Monday, 7 December 2009

Letterpressing (pt.1)

Today has been a day of ink stained fingers. This morning i coated screens in time for printing on wednesday then headed down to the fine art print making facilities with the one and only Tony Moore so we could learn to use the old letterpress machine and have some fun. It is safe to say that we learned, and we had fun.

Tony psyches himseful up for what will no doubt be a highly educational and probably haphazard afternoon. Also please note the woman in red in the background, i dont know her name but she is awesome. She told us all about old fashioned colour photocopiers and we bonded over 35mm film. She later told me that i should start an analog revolution. I just might lady, i just might.

It is actually law that all fine art printing facilities and letterpress studios must have this poster displayed on the wall. Due to the painstaking nature and constant frustrating of hand setting moveable type many old and traditional typesetters would turn to alcohol for help. The ones who resisted the booze often went totally insane.

Typography fact: Upper case and lower case letters are called so because back when letterpress was the primary method of printing type, the metal letters were kept in seperate cases (fancy trays) the capital letters being in the 'upper' case and and the small letters being in the 'lower' case. Typography irony: The cases in this facility contained both upper and lower case letters.

Typography fact: "leading" (or linespacing to non-typographers) is called so because of the strips of lead that were used to separate the lines of type when creating the layout of the design. Typography irony: These ones are infact made of wood. They also double up as handy little tools (also called 'furniture') which allow you to keep the type in place before you print.

Applying the delicious red ink. One of the best parts of the printing process (although to be honest, there were few parts which werent a total joy).

To be continued!

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