Letterpress printer

Me at Hand & Eye Letterpress in March, photo by Rosa De Carlo.

Here is something I found on my computer. It comes at a good time to re-read it. I wrote it as a career plan for my final project for my degree back in April. Take a read...

I am going to work in a letterpress workshop, I will learn the craft and skill of printing and the technique and beauty in good typography.

I have done a two week placement at Hand & Eye Letterpress and enjoyed it so much, I have never learnt so much so quickly and easily. I even enjoyed cleaning the windows and dissing (putting away in the correct place) tiny type for hours on end when there was no printing to do.

I spent long days standing up with short breaks and no pay whilst sleeping on a sofa, but I really felt right being there. I like the tactile type, the beautiful prints, the impression of the type on the paper. There is so much to consider all the time, there is always something going slightly wrong or unexpected which needs to be corrected. There is such a sense of achievement when something is completed, and things are completed all the time. There is no panic or stress when things go wrong, I was packing 5000 letterheads to be send to the client when Phil realised one line had been positioned wrong. We threw them in the bin and they had to be printed again, that’s two days work for one days paycheck. But these things happen, letterpress is a risky business and it is part of the process.

I have always been driven by process, and feel that one of my strengths is my interest in learning new processes and techniques constantly. I immerse myself in as much information about something as I can and I try things until I come up with something I like. My passion for traditional print techniques began in the very early days of my degree, and I feel more than ready to get into the world and start really working with print.

I’ve only been away for two days but I already miss the routine, the people and the type. So I think I’ll try and find a press to work in, maybe as an intern, maybe part-time, maybe on a casual basis, maybe in America where the presses are bigger, better and further away.

As it is very hard to find working and busy presses who are able to take on staff or interns I will be looking for jobs and internships in all areas of traditional printmaking, paper and publishing. I have a few ideas, such as London Print Studio who featured in my design investigation are a really interesting charity organisation built on an amazing ethos of community, people and printing. They have internships starting in November and are in the process of installing letterpress equipment.

I dream of having my own letterpress studio filled with tiny metal type and giant wooden lettering and beautiful colour inks and a vast array of paper stock with the radio playing and people dropping by for cups of tea.

1 comment:

kseniya thomas said...

Hi Rose,

I just stumbled across your blog (my google alert brought it up!), and thought I'd let you know about ladies of letterpress, an online network for printers both old and new. There are several members in the UK, so it might be interesting for you as well. Membership is 100% free--you can check out the site at ladiesofletterpress.ning.com.