I am very excited about today’s activities. Extraordinarily so. I haven’t quite banished the lurgy yet, but for once, it has been overshadowed by my day.
Apparently some people watch ‘Cribs’ or ‘Footballer’s Wives’ as life inspiration, imagining that if they work hard (or sleep with the right person), they will eventually be able to live this dream. I feel the same thing when I walk into a studio or workshop of some sort, a hidden away type of place, filled with paper and inks and interesting and satisfying pieces of machinery, and the smell of workshop (similar to that in art shops). If there’s a kettle in sight, radio 4 in the background and possible need to wear overalls, I veritably melt into a puddle on the floor.
Today I had the opportunity to go to the Paekakariki Press. There was ink, there was paper, there was massive and exciting printing machinery, there were wooden drawers full of letterpress letters and labelled with the different fonts and sizing. And radio 4 was on the background. It was beautiful.
We went there thinking we would be shown around the press by our gracious host Matt, which we were, and hoping to see the incredible Heidelburg KS Cylinder press (see the website for photos of each press) in printing action. We saw this too – Matt was printing some pages from a collection of poetry, called ‘London Rivers’. A lovely collection, and beautifully printed too. But then Matt offered to help us print something, perhaps a business card or similar. And guess who needs some business cards? Yes, that would be me.
So we spent a lovely couple of hours picking out the letterpress letters, setting them (and Matt kindly re-setting them), doing a couple of sample cards, ruing the day when I chose to use the word ‘and’ rather than the Ampersand (the Ampersand ‘&’ looked particularly fetching in letterpress), and finally getting our hands on the Treadle Platen printing press. Printing involved turning a wheel or pressing a foot pedal to do the same, which in turn moved mechanisms that moved rollers to roll ink onto the letterpress letters, and to move letters and paper together. That is a clumsy and extremely simplified rendition of how the press worked, and you can see a much more experience user using a similar press here.
The cards were printed in Garamond, in a dark blue, and the rubber ink used to print them is currently drying. Expect a forthcoming and excited post with picture when they’re dry and in my hands. It was a really unexpected, lovely and interesting opportunity. If you do want anything printed in letterpress, do get in touch with them.
And my outfit for today’s excursion? Well, I thought I had been failing in my duty to accessorise. So I made an active decision to include a couple of extra touches. I used a brightly coloured scarf, that, as well as injecting some well needed colour, held my hair in place admirably all day. I also used a little cinch belt, that I bought from Ayoka a few months ago myself.
Please see photo below. Also please forgive ridiculous face. I’m trying to pretend photo isn’t happening. You were one click away from having a photo where I was covering my face with my hands.
Scarf -No price tag. But probably either 50p or £1.00
Shoes – £5.00 And yes, I’ve worn these every day so far. I make no excuse. They’re black, go with everything, high heeled and very easy to wear.
Cardigan – £4.00
Trousers – £5.00