Week Two – Update

Summarising the two Letterpress Reimagined workshops, which took place on Tuesday and Wednesday this week is a joy! This week, our volunteers got to grips with swapping set type out from smaller ‘five-three’ chases into larger ‘eight-five’ chases, which will then be set into the Minerva chase. (Using smaller chases inside the larger should mean we are able to keep the text in the same place on the page… Hopefully!!

Before this, we ran some test prints of the now correctly spaced poem using the five-three hand press. It was lovely to see the poem on the page, and I’m sure we all had a sense of pride that the hard work was turning into a tangible reality.

While half the team were running the above test prints, the other half were printing part of a different poem by Vita Sackville-West on the Minerva platen. This gave plentiful opportunity for lessons about make-ready, and working to achieve an equal impression. It was a bit of a mission, but with the nine process prints pinned up on the wall, we could clearly see the difference and the improvement the consistent effort created.

Wednesday’s task was to create mock-ups of the poem using the actual paper we’ll be printing on. The benefit of these mock-ups is to give everyone a sense of how the poem will look on the page, and to allow us to draw conclusions about what should go where. We listed the basic components of our booklet: title page, copyright & publishing info, necessary logos, images, introduction/afterword etc, and then played around until we had a better idea of what worked.

We made a lot of progress this week: our wonderful volunteers began the task of cutting the paper down to size, we read and discussed the academic introduction to the piece, and we got the larger chases ready to go next week. Exciting times!

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