Uncategorized

Looking into Letterpress with Carolyn Fraser – The Presses

by Jenny Butler
Thursday 14th July 2011

Given how stressful moving house can be, I cannot imagine just how daunting it would be to move a 500kg 1925 printing press from one side of the world to the other. Oh, and the rest of the studio as well. Carolyn Fraser did just that and thankfully everyone lived to tell the tale! – Jenny x

Carolyn’s Chandler & Price 10×15 platen press (1925) in her Collingwood Studio.

An interest in letterpress can begin with a book or a business card, but by necessity, is can quickly veer into a interest, or even an obsession, with equipment. Printers love to talk about their presses – their provenance, their quirks, the sheer hellishness of moving a press. One of my students sent me a photograph recently of her new-old press being craned over a hedge!

Loading Carolyn’s studio in Cleveland, Ohio onto the back of a truck (in snow!)

My life, I’m certain, has been shortened by days at least by the stresses of moving my equipment. If, like me, you look up from a gorgeously printed book and find yourself in possession of 500 kilos of press, I have just the moving guys for you if you are either in Melbourne, Australia or Cleveland, Ohio! In the meantime, you might want to slake your thirst for cast iron by visiting some presses and getting a feel for the kind of beast you are looking for.

Tying all the studio equipment down and preparing to ship it to Australia

Carolyn’s studio off the truck and setup in her Collingwood Studio – see the full tour here.

The Melbourne Museum of Printing is in the process of re-establishing itself in a new location in Footscray, and are looking for volunteers to help. Over the years, Michael Isaachsen has amassed a vast collection of presses and related equipment. Further afield, The Penrith Museum of Printing, ‘The Old Dimboola Banner’ Print Museum in Victoria, the Whiteman Park Print Shop in Perth and the Gulgong Pioneer Museum all have working displays. Some also offer practical instruction. Sourcing equipment is difficult, but in my experience, printers retired from the trade, riggers and press mechanics will have leads on presses sitting idle and desperate for care.

- Carolyn x


by Jenny Butler
Thursday 14th July 2011

1 comments

  • Cathg1g2 3 years ago

    Ooh what a gorgeous environment to work in!

You might also like

by Lucy Feagins
Friday 31st October 2014
6
by Lucy Feagins
Thursday 30th October 2014
2
by Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 29th October 2014
10
Julia Busuttil Nishimura & Nori Nishimura
Tuesday 28th October 2014
by Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 28th October 2014
4
by Georgina Reid
Monday 27th October 2014
10
by Lucy Feagins
Friday 24th October 2014
17
by Lucy Feagins
Wednesday 22nd October 2014
18
Julia Busuttil Nishmura & Nori Nishimura
Tuesday 21st October 2014
2
by Lucy Feagins
Thursday 23rd October 2014
6
by Lucy Feagins
Tuesday 21st October 2014
by Amber Creswell Bell
Monday 20th October 2014