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.