Saturday, March 19, 2011

Learning from a Letterpress Master

As with any craft, there is no amount of book smarts that can replace time spent under the wings of a trade artisan. I am very grateful for the time I spent with Brian Allen of Officina Briani, in Durham, NC. Brian has a long history in letterpress and is widely recognized for his craft. But more importantly, he a man who wishes to share his knowledge with all who wish to learn the art.

While, the class was not anywhere near long enough to be considered an apprenticeship, there was a steady fill of the printing history we love mixed with the hands on experience of making a work of art. Along with the basics, I got an invaluable array of tips that only an experienced printer would know in all aspects from makeup to cleanup.

Even beyond the typical printing which is an incredibly precise craft in itself. I learned how to achieve other effects from a letterpress without type. In this case, the image is not what is in the chase, where the type goes, but in the padding where the paper goes.

I have been interested in letterpress as an art form for more than seven years, but just recently decided to make it happen. As with anything I do, there was research online and offline through books and etcetera. I could not be more pleased with adding a class to the mix because there is so much not in the books, not only about the craft but also about the materials needed for the craft.

If you are eastern North Carolina, then you might want to pay a visit to Brian Allen. No matter where you are, if you are interested in letterpress learn from a real printer, I highly recommend it, money wisely spent..

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