LETTERPRESS EDITIONS

 

Letterpress printing is the relief printing of text and images with movable letters in which a reversed, raised surface is inked and then pressed into a sheet of paper. The art of letterpress lies in the way in which the basics are used. Tactility is important.

 

Letterpress printing was the normal form of printing text from its invention by Johannes Gutenberg in the mid-15th century to the 19th century and remained in wide use for books, cards and posters until the second half of the 20th century. Letterpress printing remained the primary means of printing and distributing information until the 20th century, when offset printing was developed, largely supplanting its role in printing books and newspapers.

 

In the case of my letterpress work, each letter was hand carved from a block of wood. Each block has a slightly different width depending on its letter. I deliberately choose handcarved wooden letters which have been worn and scratched because they reveal their existence in time through their imprint. The letters used in these editions are at least 100 years old and have been used in printing, moving, storing and as food for termites. These particular letters were found and collected by printers in Venice who invite artists to work with them. I have chosen to compose the words by putting block against block rather than spacing them evenly as one would normally do in terms of graphic design. I prefer to let the actual physical existence of each letter sit next to the next letter and let the spacing occur without manipulation. My editions are relatively small and number 12 - 15.