Rare Book School Days 3 & 4

Printing letterpress can feel a bit like the ascent up the steepest grade of an old-school roller coaster. A slow ratcheting up and up, until finally, the momentum of printing itself takes over. I find myself needing to encourage and reassure through what can seem like painfully slow steps: typesetting, proofing, correcting, proofing again.

This weather hasn’t helped. A week-long swelter, it’s hollow humour to suggest that it adds to the 19th century ambience of the enterprise. A thoughtful someone at the State Library arranged a tab for us at Journal Café and their lemon granita hit the spot this afternoon.

Yesterday and this morning saw us proofing the type and making corrections. Page formes have been assembled. Rosalind Atkins, well-known for her exquisite engravings, is in the class and offered to cut a block for us. The chapbook will be bound in a soft wrapper imprinted with the title. This involved a certain amount of gerry-rigging to print a 70cm long sheet on a 10×15 platen, but was possible with a team of five.

The storm started in earnest in the midst of this critical activity, a perfect time to discuss printing damp. Tomorrow is expected to be a welcome 22ºC, perfect weather for handling paper.


Iam very much looking forward to viewing your book production, and the discussions that come from your workshop. I was hoping to join your class however I did not come across the information until after the booking date.

kind regards
Clint Harvey Brisbane

Posted by Clint Harvey on 22 February 2010 @ 9pm

I just love the look of what you do and your photographs!

Posted by Kelly Burstow on 7 March 2010 @ 7pm

A friend who is equally passionate about the history of printing pointed me to the website. I was a participant that swelteringly hot February: it was a memorable week. We worked as a great team, learnt much about the intracies and skill required to produce a printed document, woofed down the lemon granitas and proudly came home with copies of “our book”.

Posted by Margaret Rees-Jones on 2 September 2010 @ 12pm

Hi Carolyn,

I’m a new visitor of your blog and I was really amazed with what you’re all doing and I’ve seen some of the equipments pictures here in your blog are like old am i right? how do you find using these equipments? are they productive? do you have plans on getting new improved technologies for your printing activities?


Posted by Vinson on 3 November 2011 @ 11pm

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