As the rain hammered down outside, and with much of the weald masked in a damp, autumnal cloak, our brave volunteers gathered in the Old Dairy Barn at Sissinghurst Castle to make a start on the project.
First, we looked at each of the printing presses on site, and talked through the processes connected with them. We discussed furniture and quoins and packing and make-ready – before inking up the presses and having a go. The two Adana presses – a five-three and an eight-five, coped admirably; the Minerva platen was a little more tricksy!
It took quite a bit of wrangling to get the chase for the Minerva to clip into the press – we worked out the furniture etc needed to be entirely flat in order for this to happen correctly. There were some scary moments – but in the end the chase did clip in and we printed our first word, which was something like ‘NEWLBQC’.
After lunch, the group broke down into smaller pairs and threes, and everyone had a go on the different presses. The results were admirable and everyone seemed to enjoy trying out the varied processes involved in creating a forme and battling to make a good impression.