At the London Centre of Book Arts …


Yesterday,  I enjoyed my first lesson in the use of an Adana Press.  With a modicum of letterpress setting and the use of a big press experience; I attended an Introduction to Letterpress at the London Centre of Book Arts.  The journey after a recent reconnoiter to an Open Day was easy.  Although the return might have been less so; but I will talk about that later.  

After the welcome, we were given a tour of the composing room and introduced to a Vandercook, FAG and a Farley. Our teacher said we might look at an Adana later, and when I expressed an interest in using one he dragged one out and dusted it off.  I do want to learn about the bigger presses but at the moment I want to learn the hand typesetting, how to lock up a forme, inks, paper, and even polymer plates.  

So we went on to do just that,  I was prepared so worked on a book mark. Getting my head round the rules, traditions, rituals, ps and qs, sorts, types, gauges, thicks, thins, mids, etc.  I plodded and struggled with the above mentioned paraphernalia and eventually produced something that might be described as a bookmark. In which I delight.

Of course the learning part is stressful.  I cannot pretend that I am comfortable in the classroom situation and the printing ‘industry’ is not easy … with its fine and vital exacting methods it is a hard task master.  

Nonetheless; if I can learn these tight disciplines and apply them to my looser linocuts and wood engravings then I will be happy.

So as a learning experience and my deviation from the larger presses it was good, the teacher didn’t shout and only used his rule in relation to picas and points.  I wasn’t a dunce and I suspect the Adana is back in the cupboard.

Meanwhile, I pleased to continue my bid to have an Adana on my dining room table … and on the look out now for a galley press; that is not quite as big as the others. That,might be way I can use my wood engravings with  letterpress when they are not always quite type high; although I did soon learn how to make minor adjustments.

So, the journey home; no one told me that West Ham were playing at home and coming out of the stadium on the Olympic Park at the same time as me.  I overheard a boy tell his dad that the stadium was the 4th biggest in the country after Wembley, Old Trafford and Emirates (oh dear more facts)  so a lot of people … but they didn’t spoil my day or even delay my journey home.  



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