On a beautiful summer morning at Sissinghurst Castle, yesterday, we gathered round with cups of tea aplenty to chat about getting the Letterpress Reimagined project underway.
Present, were most of our lovely volunteers – just the kind of people you’d want to be involved in such a project: fun, enthusiastic, hopeful, adventuring and courageous. There were also some representatives from the team at Sissinghurst Castle, and a couple of us from Canterbury Christ Church University.
Over tea, we chatted about the project – from it’s genesis one November morning at a letterpress workshop in the very room we were now sat, to the process of finding and transporting the Minerva platen press, to our hopes for the workshops ahead. If you’ve just joined us – we’re planning to print a poem by Vita Sackville West using traditional letterpress and hand binding techniques. We hope the final product is going to look beautiful.
We then trekked over the Tower at Sissinghurst Castle, spending time looking at the original Hogarth Press platen. We talked about how it worked, what the constituent parts were called and what they did. After this, we wandered to the Old Dairy barn and compared what we’d seen with our own Minerva platen.
Many of the team had a go, spinning the flywheel or working the treadle. We spent a while talking about the practicalities of printing on such a platen – how type would be set, how the ‘forme’ is ‘locked’ (the type and furniture set in the metal ‘chase’ or frame), before being slotted into the press.
Next week – we get inky!