In its short life so far (a little under three years) our humble press has already had five homes and four postal addresses, including two studios proper. That's inconvenient at the best of times, but it's downright painful when 'humble' has decided to acquire a 3/4 ton, 2.5 metre long Vandercook proofing press. So it was with heavy hearts, and an even heavier van, that we were forced to move again in August this year. Fifth time lucky?
Happily, it just might be. Home is now a lovely studio in an old chocolate factory in London's East End, part of the wonderful Bow Arts Trust. Built in 1859 by the second biggest chocolate producers of the time, Taylor Brothers, this beautiful old building seemed like the perfect place to set up our antiquated machines and age-old type.
Now, letterpress involves a lot of 'stuff', so it's taken a while to get everything in order (which is why this post has taken so long): planning where the presses should go; which side of the room the type cabinets should live on (both, as it turns out); where our newly acquired guillotine would fit; what to do with that ridiculously heavy steel-topped table (the 'stone'); and, importantly, where's the best place for the kettle… Finally though, we are in and printing (and have no plans of moving again. Fingers crossed). So, if you fancy popping round round for a cuppa, give us a shout. And bring biscuits.
We've been collecting type cases, before they end up as coffee tables or ornament cabinets.
The composing room, where we set type
Metal type in its case
The composing stone sits in the centre of the studio, and it's where we spend a lot of time building prints.
Space, or rather furniture, ironically takes up a lot of space.
Cases of wood type, with printed labels showing what's inside.
And the wood type within.