About 2 weeks ago, Alan & I had our first workshop class together, learning letterpress at New North Press. There was a small group of all of us together, Alan & I got super lost and were a tad late, none the less we weren’t the only ones so the class didnt start till we were all together & accounted for! We all had to make a sentence each based about the Olympics, without using the word or any other copyright term, so this was a task i was more than familiar with.
We were then let loose in the studio to pick the typefaces of our choice, which was so much fun scavenging around, turns out since most letterpress blocks are found & collected now days, there tends to be missing letters & characters, which adds to the challenge at hand. The terms Alan & I picked were “Victory for Britain” & “The heart of the games is in the perfection on the athlete”. I also stopped to play with some other blocks while we were searching for ones that had enough characters, I love this typeface for V&Tree!
We zipped around the studio together, searching for the right type & spacing blocks. Letterpress is a really interesting process, the sentence you make has to fit in the tray, the biggest word then becomes the mark for where all the other characters must fit between, words that are too small have to be padded out with lead blocks and fit to the middle of the biggest word, everything has to fit tightly together to then be put for printing. The ink is really thick and you have to coat everything thinly to prevent blots, the machine is really tough to pull which then creates your print to be proofed, sometimes its hard to tell before hand if characters are backwards or upside down ^_^“
Soon it was lunch time and as Alan and i were prepared to get lost and find a cafe for an hour, they ended up providing lunch for the team, which was such a pleasant surprise! We all tucked into our grub and enjoyed the break like a little family.