I’ve been teaching a lot of letterpress courses lately. Above you can see heavy typesetting action in my Intro to Letterpress weekend course at the London Centre for Book Arts. Teaching printing feels good right now partially because my own work has been mired in the bindery for weeks and weeks. It is important to ink up a press every now and then if only to remind yourself of what it is like. I try to use the courses I teach as little opportunities to try out ideas for the next project.
In my Art on the Press course here in Brighton we’ve just gotten into linoleum carving. I’ve used one of the figures that Dave Allen and I are working on to demonstrate the linoleum reduction method.
This print may go absolutely nowhere, but it feels good to be doing these experiments. How do these figures look with white lines instead of black? What is the result when I randomize which portions are darker than others?
A separate (but similar) study, which I began at the London Print Studio recently, continued on Thursday during a letterpress demonstration at Ink Spot Press for students from the University of Brighton. I could always simply ink up some type and print something arbitrary for demonstrations like this, but so much progress can be made simply by electing to use these demonstrations for my own work, even in an unfocused, playful way:
These little bursts of activity give momentum to the project and keeps it in my thoughts even when I am too busy teaching and binding older projects to devote myself to designing something new.
Even apart from the micro-opportunities to work on my own projects on the press, the teaching is energizing and a welcome break from the solitude of edition binding.
Teaching also offers a chance to goof off and print lighthearted things. Like the Queen, for example, here preserved in all of her 1950’s glory on an old cut at the London Centre for Book Arts.
The London Centre has many other curiosities on offer, like this hilariously well-used type plane:
Back in Brighton at Ink Spot Press, the Art on the Press course is yielding some fun linoleum carvings. Below, Nic agonized over getting rid of the rogue marks on her block.
Jackie’s two hands look beautiful in blue:
And the results, hanging up to dry on the most ingenious drying rack on earth.
I’ll be teaching several letterpress courses in the coming months. Some will be type-based, others intensives in linoleum carving and pressure printing. Keep an eye on my workshops page if you want to come and play. In the meantime, it’s back to the bindery for me. The first 35 copies of Fond are done. Only 40 to go.