Letter Press Workshop

We had a workshop where we were shown how to use the letterpress machine, I was in group Underware and had to chose a sentence or phrase that represents Underware, my sentence was ‘they publish about type’. Underware is a type foundry that focuses on humanist and script style fonts.  In the workshop we learnt how letter pressing was an old way of being able to print on big scale and used for mass production i.e. newspapers. I found it surprising how heavy a full letter press can be and interesting how when they had finished printing with the template they would melt it down and recycle it to print something else.

Tom the instructor went through the machines and materials that we would be using to create our letterpresses. We began by choosing a typeface and fitting it in a cage making sure the sentence was upside down so it would print correctly and assuring that it was tight so it would be able to print well. I then fixed my cage into the letter press and printed onto various types of papers using a dark grey ink and a red ink, I really like the contrast of these two colours against each other. By printing onto different papers you were able to see how your printing would vary depending on the material printed onto but I was also able to overlay the sheets of papers to create different outcomes.

I really enjoyed using the letterpress machine as I think it is such an interesting way of printing as you can see the type coming together and can see the aesthetics qualities of this technique. I will definitely use letterpress again, the preparation is a bit fiddly and time consuming, although when you have prepared your cage it is so quick and simple.



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