Letterpress and different materials

On Friday I went to the letterpress room to work on the homework task we have for Studio Ellipsis. I have to print the same image/text on 5 different materials. I had my materials with me ready for printing. I had more than 5 actually because I first bought some and then found a few more interesting materials at home that I thought would be nice to try. My materials included, photographic paper, felt, foam, foil, papyrus, fabric, old book pages and shiny glittery paper. I chose to use letterpress as my printing method because most of my materials are unsuitable for normal printers. Screen printing would have been the other option for me but I thought it would be too time-consuming and be difficult to do for just A5 size paper.

I started off by creating something to print. I first thought to do something abstract. I picked loads of different X’s and made a composition from those. When I did my trial prints with it, I noticed it didn’t look good. I think it was too confusing and messy. Maybe it the arrangement was too big for a A5 sheet of paper, maybe it should have had smaller X’s and be tighter.

I changed my arrangement, still working with X’s. I tried a different composition but that didn’t look enough either. After that I though to just change my approach and instead of abstract using words. I decided to use the words “Ink & Material”. I used Gill typeface for “Material” and the “&”, and Goudy for “Ink” . Then I started printing on my different materials.

The printing phase went pretty quickly. I just printed, printed and printed. I managed to do a lot of prints because there weren’t many people using the letterpress. Some prints however were trickier than others. It is difficult to manage to apply the same amount of ink to the letters every time. Some prints came out really light and some had too much ink. Also the different thicknesses of the different materials added and extra challenge to the process. Still in the end of the day I had printed all I wanted to print.

When it was time to clean up and go home, all my prints were still wet and sticky. I couldn’t leave them there to dry either because the room wouldn’t be open until next Friday. Luckily I found a cardboard box in the bin where my A5 prints fit perfectly. I put newsprint between each print to protect them from smudging and carried it home carefully so that the sheets wouldn’t move. At home I took them out to dry on my foldout laundry drying rack. Thank God I have that, otherwise I wouldn’t have anywhere to put them.

See pictures of my printed sheets below. Now I just need to wait for them to dry and then I can bind them into a book!

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