Letterpress: 15th century art in 21st century London

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Rachel Stanners of PricklePress explains her craft and her workshop at Making Uncovered on 20 April.

Tell us about letter-pressing – what do you like about it and what brought you to doing it?

Letterpress dates back to the fifteenth century. It is an old, tactile craft that requires time, focus and skill to design and typeset faultlessly, master the machinery and produce a perfect print. Each piece of card is fed through the press, piled and cut by hand. The result is something you will instantly want to stroke, collect, frame or gift away.

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I took up letterpress printing in 2009 when my partner and I bought a small hand-operated Adana letterpress. Although I found the amount of time and detail that went into every print run exhausting it was always worth the effort!

Until I tried letterpress I had never given so much time to one craft and it’s been rewarding to see my skill improve over the years.

Why are you taking part in Making Uncovered on 20 April?

I’d love to share the craft of letterpress. Some people have heard of letterpress but most don’t understand how it works or why letterpress goods are expensive.

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I spend so much time explaining letterpress that when an opportunity came along to actually show people how it works I jumped at the chance. It’s not until you see a letterpress in action that you understand why it’s so special.

What will you be teaching people and why should they sign up?

I am going to be doing a few demonstrations throughout the day but I also want to use this opportunity to make letterpress accessible.

So, I’m giving a couple of people the chance to learn how to letterpress and print their own postcard designs: anything from a fun postcard to save-the-dates, birthday invitations, birth announcements.

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You can design them yourself, ask me to help or use vintage wooden type to create something truly unique. On the day we will ink up the press and print up to fifty postcards on 100% cotton card.

It will cost between £30-150, depending on the complexity of your design. The price includes all the material costs. There’s only two spaces available so get in quick! Please get in touch before April 10 if you are interested.

To start your letterpress project and book a workshop space at Making Uncovered please contact rachel [at] pricklepress.co.uk

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