LATEST LETTERPRESS LARKS

As usual, I've been neglecting the blog in favour of making recently and I've got fed up of looking at the picture of the elephant shit so it's time to update on recent projects. First up was a poster for a mate whose father-in-law was about to have a 90th birthday party and thought some traditional vintage style posters would be a good thing to send out instead of the usual invites.

Then there's the local Flower and Produce Show in our town where they like to pretend to take it all very seriously as they judge the size of each other's melons and look for runny albumens in the hen-laid eggs but it's really all very tongue-in-cheek and therefore time to break out the wood type and even try my hand at linocuts and come up with a striking poster for the event. Limited edition copies will be sold in aid of Save The Children on the day.

Another mate runs a very successful singing and community choir business and as part of this does a thing called Blokefest where men (clue's in the title) gather together to camp in a field, conveniently near or attached to a pub, and partake of singing workshops and other liquid activities. I made them some posters to decorate the marquee.

Finally I thought it time to combine the bookbinding and letterpress and try and knock up some little pocket notebooks with my own printed covers. I'm going to make a set of three and have done the first one with the covers printed on the Peerless on recycled kraft and hand sewn. Ideas welcome for other lyrics-inspired covers.

The Arab's getting its new rollers and trucks this week so I'm itching to get cracking on that. After all this time and restoration, it'll be great to see it printing again.

Letterpress progress

I posted ages ago that myself and a mate had acquired some old letterpress machinery and were in the process of restoring it. Progress has been slow but we've had a bit of a push recently and managed to get the Arab mostly apart and light enough to manoeuvre and thus start to clean and restore.

 

I just love the Victorian attention to detail - there's even a full stop!

The aim is to keep the bookbinding and letterpress elements of the paperwallah empire separate but complementary so I'm going to set up an offshoot of this blog to devote to the print side in the next few weeks.

Meanwhile I've also been hitting eBay hard and built up a rudimentary collection of the various paraphernalia required to start printing such as quoins, chases, setting sticks, furniture, lead cutters, type cases and a ton of what is known as "printer's pie" (ie unsorted type) which is keeping me occupied as I sort it.

 

I also got hold of a lovely old small press called a Charlton and Cropper "Peerless" which doesn't seem to need as much restoration as the Arab and should be in printing fettle in the next month or so. It prints with an 8"x 5" chase so is perfect for postcards, small greetings and business cards.

Arrival of the Arab

Thought it was time for a change from pictures of my notebooks.
Just been away for 10 days on a business trip to Hong Kong and China visiting printers and binders, mainly of children's books. I'll post some pictures of how books are mass produced by hand later when I've managed to sort through them all but in the meantime got back early Friday morning to find this beauty in my workshop!
It's an early 20th century Arab Platen Letterpress printing machine - a classic of its kind. I'm looking after it for a mate and we're going to hopefully restore it back to full working order so I can print my title pages etc by proper letterpress. Very excited about it but hoping it won't distract me too much from the hand binding. I've got a showcase exhibition coming up at the beginning of March for handmade goods in our town called "Made in Bradford" so I need to finish at least another 15-20 notebooks.

Watch this space.