Today I rolled my first few block printed poems off an old style hand turned printing press.
The poem had been set to type in a block which was used to produce a limited number of my poem ‘I am not’. The print was embossed into an old fashioned parchment type paper.
You can see the block here.
The block is retained for future use if more copies are needed.
The ink was mixed by hand to produce a vibrant indigo colour and skillfully applied by hand to the block. It is important for there to be just the right amount of ink. Too little and the print is faint. Too much and it smudges.
It was quite something turning the handle of the press and watching the poem roll off
The printer kindly allowed me to produce a few on my own.
These printing presses aren’t made anymore as digital processes have largely taken over. Yet there is something extremely satisfying about being connected to the process and watching each copy ‘roll off’ as if by magic.
It is easy to see why the first printing presses caused such a stir and were such a revolution in communication in their time. I can’t help feeling something powerful has been lost as we’ve moved away from this way of printing. Much more labour intensive, yet so much more ‘alive’.
Here is the finished article – no wonder there’s such a broad smile on my face after the fun involved in creating them
I am having some framed and will be adding them to my enchanting the void website for sale very shortly.
Let me know if you are interested in buying a copy for yourself.