I have always loved typeface, fonts and graphics. It’s no surprise really, being that I am the daughter of a printer/publisher. As a child, I spent many a happy hour around my Father’s magnificent old printing press in his studio. I loved everything about it, but it was the smell of ink, the dirty hands from inking and the fact of making one’s own work that I loved best of all. This beautiful printer now sits unused in a museum back in England.
I used to love helping him typeset. I’d to and fro from the various wooden trays of font, handing him whichever points he required, watching him carefully and skillfully set the type into place. Once that was done and he was satisfied that it was perfect, the ink was squeezed out onto a large, thick slab of limestone and spread with a palette knife. I was then allowed to roll the ink. This for a child is the equivalent of being allowed to stir the cake mix and lick the spoon. I loved the viscous sound of the syrupy ink as its gummy pigment, slowly worked itself onto the roller. We then had to ink the type. This was left to Dad since it’s important to make sure that all the surfaces of the type have the same amount of ink on them. Once done, the paper was laid over the top of the type and then the press bed rolled under the plate. With a strong pull on the heavy wooden press handle the printer rolled into life and the bed shifted forwards, then back again as the press handle was gently released. Woe betide you if you let the handle go!
Carefully the material and coverings that were used to keep the paper in place during printing were lifted off and with much excitement, the fresh smell of new print was there right in front of us. I’d take my ‘Wanted, Dead, or Alive’ poster and proudly go and hang it up on the line stretched across the studio to dry.
I haven’t done any printing on a press for years but hopefully in a few weeks, the Irishman will have got going with the screen print frames and light box and it will be all systems go, Bali way. That’s what I’m hoping.
For now though I just wanted to show you just some of the graphics that I love here in Indonesia. You’d be amazed how excited I can get about designs on packets of tea, cotton reels, fabrics and various packages. I’ve started to build up a treasure trove of various things that appeal to me. I hope you like them too.