Monday, 11:57am
24 January 2011

Inky fingers

Letterpress workshop makes a grand day out for screen-weary workers

It may seem a little late to be blogging about the studio holiday treat, but it’s taken me this long to get the last of the ink from under my fingernails, writes Alexander Ecob.

Seven of our mainly screen-based workers (designers, editors, admin) had the privilege of being the first daytime group to make use of the St Bride foundation letterpress workshop at St Bride Library off London’s Fleet Street. With access to presses from Albion and Columbian to proofing and Adana, and tray after tray of wood and metal type (a fraction of what the foundation actually has, since much of it is being restored), all directed with unquenchable enthusiasm by workshop facilitator, and prolific printer, Helen Ingham (below left).

St Bride Workshop (crop)

Spurred on by a fast-advancing clock (four hours might sound like a long time, but when you’re searching for a 12pt quad and someone’s nabbed your roller, it flies by) and because we couldn’t wait to get messy, we dived straight into the sea of lead and wood, and managed to churn out a host of sticky prints on subjects ranging from tea to confused snowflakes (a cracker joke), to an ambitious print of a whole tray of type in situ (below).




St Bride

Snowflake / Ekalfwons

When our time was up, the workshop bore a passing resemblance to a bombsite (an impression probably not helped by our penchant for red ink) and we could well have continued printing into the night had we been allowed.


So many thanks to St Bride Library for a fantastic afternoon’s printing, and here’s hoping more people take advantage of this excellent opportunity. (The prints have finally dried.)

You can book short letterpress courses (six weekly sessions); a two-day ‘intensive’; and a one-day linocut and type poster workshop. Contact for details, or phone them on +44 (0) 207 353 3331. A splendid time is guaranteed for all.

Eye is the world’s most beautiful and collectable graphic design journal, published quarterly for professional designers, students and anyone interested in critical, informed writing about graphic design and visual culture.

It’s available from all good design bookshops and online at the Eye shop. Eye 78 (not printed by letterpress) is out now.