Letterpress Printing Workshop
Words and Fotos Fabian Wittmann*
In the lower room of the Kulturwerkstatt, where animals once shared the feeding trough, is where you’ll find the letterpress printing workshop. A large door leads directly out to the pergola in the garden, and on hot summer days, it is pleasantly cool inside the old walls. A workplace could not be more beautiful. Finding peace and quiet here is no mean feat. Entering the room instantly sharpens your senses: feeling the paper, losing yourself in colour nuances and listening to the jingling of the old mechanics.
We remain in harmony with nature and with ourselves, carefully selecting working materials such as paper and cardboard according to their sustainability. We dont use anything toxic on our rollers, only environmentally friendly and largely biodegradable printing inks and solvents. All the machines are hand-operated and, with one exception, do not need electricity. The Boston platen is 150 years old and the oldest piece of equipment in the workshop. It presses the letters into the paper up to A5 format. For larger formats, we print on the Korrex press which has a maximum poster size of 35×50 cm. Thats quite something! A screen printing machine is also available for printing on textiles.
How does letterpress work?
Basically, anything that can be stamped can be printed. At the beginning there is always the question of the printing form; for simple typography wooden letters or lead types are used. If it should be more individual, it takes some time to prepare the cliche. That cliche we can expose from every computer graphic. It gets a bit more exquisite with images that can only be printed in rough raster in one colour – charming, like in old newspapers.
In addition to the printed products needed for the cultural association, we also accept external orders. The letterpress classics are business cards, labels, invitation cards and letterheads. Large text or artistic linocuts are best printed on poster paper, and the more extravagant items are customised with packaging such as boxes or envelopes.
The doors of the print workshop are open to anyone who is interested, with workshops available for 4-6 people who want to try their hand at printing.
For further information and enquiries contact:
*Fabian Wittmann is a designer and creator. Besides his passion for graphic and media design, he is addicted to the craft of printing. He completed his Piedmont beginner’s course in 2018 together with his wife Ulla as Artists in Residence. At the time, they had to take along a lot of excess baggage: the 250kg hand-printing platen had to go to Italy, too, of course. The crucible now stands in the in-house printing workshop, which is supervised by Fabian.