Monday, March 12, 2007

A passion for printing

In my experience people who love hand printing or/or book binding love the craft in an extraordinarily generous way. The two organisations I belong to, the Association of Book Crafts and Te Kowhai Print Trust, provide incredible value for low membership fees, seem to run very efficiently on 100% volunteer efforts and welcome new members with warmth.

Since wading into the world of letterpress (has it only been a month since I started?) I've been touched by people both near and far who are willing, nay eager, to share their knowledge and even their time. This afternoon I went to visit Mr Murray Inder of Inprint Design who has been in the printing business since handsetting lead type was the norm. He showed me around his printery, patiently answering all my questions , demonstrating, naming, and explaining until my brain was full. Yet I know I have barely brushed the surface of his deep knowledge of all kinds of printing.

I especially appreciated his enjoyment of the vocabulary of printing that I too find extremely alluring. I have been attracted to words like frisket, tympan and quoin just because they are great words with letterpress associations but he knows what those things are and pulled them out of drawers to show me*. For me it was a thrilling hour in print heaven, and it can't have been too painful for Mr Inder because he offered to come along to TKPT and help me get the platen jobber press going there.

*He also showed me a flong which I hadn't heard of before and am not sure I really understand how it relates to letterpress but it wins the best printing word of the week prize, and can be made out of papier mache so it's extra cool.

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