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Back To Basics

12th November, 2015 by Lizzie

One thing that I particularly loved about my degree course at Manchester School of Art was that we were taught to use traditional methods; things such as book binding, screen printing and letterpress were always encouraged.

A favourite of mine was letterpress. When I first ventured down to the studio, I was immediately struck with the thought that this method of printing was used in the ‘olden days’ or the mid-fifteenth century to be exact! It was originally used as a method of printing and distributing information to the masses, which of course then led to the spread of information and ideas.

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For me, it was a wonderful distraction and a new way to work, so different from being in front of a Mac screen. The ability to just pick your way through all the type, using a palette knife to scrape out the brightly pungent paint, (I always went for a fluorescent colour) and then laying out your type. The final step was spreading your paint like butter on the roller and then creating your masterpiece.

Nowadays, working in a studio, I don’t often get the chance to use these methods, which I do miss, especially having all the fonts at my fingertips. However, I’ve found some solace in South Manchester thanks to EE Chrisp printers. Phil has kept hold of his machines, he has collected fonts, some of which he found in a skip, and is helping keep this printing process alive.

Last year, Mark and I visited Phil to create our beer mat themed Christmas Card. Ironically we were like kids at Christmas! Phil gave us a tour of his studio and we marvelled at all the bits of type and machinery that he had collected over the years. His little studio created a big impression.

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When we left with our beautiful cards I began to feel the love once more for using different and traditional methods to create something tactile and special. With this in mind, I’m hoping to go on and create more designs that need Phil’s input, but also I’m looking forward to the feeling that you can only receive when you yourself create something unique.

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