Page 7 - April 2017
P. 7

x 14 foot treadle press and for the next   awareness of the powerful force of future
       few years he purchased ‘the outmoded   social graphics.’ This last quote is from
       letterpress equipment, including a 100   Ken Hardacre in The private press of Paul
       year old Thompson proofi ng press for £15   Peter Piech, in the May 1987 issue of
       in Reading’. At fi rst he used the metal type   Small Printer.
       that came with his machines but later he     Although I did not know his work at
       developed the freehand cut letters in Lino   the time when I was a student he was
       that became his distinctive style. The type   a memorable tutor and I am grateful to
       was used as script or included as part of   him for his encouraging and enthusiastic
       an illustration. He produced thousands   teaching.
       of posters and 75 books, all at home in     With thanks to Zoe Whitley for
       various garages and sheds wherever he   information and most of the images.
       lived.                                Some were taken at the exhibition and
        He fi nally retired from teaching in   some images of the miners from the book
       1986 and retired to Wales. In his printing   COAL.
       he took up many Welsh causes, such
       as the closure of the mining industry.            1973 Poster
       He produced a set of prints for a book
       with the poet John Gurney called ‘Coal,
       a Sonnet Sequence’. These are amongst
       his most moving works, in which he
       graphically describes the slowly dying life
       of the valleys. These will follow in another
       article.
         Throughout his life he was very
       politically aware. He was on the side of
       the under-dog and spoke out for human
       rights, supporting Amnesty International,
       CND, and many other organisations
       throughout the world. It is astonishing to
       see how topical many of his posters are
       in 2017! Even if you do not agree with his
       politics his skill with image and text are
       admirable.
         Paul Peter Piech died in 1996; he was
       still cutting images in lino in his hospital
       bed. He said ‘I think my work plays a
       very important part in the recording of
       contemporary world events through
       graphics and poster medium. And while
       commercial poster graphics still dominate
       the scene, this work that I do has a great
       infl uence on the younger generation
       of graphic artists and no doubt will be
       an encouraging factor towards greater
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