Week three of our Letterpress Reimagined workshops at Sissinghurst Castle has been one of progress, development and breakthrough!
On Tuesday, we worked to ‘diss’ the new fount of type, expertly cast for us by the brilliant Hell-Box Letter Foundry. Everyone got stuck in, battling tiny vowels with rusty tweezers. We marvelled at joined ligature letters: where there are words with a fi, or an fl, or an ffi/ffl, the hanging-over ligature of the f causes a tiny gap between the letters, which looks unsightly on the printed page. Thanks to a brilliant tip on this blog, we worked through our typeset stanzas and replaced all the culprits!
On Wednesday, Sandra, Carla and Ellie did a fantastic job running prints of the first page of the poem on the Minerva platen. We all felt such a swell of pride and pleasure seeing Vita’s beautiful words impressed on the page. We printed about 36 copies of a necessary 200 (we are taking no chances and printing lots of spare copies, especially as printing on the back of an already printed page will be one of the challenges facing us next week!
Next week will be fun: a couple of our lovely volunteers are on holiday, still another couple are off to see Kate Bush in concert (I am jealous!), but there will be a happy nucleus working away in the Old Dairy Barn. We have a bit more typesetting to do, and some more paper cutting and folding to achieve, but otherwise it will be a case of noses to the grindstone (or the printing platen, which is probably a more appropriate metaphor, but also a Health & Safety nightmare).
We are also really excited about our group trip to Amberley Museum – booked in for Thursday 18th. It will be brilliant for the volunteers to see larger presses in action, to understand how our Minerva platen fits into a wider collection of print technology, and to be able to hear stories from printing experts who have been doing this for their whole careers!
We’ll keep you posted!