A day in the Typotetum

It's a rare thing that Bloomfield & Rolfe get together, living some 200 miles apart and with the commitments of little person, career, stamps and all the other extra-curricular things we like to do (but don't have time to blog about). So it was a delight when were set off in the blazing heat of mid-May (I made that up, it was the persisitant and freezing drizzle of mid-May) to learn about letterpress at Typoretum near Colchester.

And what fun we had! The inconspicuous purpose-built studio in Justin and Cecilia's garden was packed floor to ceiling with type and presses and ink (and amazing light fittings). Such was the excitement within I omitted to take a photo of the outside, but their set-up was like an episode of 'Relocation Relocation' made real (I'm allowed to romanticise, I'm insanely jealous).

drawers and drawers and drawers of type

drawers and drawers and drawers of type

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After a brief introduction from Justin were were allowed to get stuck in. There was a vast array of metal type available, but the lure and patina of the wood type was too much to resist and we both decided to set a poster.

After only a few minutes I was ready to go: always in a rush!

Jenny's Elbow inspired text

Jenny's Elbow inspired text

Holly's motivational text on the press (not to do with Nike at all she assured us. Hmmmm, is that a swoosh?)

Holly's motivational text on the press (not to do with Nike at all she assured us. Hmmmm, is that a swoosh?)

Rob helped me mix up this wonderful gradiation of ink which I, to be pretentious about it, call 'fresh morning light'. So I was ready to get printing.....

'Fresh morning light' on the rollers.... don't you want to eat it!

'Fresh morning light' on the rollers.... don't you want to eat it!

My type inked up... and that pesky uninked 'D' that caused so many problems.

My type inked up... and that pesky uninked 'D' that caused so many problems.

..... but, as is so often the case in my life, more haste and less speed was required and I can confirm that it's more difficult than it looks! All the attributes that make the wooden type so covetable, make it very difficult to print as it is worn and uneven through use. Many prints later I think I got something I will be able to frame.

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A big thank you to Justin and Rob for their help and patience and providing such an inspiring day and freedom to play with all their stuff, and to Cecilia too for the amazing home cooked lunch!