One of the special projects that will be a part of my upcoming show will be a letterpress broad side I’ve just printed. One of the awards I received when I graduated from ANU school of art in 2009 was the Ampersand Duck Broadside Residency. This gave me the chance to work with Ampersand (aka Caren Florance) to produce a broadside. Broadside (or broadsheet) historically refered to any single sheet of paper printed with text on one side – ie, the original poster. These days broadsides are fine art productions using a combination of image and text, often poetry.
The poem I chose is called Sky by New Zealand poet Brian Turner. It ended up quite a complex project, with the image made up of a relief print from a borer eaten section of Acacia trunk, a moderate sized wood engraving (on a commercial birch block), and the type. The result however looks elegant and simple.
Below is the carved 4″ x 5″ block and the engraving tools.
and a proof print. The block got significant changes between this print and the final version.
My piece of acacia trunk, lovingly sanded smooth and ready for hand printing in Caren’s lovely studio – look at all that nice woody and printy stuff!
Caren fine tuning the type and the wood engraving on her press.
To see some more images of the process, including the finished print (and info on how to buy one!) have a look at what Caren said about it here. Or better yet, come along to the show at The Front Gallery in Canberra.