Glory, Azure & Gold

It’s always a nerve-wracking moment when a book makes its first trip back to the press from the binders (how’s the inking/are the pages in the correct order) but it has been a joy to revisit the pages of Glory, Azure & Gold a book we printed for Reed Contemporary Books at the back end of 2015.

The book contains a selection of 12 stained-glass windows by Thomas Denny, each accompanied by an essay or poem, with photographs of the windows by James O. Davies and Rebecca Lane. It was a pleasure working with our pal Nick Hand on the design, where we used two of Eric Gill’s typefaces, Perpetua (for the body text) and Gill sans (titles), both set in Monotype at The Whittington Press.

The edition was bound by the Fine Book Bindery and printed in an edition of 125 copies, further details of which can be found here.



Monotype Borders. Modules 5 and 6.

Continuing the investigation in to Monotype Borders, Modules 5 and 6 follow a similar format to the 1-4 in the sequence; twenty-four 12 x 18 em rectangles made from 12-, 18- and 36 point Monotype Borders. The borders are printed in three colours and the individual units used are identified at the bottom of the print by their Monotype serial number.

Monotype Borders, Modules 5 & 6, are printed on Zerkall Rosa paper in editions of 50 (red) and 40 (blue) and measure 43 x 56 cm. Both prints are available from my shop here.



NOER: creating new wood type

A few notes on NOER, a wood type designed by Richard Keleman and cut by pantograph in to hard Maple. Richard is a Hungarian designer who spent some time with us during summer ’14.

I’ve had a big blue box sitting in the corner of the press for the best part of 6 months. The laser cutter came from China and engraves/cuts in to wood very precisely whilst I stand nearby, eyes streaming. It has been handy for a few projects but somehow it feels like cheating. So I had been looking for a way in which to combine it with a more analogue process, with something for which I would need to use my hands & brainpower.

I purchased this model of pantograph, a David Dowling, from a jeweller who used it for incising wrist watches and pendants and at a guess it dates from the ’60’s. He told me the key to cutting fast and accurately is to make sure you are looking at the cutting blade, not the stylus, whilst you work which is not easy.

The pantograph has a spinning blade which takes direction from a stylus. As your hand guides the stylus around a pattern, the cutter follows in the same direction, cutting in to wood as it goes.

Before beginning to cut with the pantograph the patterns and the ‘blank’ wood need to be prepared. We found the preparation of wood to be the most time consuming part of the process, especially in plaining it down to exactly type height (0.918″). Layers of shellac and pumice are then worked in to the surface and repeatedly sanded down, leaving a smooth, hard finish. The patterns are easier, cut in 3mm ply using the laser cutter and mounted on to more 3mm ply.

The pattern and the ‘blank’ wood type are both secured to the bed of the pantograph where printing furniture and quoins come in handy. We found we were more consistent when making two cuts. The first cut is a rough cut which relatively quickly removes most of the inside of the letter with a wide ended blade. Then a smaller, angled blade moves anti-clockwise around the letter leaving a crisp edge. The type is then trimmed by saw before the inside angles of the type, impossible to make with a spinning rotary blade, are finished by hand.