Thursday, 20 December 2012

Merry Christmas from Semple Press

You can't have a press and not produce your own Christmas cards, so here are the first cards produced at Semple Press. Even now, many of them are snarled up somewhere in the Christmas post on their way to family and friends.

Letterpress Christmas card from Semple Press

The background is a lino cut printed on a proof press, and the festive poem (bah, humbug!) was printed on the Adana using Gill sans condensed 18pt. I even managed a "Merry Christmas!" on the inside of the card, printed using a 24pt type called, I think, Gulio.

The linocut was easy enough - I usually work things out on the computer first and then print out the design in outline back-to-front so it's easy to transfer on to the lino. But I must admit that I was dreading getting the poem to line up correctly as this was the first piece of work I've done which needed registering.

However, the Adana was much easier to set up than I thought it would be. Setting the layguage, which holds the bottom edge of the print in position, was relatively simple if a bit fiddly, and I used a spirit level to make sure it was dead straight. I set the left hand edge using a cunning trick which I discovered on the Happy Dragon Press website - just a piece of 30pt spacing stuck to the platen tympan with sticky tape. Simple! Much easier than the layguage pin, which I can never usually stick in quite the right place. I needed to check the position a few times as the print wandered off course a couple of times, but on the whole it was reasonably successful.

Registering the text on the Adana

I learnt the hard way that ink, like the printer, needs to be kept warm. It was freezing in the print shed when I started working on this project and the ink was most uncooperative. I think this is why the coverage on both layers of the print is not quite as dense as it should be. I now keep the ink in the house, so this week when I came to print the Christmas message inside a new batch of cards the ink was so much easier to roll and the print quality was much much better. Live and learn! 

By the way, if you're thinking that the tympan on the Adana looks a bit wavy then you'd be right. This is still the packing and tympan that came with the Adana and as it's exactly the right height I've been too nervous to sort it out. However, it's overdue replacement as I expect that wavy card isn't doing much for print quality! I'm curious to see what the previous owner used to pack the platen - it looks like there are magazine pages under that card...

1 comment:

  1. Your card didn't stay snarled up for long .... it arrived this morning. Thanks, it made me laugh out loud! Happy Christmas!