Keen as mustard, I signed up for Letterpress 1 (morning workshop) and Bookbinding: Practical (afternoon) adding Letterpress 2 (next Saturday) .
It was an action-packed day.
The Letterpress 1 Workshop utilised a compact and gorgeous original Heidelberg Platen Letterpress. Its heavy black cast iron frame, beautifully lathed pistons, cogs and platens all working in perfect harmony - really was a sight to behold, I was quite mesmerized by it.
You can see it in my rickety video below which does it little justice.
We learned to create the photo-polymer plates - the raised, reversed design we printed from - as well as the history of other plate-making methods. We watched our printer, Paul, mix the inks to match the red we'd chosen as our printing colour. He created a make-shift box to carry the ink from the mixing plate over to the press, and filled the ink reservoir at the back of the machine. Cranking the press up, the platens rotated, each picking ink from each other, until just the right amount was rolled onto the polymer plate held fast in the chase.
If you are even remotely interested in printing, I highly recommended, if you ever get the chance to do attend such a workshop, you do so.
The afternoon was spent making my first notebook. It was such a full 3.5 hours of flat out work, that I didn't have time to take a photo or grab any video. I learnt to use an industrial guillotine, a book making machine (these puppies ought to be in every mall!) that took all the mess and fuss out of gluing a block of plain paper together and creating an instant notebook. We cut and we glued and we got sticky and concentrated so hard that hardly a peep came out of any of the 8 participants. We clamped and pressed and embossed and end-papered until we finally each had our very own-made notebooks to take home.
Because I had done the Letterpress in the morning, I had my very own name to include on the inside of my notebook. It was such a wonderful afternoon and we all did pretty reasonable jobs.
NOTE: if you are interested in bookbinding, and live in or can get to Auckland, check out MOTAT's introduction to book binding.