Letterpress printing began in the mid 1400’s when a German blacksmith, Johannes Gutenberg developed the first modern moveable type printer. By the 20th Century, fully automated presses had been introduced and manual letter pressing looked to become a redundant skill.
Luckily the craft has been kept alive by lovers of it’s simplicity, tactility and beauty and in recent years you can’t fail to notice the trend in quirky slogan prints for your kitchen wall. With shops like Aardvarkonsea, Print for Love of Wood, and Sianuska enjoying huge success on Folksy it seems this now treasured artform might well live on a few more years.
Freelance film-maker Danny Cooke recently made this lovely little film about the letterpress studio at Plymouth University. Technician Paul Colliers talks us through his love of letterpress and describes, quite beautifully, a “longing in our soul to get back to tactile work”. Love it.
Danny Cooke is a freelance film-maker from the South West of England. You can see more from his portfolio on his website.