We're always pleased if we can organise some practical demonstrations to take place at the fair, and this year we have persuaded Sue Shaw to show off her paper marbling skills and Martin Kochany once again to display the fine art of letterpress printing. Both techniques have been in use for more than 500 years, and each still has a special beauty and attraction today.
The demonstrations will take place on Saturday only - Sue's is scheduled for 1pm and Martin's for 3pm.
Short notice, I know, but if you're within reach, why not take a trip to the Bluecoat in Liverpool this saturday to see the Juniper Press letterpress workshop, newly established by Kenneth Burnley, Sue Mclaren and Elizabeth Willow. See also chloweb.wordpress.com for a little letterpress art.
Hot Bed Press are taking part in the Manchester Weekender today - stay with this, there is some book fair relevance - with a couple of wandering Radical Print workshops. They're making their numb-fingered, chilly-eared (wiser souls opted for hats) way up and down the Oxford Road corridor, handing out 'radical' (for a given value of radical) posters and leaflets, and either twittertyping or letterpressing for passers-by as they go.
The MABF connection? That very adana press (in the first photo) will be the one making a guest appearance at the fair next week.
If you've read much of this blog, you might well already be aware that Elizabeth Willow became the second resident book artist at Hot Bed Press. Let her tell you about it herself:
After the long journey, on buses and train, then walking past old pubs and dandelion-starred patches of grass, I get there. Open the front door, up the worn stairs. Open the next door, into the smell of stone and metal and ink, into the sunlight slanting through the windows, and there is here; here I am, among the kind and beautiful presses, rescued and resplendent; among the other printmakers, turning handles and smoothing paper; here we are in our aprons and smudges of ink.
I have loved becoming intimate with this place, with its corners and cupboards and drawers and depths. I relish the camaraderie, tea and laughter and frowning concentration; the hip-handed and shaking-headed sharing of work, ideas, mistakes and triumphs. The opportunity and freedom to be both brilliant and not very good at all, to get better and to learn.
I have loved becoming intimate with this process, with the painstaking, delightful discipline that is letterpress printing; learning the lay of the case, finding myself out of sorts, minding my p’s and my q’s. Spending hour upon hour setting metal type, any and every story at my fingertips, the meeting of lead and ink and paper. Thought made real, words weighty in my hands.
I took up residence here, and it has become one of the places that feel like home. I come and go, past the old pubs and dandelion-starred patches of grass. I can’t now imagine not having been here before; I can’t now imagine not always coming back.
Elizabeth Willow is a fine artist based in Liverpool, who makes sculpture, installations, performance and, increasingly, artist’s books. Her work explores our relationship with objects and with place, and is often inspired by found objects, lost things and overlooked details. After showing work at the 6th Manchester Artists’ Book Fair, she was invited by Hot Bed Press to become Book Artist in Residence during 2012. Since then she has exhibited her books more widely, and has work in various private and public collections, including The Centre for Fine Print Research and Tate Britain.
As borrowed from this year's catalogue. Elizabeth decided we needed to freshen up our letterpress bookmark flyers so she set this (there are still plenty of fonts left for her to play with next time round) - she's been doing nearly all the printing of them too, and now they're being scattered across various locations in Manchester.
We thought it would be ideal for the text on the catalogue front cover as well. The surround is a fabric pattern and the whole is produced by our usual ecofriendly risograph printers, marc.
Recently Hot Bed Press has run a pilot scheme for a letterpress residency. David Armes has been the first letterpress artist in residence and has spent much time sharpening up his letterpress skills and being part of an ongoing organisation of the Hot Bed Press letterpress collection. He has also given demonstrations at Manchester's John Rylands library, run a Letterpress for Designers course and collaborated with last year’s resident book artist Elizabeth Willow - they are busy collaborating once again to produce something for this autumn's 20:20 print exchange (an inter-workshop exchange set up by Hot Bed Press).
‘Lead & ink’ (2012, Hot Bed Press) is a collaborative box project created by Elizabeth Willow and David Armes, artists-in-residence at Hot Bed Press during 2012. It explores the artists’ journey through letterpress printmaking - the history, possibility and wonder of this durable method of rendering words and images via ink and paper.
Here's a little more about David in his own words, with links to other work:
David Armes is a letterpress printmaker specialising in custom-made music packaging for CD, vinyl and download releases. With a focus on the clean lines and fine detail that the letterpress print process uniquely delivers, his printed work has been featured in publications such as The Sunday Times, Uncut, Artrocker and Maverick. He is Label Manager at Little Crackd Rabbit Records and plays music as part of Last Harbour and A.R.C. Soundtracks.
There will be further development of the letterpress residency in due course.
Hot Bed Press has lots of lovely letterpress and letterpress furniture - enough that some of it counts as more than we need.
So at the fair this year there will be a table selling some of it off to letterpress fans keen to have kit of their own. We can't say yet exactly what will be up for grabs - you'll have to come see for yourself - but if you know anyone else who would love to start or to grow a collection of lead type, pass the message on.
Another handful of book artist details added to the MABF exhibitors' page today - I do enjoy all the booking forms coming in, being first to see who will be at the fair this year and what their work is like.
Look at this lovely, subtle morsel of letterpress from Elizabeth Willow's work - Elizabeth was the 2012 Hot Bed Press resident book artist, chosen at the 2011 fair.
When there's new information concerning the Manchester Artists' Book Fair, or anything else to do with book arts that we think might be of interest, we'll make sure it turns up here.