My letterpress journey begins…

So this is my first entry on my first ever blog and faced with the blank page I’m having a bit of a ‘Dear Diary’ flashback to my teenage years, but this time I hope that people are going to read it. I thought I’d document my letterpress journey right from the start (in fact I haven’t even got the press yet!) because ever since I took the decision to give letterpress a ‘go’ my head has been whirling with all sorts of new terminology and conundrums. I have been fervently researching the topic online and the learning is curve is nothing, if not steep! It’s amazing to think that only a few weeks ago I had never heard of founts, quoins, reglet, furniture (no, not tables and sofas) and a chase (as a noun, not a verb).

I have some printmaking experience with linocuts, monoprints and collographs but letterpress is a new adventure for me and something I hope to combine with these other forms of printmaking. I hope my blog will encourage other ‘newbies’ to share their passion, joy and frustration with letterpress, design and typography, so we can inspire and support each other and that some ‘old hands’ will remember what it was like to be starting out and offer advice and encouragement to us along the way.

There has been a huge resurgence in letterpress and typographical art (especially in home interiors) recently with typography popping up on everything from cushions to doormats. It has been hard to miss the renewed popularity of posters bearing the “Keep Calm & Carry On” motto, which once again has a certain resonance for many people leading busy and stressful lives. The fashion for these personal mantra and motto posters has elevated them almost to cliche status, a tongue in cheek proclamation of our view on the world for all to see and identify with. A shared joke on life. I love them!

Letterpress printed items are nostalgic, original and individual and personal. They take time and skill to produce and, for me, this quirky, old-fashioned, hand-made heritage is a large part of it’s appeal.  Yet today it has being given a new lease of life, embracing computerised graphic design (the very technology that led to its demise) to create new and exciting prints and I hope to be part of the next wave of creative letterpress printers, pushing it to new boundaries whilst respecting its heritage.

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