Derby Book Festival

derbybookfestival_colour_logo_smallWe’re very proud to announce that we’re partnering the Derby Book Festival this year with a programme of events related to all things bookish!

The festival, which is a little over a week long, runs throughout mid-June from June 9th – June 17th and happily coincides with the arrival of Paul Cummins’ Poppies: Weeping Window at the Silk Mill.

We kick off with two events on Saturday June 10th where you’ll find Chris at Derby’s first ever Book Fair in the Silk Mill with his trusty table top press and trademark bowler hat and I’ll be hosting a Beginners Bookmaking workshop. This workshop has already sold out but you can still book onto other sessions which are held on a regular monthly basis – check out our Eventbrite page for more details.

We’re holding two Letterpress Bookplate workshops on June 15th with the evening session also having sold out, but never fear, places are still available for the afternoon session, 1-4pm!

Saturday 17th June is the final day of the book festival, and Smallprint’s second Open Day of the year. Join us throughout the day to view Christine Stangroom’s prints entitled Footprints and Matt Edwards beautifully bound books and origami sculptures. You can also have a go at printing on our proofing press and browse our little shop.

Matt is also hosting a bookbinding workshop during the latter part of the day, which we’re thrilled about and is a fantastic opportunity to learn simple case binding with. Matt will be teaching the basics of a simple, single section case binding technique and attendees can expect to take away a beautifully bound hard backed book for their collection.

When he’s not Curator for Visual Art and the Joseph Wright Study Centre at Derby’s Museum and Art Gallery, Matt is a Conservation, Restoration and Artist’s Book Maker. Examples of Matt’s work can be seen on his blog and he can often be found over on Twitter @MattBookbinding.

We hope to see you during this absolutely fabulously bookish week!

 

 

 

Working with illustrator Rob Chapman

Many of you will already be familiar with the work of artist and illustrator Rob Chapman through our Herb Garden and Farmyard greetings card collections.

Rob provides beautiful illustrations to accompany letterpress text on cards, all of which are printed in our studio on one of the vintage presses.

Rob is an illustrator who worked in gouache for many years, specialising in military illustration and educational resources. In recent years, he has turned to printmaking, initially with linocut, before discovering the intricate world of wood engraving.

 

Rob has shown in two Printmakers Council exhibitions in recent times: ‘Pushing Boundaries’ at the Farmleigh Gallery, Dublin before moving onto an Arts Centre in Ireland [citation needed]. Pushing Boundaries was a group exhibition curated by The Printmakers Council.

The second show, ‘Loosely Bound’, has been at the Hampstead Literary and Technical Institute in London before moving to The Printroom in Suffolk.

Rob has also had a piece of work accepted for the Printmakers Council Archive in Scarborough Museum and Art Gallery.

We were very lucky to showcase some of Rob’s work in the Gallery Space at the end of 2016 and we’re very much looking forward to welcoming him back in the future.

You can follow Rob’s blog at robchapmanartistprintmaker.com

The Farmyard and Herb Garden Collections are available  to buy through our etsy shop under Lino & Wood Engravings. As well as being beautiful cards to send to friends and family, they do look great framed and hanging on the wall.

National Stationery Week – Why handwriting and letterpress go hand in hand

Here at The Smallprint Company we love letterpress, but we also love stationery. We take great pride in producing beautiful handcrafted gift cards, wedding stationery, and business cards.

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National Stationery Week and the Writing Matters campaign got us thinking about how important the art of handwriting is to our business. One of the main reasons why we are able to make and sell gift cards is because people still want to sit down and write a thoughtful message to their friend or family member.

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And it is not all that surprising that handwriting has survived the advent of the digital age. While word processing does enable you to create clean, professional-looking documents, it cannot stimulate your creativity in the same way that jotting away with a pen and paper can (indeed, writing this blog might have taken far longer had I not brainstormed in my notebook first!). The feeling of forming letters on the page is also far more therapeutic than bashing away at a keyboard.

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Furthermore, handwriting is not only beneficial to the person who writes the message, but also to the receiver. A letter or card is a tangible object, not an image on a screen. Moreover, an email, text message, or social media post reeks of efficiency and convenience, yet a handwritten message shows thoughtfulness and caring. It shows that you mean every word you write and are not just sending the message because you feel you should. It shows that you genuinely want to brighten the person’s day. And it shows that time and effort has gone into the message.

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In the same way, choosing a letterpress gift card rather than an e-card, digitally personalised card, or mass-produced card from the high street, shows that you have thought carefully about what to buy for your loved one, making the card a gift in itself rather than a mere accompaniment to a present. A unique letterpress design is far more personal than a generic ‘Happy birthday Mum’ card, and is likely to be kept and treasured rather than taken off the mantelpiece and thrown away when the next birthday comes around. As we like to say, ‘If you love it – frame it!’

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Handwriting and letterpress have both been going on for hundreds of years. Both are threatened by this brave new digital world, but they possess much more than sentimental value. They demonstrate our appreciation for others and they are pleasurable processes in themselves. And above all, they combine to produce beautiful pieces of stationery.

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To find out more about National Stationery Week, visit http://www.nationalstationeryweek.com/ and follow @NatStatWeek on Twitter. Don’t forget to use the National Stationery Week hashtags!

#natstatweek

#writing matters

#worldstationeryday

#stationeryaddict

#keepkidswriting

#getorganised

#keepbritainwriting

#lovestationery

#thankyouthursday

#fountainpenfriday

#handmadeday

#pencilday

#writealetterday

 

Full Swing: Format Festival

It’s been a very busy few weeks for The Smallprint Co, working on commissions, a business trip to the beautiful city of Prague and hosting the Format Festival to name but a few things we are involved with.

We’re really proud to be hosting work by Miia Autio and Farhad Berahman whose works focuses on people who have left their home country – in Farhad’s case, Iranians in exile and for Miia, Rwandan refugees.

Format Festival 2017 – Habitat

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We are very pleased to announce that The Smallprint Company will be a host venue for two of Format’s artists during their bi-annual event this March.

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Running from March 24th – April 23rd 2017, see the work of Farhad Berahman and Miia Autio in situ.

Join us on Saturday 25th March for an Open Day, including Meet the Artist and letterpress demonstrations.

Workshops during the festival:

  • Farhad Berahman will be running a couple of workshops from The Creative Space at The Smallprint Co. – more information coming soon.
  • Beginners Bookbinding Workshop – April 8, 2-4.30pm (ONE place left)
  • Photo Album Workshop – April 22, 2-5pm

To book a place on the bookbinding or photo album workshops email hello@smallprintcompany.co.uk or visit Eventbrite (booking fees apply)

Opening hours at The Smallprint Company during Format Festival

Monday – Saturday 10am – 5pm.

 

Bookbinding workshops in The Creative Space

NEW for 2017! Beginners Bookbinding workshops

Our Beginners Bookbinding workshops are run once a month on a Saturday afternoon and are already proving popular.

I ran the first workshop last weekend with 2 artists and both students went away with their own hardback, Japanese bound book – and hopefully an insight into how to carry on with their newfound skill.

Aimed at those with little or no experience of binding, we learn how to cover a board with a paper or fabric, assemble the book and stitch with one of the basic Japanese or stab bindings.

If you would like to make a book specific to a project – photography, art or even a wedding perhaps – contact Hannah to discuss.

If you would like to learn this absorbing craft, book onto a workshop either by emailing hello@smallprintcompany.co.uk or via our Eventbrite page (booking fees apply).

Derby Makers Project

At the end of last year we welcomed Daniel Dytrych to the studio for a photographic interview that is featured in his latest project, the Derby Makers Project. Dan’s stunning work captures people and places in a naturally captivating way without feeling that you’re the subject.

The Derby Makers Project documents the craftspeople in and around Derby. You can read the full interview here.

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The Bodleian Library and Shakespeare

Earlier this year the Bodleian Libraries’ Centre for the Study of the Book announced its ‘Sonnets 2016’ project to commemorate the 400th year since the death of Shakespeare. Printers across the world were invited to take part by reproducing one of Shakespeare’s 154 Sonnets. Those who responded early got their pick first, with most of the more famous and recognisable ones getting snapped up quickly. Within a very short space of time all the Sonnets were assigned and we were fortunate to get Sonnet 48 (not one I was familiar with but one I have since got to know rather well).

The brief was very open, a lot less prescribed than some collaborative print shows I have taken part in. All that was required was that the process must be a form of relief printing, with the paper size and edition left down to the printer’s discretion. My initial thought was ‘this is going to be easy’, but I was to discover that sometimes having a wide open brief can leave you staring blankly at a clean sheet of paper.

The more I thought about this, the greater the expectation I had for the print. After all, this is a unique opportunity to contribute, in however small a way, to Shakespeare’s legacy. This print is going into the Bodleian Libraries forever, so this has to be something special.

2016 has been a busy year for Smallprint Co. Mainly because we moved our studio and set up a small gallery/shop, together with doing the day-to-day business. The summer galloped by and very soon a warm September was racing towards me. The deadline for the Sonnets 2016 was the 30th, so with this in mind, it was time to sharpen up the pencil and get the final sketches together.

Choosing a typeface was the first decision, though in the end I opted for one which I often default to. It’s a beautiful ‘old style’ and it has the advantage of being a substantial full font with little risk of getting ‘out of sorts’. This was one of my unlabeled cases that I acquired a couple of years ago, and through a degree of detective work I have identified as ‘Jenson’ 12pt, a foundry typeface by Stephenson Blake and based on William Morris’ Golden Type.

Reading over the sonnet I tried to get some inspiration for the form. Shakespeare makes reference to keeping love locked in a chest and this led me to develop an idea around a box shape form for the text. I didn’t want it to be too literal and began with setting the type fully justified in the centre of the sheet. I didn’t think that it lent itself enough to the ‘box’ idea, but then thought about spinning round to form a neat diamond. This of course raised more challenges in calculating the increasing and decreasing line widths, making sure to avoid too many hyphens and rivers. Several adjustments were made over a couple of days as it always helps to walk away from a job and look again with fresh eyes. It seemed that each time a line was altered the changes cascaded down the text making more adjustments necessary, a river would form or a line would look ragged or too condensed.

The final print was produced in an edition of 20 on Somerset cotton paper, with one copy submitted to the Bodleian Library and the remainder available to purchase. In the end it was a pleasure to work on and gave me the chance to try some new tricks and experiment with structure. I hope you enjoy the final print.

Christopher Barker

Printer

If you are interested in owning a copy, details can be found here. 
You can follow The Bodleian’s blog on all the sonnets received from around the world here

Mail Art Project

We have a call out for a new Mail Art project with a nice long deadline (so don’t panic!).

Based upon the new dictionary definition ‘post-truth’, we shall be exhibiting the results in our gallery space in October 2017.

The Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year is a word or expression chosen to reflect the passing year in language.

 Post-truth has been nominated as the Oxford Dictionaries Word of the Year 2016 and is an adjective defined as ‘relating to or denoting circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’. 

[ref: https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/word-of-the-year/word-of-the-year-2016]

Full details can be found here and we look forward to receiving your contributions!