Letterpress workshop at Turnbull Grey

January 23rd 2012

Lucky me – I mentioned to Josh months ago that I’d love to do a letterpress workshop, and he remembered and bought me a class for my birthday. It was held at Turnbull Grey in Clerkenwell, who are primarily a graphic design studio but also run letterpress workshops on the side.

The class was small (just three people and two tutors, the eponymous Angela and Chris) and informal: a quick history of letterpress was given along with a rundown of the process, then we were left to dream up a design and get printing.

Letterpress class
Letterpress class
Letterpress class

Dealing with the minutiae of setting 12px Baskerville with perfect tracking and leading this class ain’t: it’s more of a fun open workshop using big wooden type to create a graphic poster or postcards. The huge chest of wooden movable type was a treat to rummage through.

Letterpress class

After a practice run with a single character, I decided to print a poster with a short quotation: “Great design is transparent”. The process is pretty easy. Pick your letters and arrange in a pleasing formation inside the metal frame. Remember the words will print backwards (like I did not first time around).

Letterpress classLetterpress class

Plug the gaps so it’s all secure and align on the base of the letterpress machine. Turnbull Grey have two tabletop Adana machines along with this flatbed one. The Adana is easier to use and more mechanised, but the flatbed provides a better finish and can handle larger designs.

Letterpress class

Ink up a roller and roll over your type – a little ink goes a long way. For a sexy gradient effect, just roll two colours together. Align the paper on top and pull the rollers to press.

Letterpress class
Letterpress class

Here’s my final poster! I love the gradient effect, but it’s a shame you can’t really read the type behind it as I planned. Given another chance I’d definitely plan my design better.

Letterpress class

The 3-hour class at Turnbull Grey was so much fun, I highly recommend it as a brilliant introduction to letterpress printing in which you can muck around and have a try without splashing out on all the kit yourself. Check their site for the latest dates.

Comments (5)

  • Lorna

    January 23rd 2012 at 11:55 pm

    I swear you read my mind, first there was the silver clay class I was eyeing up that you attended and now the Turnbull Grey letterpress class. We must be on all the same mailing lists. At least its nice to know what I’m in for!

  • Alexis

    January 24th 2012 at 11:44 am

    I saw your instagrams from the day and wondered where you were… I did a day last year at Harrington & Squires, it is so good. Am tempted to try to get hold of an Adana…

  • Jess

    January 25th 2012 at 1:05 pm

    Love how your print turned out. Would be very tempted to attend a class like this.

  • Frau Haselmayer

    February 3rd 2012 at 11:51 pm

    I wish I could take this class! I own the same Adana press but I don’t really find time (and motivation) to get really into printing all by myself!

  • 2012 in pictures | What Katie Does

    March 11th 2015 at 6:08 pm

    […] Took a letterpress class received for my […]

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