GTO Printers Blog

Award Winning Specialist Printing Company

Situated in Birkenhead on Auckland's North Shore

EST. 1989


Italians in New Zealand to learn letterpress!

Monday, July 9th, 2012


The letterpress workshops at GTO Printers have proved to be very popular, with seven run so far this year. I was contacted in late June by two people from Italy who had learned of them, and were very keen to participate in one before they returned home. With a bit of juggling I set up an extra workshop for July 7, and soon had two more folk signed up to make a quad!


Jenny and Gra are a delightful couple from Rome, both illustrators, and working together in their own business A couple with fun and innovative design ideas, they have had success in making contacts and establishing outlets for their work while here in New Zealand.


Bob Allen was my helper on the day, a very experienced hand typographer and designer, who has won international awards for his graphic design work, and is a judge for the New Zealand Pride in Print awards. Bob was able to give us helpful background in layout and working within the limitations of lead and wood type, and generously passed on tips from his vast knowledge of time spent in the the print industry in New Zealand and overseas. There has to be a different approach working in letterpress, and Bob's past life came to our rescue throughout the day.


It was a pleasure to have Jenny and Gra join me, along with Laura and Dulcie, two ladies also keen to see what handling type and getting inky fingers on a small press is all about. They each went home with a pile of printed goodies they had handset and printed themselves, and very enthusiastic to do more some time. I use Adana 8x5 presses for the workshops. Although Adanas were always considered just a hobby press, they are the perfect machine to teach the principles of letterpress printing. They demonstrate the clamshell method of letterpress machines and are a safe, non threatening little machine which can give very satisfactory results. There are still plenty of them around, selling at reasonable prices (most of the time) and all parts are still available. Jenny and Gra are looking to set up a letterpress side to their business in Rome. Finding a suitable press will be a challenge, but they do have one to follow up when they return. Guidance and training will be their other challenge. I hope they found the day's workshop useful when making some fairly major decisions they will face. The next day they visited the MOTAT workshop to see other presses running, and talk with Ted Higgins, who seems to know how to run any press on the earth! I will be following their journey into the world of letterpress printing. Look at their website for photos Jenny took which are better than mine!

Have a safe journey back to Italy.

And in my best Italian . . . Arrivederci Auguri Buon viaggio Torni presto Mi è piaciuto molto. Buonanotte!