An 81 year old artisan printer is seeking an heir to inherit his business in an effort to revive the fortunes of the letterpress printing trade after his children decided to pursue different careers. Stanley Lane has worked as a ‘monotype’ hand printer for over 60 years, producing meticulously crafted books from Gloucester Typesetting workshop in Stroud to a select group of publishers.
Check out this incredible Animation created for Richard Ardagh’s talk on Monotype punchcutting at the Printing Museums conference in Belgium. The face of this steel punch measures 0.2 inches (approx 5mm) square and you see the approx 30 stages of the engraving process. This ct ligature is from Hungry Dutch, a font by Russell Maret
The 1800s were a time of massive transformation in printing. The 1700s saw printing move from cottage to larger scale, but many factories held back industrial operations. Those changed dramatically right around 1800 and proceeded through the end of the century. In this article Glenn Fleishman focuses on an overlooked aspect: paper molds used to duplicate entire pages of type and images, often for newspapers, that were cast as metal plates. These remained in use until the 1980s in American newspapers!
Printmaking is a very old and beautiful art form but it‘s not accessible for a lot of people. The Open Press Project responds to this with a small but fully functional etching press, designed to be lightweight, inexpensive and portable. Learn more and back the project on Kickstarter here
A few weeks back I was scrolling my twitter feed when some striking marbling stopped me in my tracks. The photographs were progress shots from Emily Hancock’s binding process of her latest release a gorgeous letterpress printed edition of Michael Delp’s poetry.
A remarkable photo essay by Christopher Payne who spent 2 years documenting the Times printing plant in Queens “to find the beauty in newsprint and the people who produce it.”
A practical treatise on the production of books in nineteenth century London. The book guides the novice from manuscript to distribution, demonstrating the interconnectedness of the people and processes involved. A facsimile of the 1892 edition alongside new texts by Esther McManus and Samantha Whetton. Available in-person or online londonbookarts.org/shop
“Letterpress printing involved complex, arcane processes; what used to be a commonplace means of communication is now both craft and art. It is celebrated for what makes it different from today’s digital defaults. The way wood and metal type has to be set and printed presents designer, compositor and printer – now often the same person – with limitations that can also be seen as freedoms.”
Many of the first printed books in Europe were decorated with illustrations, initials and borders. Each served a purpose: initials signaled, via their range of sizes, a textual hierarchy, working in much the same way as chapter headings and sub-headings do today. Decorative borders were employed to demarcate or divide books, chapters or sections and, from the last decades of the fifteenth century, were used at the beginning of books as openers or title-pages.