I am fascinated by traditional craftsmanship. That's why I joined the letterpress summer school at the Graphic Workshop in Amsterdam during summer 2021. In a small group we were experimenting with different printing techniques and learned a lot about composition, ink and the history of printing.
At the first day I was standing in front of the centuries-old printing presses with much respect, a little intimidation and a lot of curiosity.
I felt to be brought back to the basis of all design: Typography. I experimented with layers and angles and found out that there can be lots of mathematics in printing.
Next to the lead- and wood type, we also worked with paper cut-outs. It was great to discover how depth can be created by simply printing more layers.
In contrast to the lead type, the wooden letters were bigger and easier to arrange freely.
We learned how to prepare the ink, how to use metal- and wood type, and how to use the presses. After that it was time to explore, create and experiment with what we learned. I could let myself go in the creative process of printing. Every new print revealed new ideas and connections.
The traditional letterpress with lead type was kind of a meditating experience: Precisely putting the tiny letters into its rows and filling the white space was fascinating.