Archives for the month of: August, 2014

Forfeits form Forfeits print
The Print Project

I spent a happy five days last week at The Print Project, Shipley, West Yorkshire, on the Summer 2014 Letterpress Printing Workshop.

The last time I did any letterpress printing was in about 1980 or ’81 at Wolverhampton Polytechnic.

The week was great and really productive. After an overiew of  what the Print Project had to offer and an introduction to the basics by Nick we were left to get on with it with Nick offering help, guidance and instruction as we worked on typesetting (wood and metal) and printing while drinking gallons of tea.

I used text from my New Opportunities Award project for content and made a small ‘8 page right-angle fold’ (with a cut) publication, letterpress printed with a wood type on the front (Latin 18pt Bold Condensed) with a wood ornament and a little bit of metal type. And on the back I cast hotmetal 14pt Record Gothic Bold for the headings and 12 and 10pt Garamond for the body copy. Forgot to make a note of the leading (space between between the lines of type).

The hotmetal was cast using the Ludlow hotmetal typecasting system. The type matrices or mats (for casting) are assembled in a stick (below, where you can see the line ‘The Factory Inquiry Commission, 1833.’) which is then slotted into the machine. In the second photo you can see the stick after the type has been cast. Molten lead is fired into the mat and a metal slug with the line of type ready for composing and printing is pushed out of the machine (the third photo).

One of the hardest parts of the week was having to work without a computer.

The hands-on and physical nature of letterpress printing meant I had to work more instinctively, with an idea of what something might look like, because other than sketching it, I couldn’t visualise it precisely as I would do normally with InDesign. The placement of the type on the paper was largerly a process of trial and error as you are working with physical mechanical elements that must be lined up, measured, nudged, and realigned to get – sometimes – only close to what was originally planned.

Galley LudlowSlugsFolded insideFolded outside

The Print Project is beside the Leeds and Liverpool Canal which runs through Shipley. I wallked alongside it everyday to and from my B&B at Baildon and these last three images are of other lettering examples from beside the the towpath.

Graff 1 Saltaire AA Graff 2 JJ Rousseau Graff 3 Wild the Cities

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DRO Parcel

Derbyshire Record Office

A couple of weeks ago I made my first visit to the Derbyshire Record Office in Matlock for my New Opportunities Award (NOA) project. The NOA is for a collaborative project with Strutt’s North Mill Belper to make a series of moving image works that respond to the early history of the site, that will be installed in the museum for Easter 2015.

This intriguing parcel above was part of a number of items described in the online catalogue as ‘Watches, trinkets and other items, belonging to deceased lunatics with no known next-of-kin. Also a snuff box presented to Belper Union by Jack Strutt esq.’.

It proved to be a sad little collection of poor broken pocket watches and rings, which were all individually wrapped and stored in the snuff box.

The objects are from the Belper Union Workhouse, now the Babington Hospital, and in 1946 they were handed to the local authority when the building was transfered to ‘the ministry of Health under the National Health Service Act 1946’.

I’m looking for materials that capture elements of the day to day working lives of the people who were employed by the Strutts and this is clearly at a bit of a tangent to the project, but there is so little material available that speaks of the lives of those people, that I wanted to look at it, even if I can’t use it.

DRO Watch

DRO Ring

Thank you to the Derbyshire Record Office for permission to publish these images. The document reference number for all items is D19/CW/12/16.