We had our first letterpress workshop as part of HLF-funded project at Northern Print – ‘Letterpress – A Lasting Impression’ project. Tony the printer from Robert Smail’s Printing Works came down to teach us the basics of letterpress.
After showing us how to set up the Adana press, he showed us how to assemble the type on a composing stick and then set the type in a case. When the spaces are filled with leads, spacers and furniture, the filled case becomes a forme.
As my attempt at letterpress, I tried setting a couple of lines from the poem I intended to respond to for a forthcoming exhibition at Woodhorn Museum about the Northern Poetry Library. We soon discovered that there were letters missing or in insufficient quantities in the cases of type in the studio. I opted to use a typeface called Temple Script.
At the end of the day, I was very glad that Tony had come down to show us how to prepare the Adana press and the basics of typesetting. However, I felt very anxious that I didn’t know enough to create a good enough work for the Woodhorn exhibition after just one workshop. People assured me that it was fine to put up ‘work-in-progress’ pieces – but I was worried that mine would simply look too amateur in the relatively short time we had to do it.