Went to see Tanja at Opera Australia joint in Surry Hills the other day. Apart from seeing the backstage of where they make costumes, build stages and create props – I mainly went there to look at her new toy, a 1895 Chandler & Price letterpress.
Weighting “only” around 1 tonne, this 1x1m machine was delivered there on a crane… how else would you even move this thing?
Some of it’s mechanism. Very manual, very slow, very strong and apparently you need to watch your fingers.
Didn’t get to actually print anything this time, or take photos of any of the finished work, but when someone says they still use traditional technology – this would be a perfect example.
You don’t really realise how much we take our current 1,000s of fonts for granted, until you see this. Here you work with what you got. Each font, each size, each letter is separate. Each needs to be set and I’m not even talking about the fact that most of these letters are second hand, have been used for years and now are not exactly the same height… which means your print won’t come out perfectly clear either. The results that come out are a little random, a little crooked and sometimes unclear, but that’s the beauty behind this machine. Every single print has it’s own personality, it was custom made and you will think twice before throwing it away (well, some would).
Wish I took some photos of the finished work to show, but it’s ok – next time!