Letterpress caries a lot of the same arguments for and against it that lino cutting does. It is the analogue counterpart to the Digital which is industry-standard. I am not particularly fond of typography, but I do find that working with real physical letters and having to arrange them on a plate at 1:1 scale for printing is a far more satisfactory endeavour than sitting at a computer going down a list of fonts only to just end up using Helvetica.
Kim, the letterpress technician, was astonishingly succinct with good advice and excellent feedback for the students. I’m sure it helped that the physical restrictions of the letterpress room meant that only a handful of students could be in the room at any given time. Letterpress is 100% about minutia, which I normally despise. I’m definitely a broad strokes kind of guy, but letterpress is about arranging these pieces of wood or metal into certain positions. To ignore the minutia is to miss the entire point.
Another reason I enjoyed the session so much is it’s because it’s one of the few times alright actually develops my work through the process of iterations, which I actually think it’s super important. Sometimes, you have a idea in your head and you do and it works. Sometimes, the best thing to do is to just try and do lots of small variations, making sure, of course, that they are quick and easy to test. Kim also worked proofing into the production method, a case of measure twice cut once.
This workshop was a good example of how doing something you wouldn’t normally like in the presence of people who are passionate about it can lead to you to change your mind. As much as this was about the technicalities of letterpress, it was also and insights into the value of working with certain people.