to perfect the quality of the printing to the highest standard, aherm!

Making progress in the right direction...

Having a little inspection...

And here's the final print. You can see that it still has a lot of texture, as a result of the age and level of use of the wooden type, but I love that! All I need now is a photo frame so I can get this bad boy up on the wall, how exciting!

And now here's Izzy finishing the locking up of her type in the press and looking very happy about it! :p

And her prints filling up the drying rack...

These girls used a slightly different printing press and used individual small rollers to apply the ink directly to the type. The results of this vibrant hot orange were awesome and the hand rolling enables a few more fancy techniques such as a gradient of colour to be applied.

Finally, the ever so slightly less glamorous (but nonetheless essential) process of cleaning up the presses at the end of the evening. I think we were using baby oil as the cleaning fluid, cheap and effective! :)

Tah-dah! Looking incredibly pleased and proud! :p

Believe it or not, we've already been back to LCBA to add another string to our bow! This time we learnt all about the art of foil embossing so we'll share a few peeks on this next time round. Anyone else developing an addiction to letterpressing?! Welcome to Letterpressers Anonymous, lets share stories!

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