Thursday, 26 February 2009

The chase is on...

Now that we've filled up our workspace with lumps of cast iron and thousands of little pieces of lead the time has come to get some ink on paper and expand Statler & Waldorf's little family.

A request on Freecycle for letterpress type was put out without much hope of reply but, to our astonishment, a kind soul in Halifax (Thanks Mike!) called us up saying he had "Loads of the damn stuff. Clogging up my garage - take as much as you want!". Well the suspension on the car is tougher than previously thought as the old banger made the round trip with 32 trays of type, numerous blocks, a tray of spacers, a tray of furniture, a tray of quoins and keys, three chases and a whole pile of other bits and bobs.

Needless to say it's not all sorted yet, but at least the type was in drawers so doesn't need too much moving around.

Other magnanimous benefactors have given us tubs of ink and reams of paper and card. Liz in Luton let us have a lovely old guillotine for a few quid and a small business card guillotine was scavenged from a junk shop in Crosshills along with an old iron book press and an old brass compositing stick. So now we've got the kit, it's time to put the mounting sense of taking on more than we can chew behind us and print something!

So far we've only dipped an inky finger into the world of letterpress and run off a few cards, mainly for ourselves to see what's achievable with what we have. The goal of printing a book seems a long way off, but we've made a start.

Statler & Waldorf

Statler & Waldorf
Originally uploaded by
Oldfield Press

It seemed like an age before the rollers finally rocked up in the post but we were straight to the corridor where we work and cracked a can or two of lager to christen 'Statler' and 'Waldorf'. We inked up and dropped out for the next four hours whilst we tried different stuff and tried to dry what we had done.

Well so far we have managed to avoid owt' that plugs in, apart from the lights. It is like we are taking one step forward but at the same time moving two steps back and taking the future with us.

We have a computer, a sign of the times and we have found a great use for the keyboard. It works great to stand the cards in whilst they dry. What an invention, not quite the printing press but still it could be an antique of the future.

The old approach continues as we grow 'Waldorf' and 'Statler's' family.
Now we can print cards any size...well any pocket size as we bought a lovely old guillotine that can cut up to A3. A little card gullotine sits next to it on the desk.

Monday, 2 February 2009

First Post

For the last year or so we have been out on the moors. Painting and photographing the surrounding areas. Hiking off in the dead of night to light up the lonely places in the way we want or trekking through the bogs and climbing up the rocks to get a feel for the colours, textures and shades for the paintings.

The paintings and photographs are a nearly all done now and are taking shape as the illustrations for the stories we want to tell or the guides we wish to show. So it seemed the natural thing to do was to find ourselves a nice little letterpress to start putting the pictures to words.

We know it would be easier to type and print off the computer and in a way, we are making life harder, chosing this route, but we want to produce art. Hands on art.

We want to be 'in touch', quite literally with the words as we are with the pictures and we definately don't want to put something else out there for the landfills of tomorrow. There are plenty of folk doing that in all walks of life so it is our ethos not to.

We have the pictures and now not one but two presses. A pair of great little Adana 8x5 letterpresses and thanks to a chance request for type, a cupboard full of lead slugs all waiting to get together in some sort of order and weave a tale or two. We have set them up in a small corridor next to a rehearsal room and there we will be freezing until the first run is done.

Should we do 50 or should we do 20?

Maybe even 100 of each as the time is in the set up.

The only way to find out is to start so here goes...