This weekend past we brought Press Genepy to the Essex Country Show at Barleylands in Billericay. It was a long standing invitation from the Essex Branch of the British Printing Society, http://bpsnet.org.uk/ which I have belonged to since we started on the printing path. However up to this point I hadn’t really been active, just going to open days to chat and buy equipment, and of course receiving the well produced(as you’d expect!)and interesting monthly magazine.
This was stepping up a gear!
Arriving on Friday late afternoon, we were greeted by Len, Ron and Margaret who had put up the marquee and installed their own displays. We erected Press Genepy and got ready as much as possible until darkness fell; then, after a quick drink in the beer tent we returned to the caravan for supper and an improbably early night.
On Saturday we were joined by Chris of the Haven Press and his wife Jenny, who added three Adana machines to the show, enabling visitors to try their hands at printing a souvenir. Len has a Pearl Press, manufactured in 1900, on which he added youngsters ‘ names to a “Wanted” poster. I could immediately see the inferiority of my own printing, but our press is a big bit of hardware that I hope served to catch the eye and draw visitors in. We were also joined by John and Gwen for that day. The following morning two more members, Mike and Jim, arrived and we had another busy day chatting to the many visitors that passed through and giving out little fun printed items to children – Bunnycopters (the ears of a paper rabbit make it spin when thrown into the air) and Thunderclaps (noisy fun for the bolder kids) . The amount of old time printers dropping in was remarkable. In many ways printing was one of the heavy industries of East London and many had stories to share. It was fun to recognise a chap who had visited us back in May during the re enactment event at Valence Park in Dagenham. There was time too, to stroll and visit the many other craft displays, including a very talented wood and stone carver, Andy Hibberd. http://www.andyhibberd.co.uk/index.html
After returning home, we were delighted to see that our joint efforts had been featured in “Print Week”, the leading magazine for the printing industry. The press was described as 14th century French, which is not quite right but I am not concerned.
My aim in attending this event was to get criticism and feedback from other BPS members about my press. My wish was granted, as I got lots of helpful advice. I knew that the ’emboss’ effect is a fault, and I have a plan now to overcome it. The importance of correct packing was emphasised and I learnt how to remedy warping in woodblocks. There are some highly skilled and creative printers in the BPS, yet the atmosphere is friendly and inclusive. I’d recommend membership to anyone with an interest. I hope that one day my printing will be good enough to be included in a bundle or a branch collaboration. Still, I must be on the way there – I now have picked up how to make and wear a proper paper printer’s hat!