Wednesday night Carla and I enjoyed another night at The Waiting Room. We got to find out more about letterpress printing, paper and other lost arts.
London Centre for Book Arts
Things kicked off with a talk from Simon Good of the London Centre for Book Arts. It can be located on the intriguingly named Fish Island, near the Olympic Park. Open now for a couple of years, it offers space and equipment to pursue book arts such as handing binding, letterpress printing and creasing.
Simon was keen not to bore us. But we insisted he explained some of his more intriguing slides. These included a fruit shaped Venn diagram. He also told us about the granite book and the screen printing nun.
He then explained how LCBA came to be. In part it’s down to liking the immediacy of Letterpress, and also something to not getting on very well with Photoshop (a good reminder to focus on exploiting strengths rather improving weaknesses). Post-graduation Simon realised that he didn’t have access to book art related equipment and that even if he could acquire it he had nowhere to store or use it. This led to an amazing sounding road trip from New York to LA visiting open book arts centres along the way.
Access to equipment larger than Adana opened up new horizons for Simon. But he did point out anything big is difficult to work with. He spoke fondly about B5 (book-sized) being lovely to work with.
Thanks to the LCBA it is now much easier to give book arts a try. They run beginners courses and you could then go on to be a member. They also offer studio passes which offer 5 days of access over 6 months. A number of artists are studio members and use it regularly for binding and printing. We were excited to hear that Esme Winters is a regular visitor as her cards were among the first items we stocked for Ink Drops.
Then we heard from Martin Bewick and Ella Johnston of the Dunlin Press. After they’d escaped London for Wivenhoe they naturally set up their own press with the name inspired by the Dunlins who scamper in the margins but work as a group. Their first book, Est, is published this month and is a collection of pieces from and about East Anglia. It’s more than a book it’s a treasure chest, a time capsule and a psychohistory. Then it was time to print, chat, visit the bar and enthuse about equipment.
Fittingly the item we were printing tonight was from Martin Newall’s contribution to Est.
So another great night with much chatter about memberships, screen printing and letterpress induction.