Sorting out a press mark for Semple Press has been really difficult for some reason, but I think I'm making progress on this now. I was very inspired by the Letterpress: Something to Say conference in November 2012 at the St Bride Library, and since then my thoughts on what I want to do at Semple Press have become a bit more coherent. Having 'something to say' is part of the story, but Semple Press is also becoming part of my graphic design practice - a way to explore graphic design history and experiment away from the screen. It's also a place where I can find my own voice away from paid work.
Using speech marks, or commas, or other pieces of actual type in the press mark seems to fit with this ethos, so last weekend I started messing with the punctuation.
I'll come clean here -- with the wooden type used above I only had two commas and two speechmarks and so after arranging them in pairs I printed a few copies then scanned and assembled these designs in photoshop. Is this allowed in letterpress circles? Don't care really; I was experimenting, not practicing my registration skills. The top two designs were made using commas, the rest with speechmarks. These worked so much better than I expected and I had forgotten that the negative space in the arrangements would have as much impact as the punctuation itself. What you can't see in the prints is the rest of the actual pieces of type, which is what dictates what you can and can't do to make this sort of pattern. This is why you end up with a completely different pattern with commas than you do with speechmarks. This is obvious now, less so when I started working on this!
There's definitely a press mark in here somewhere - or at least I'm on the right lines - but I need to live with them for a few days first.