Page 21 - January 2015
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Kate Edwards (10743) biography                      learning yet. It’s a tough market I know, but
                                                    clearly one that’s in demand and, I’d say,
      read the appeal in last month’s issue         probably responsible in part for the boom
      of ‘Small Printer’ for more content, and      in letterpress and its revival as a cottage
      thought I might stick my neck out and         industry.
say a little bit about myself and see if I might
be able to connect with a few members and           The historian in me loves it, like I’ve always
get myself out there—why not, eh?                   loved typography and design, from medieval
                                                    manuscripts to old books. Letterpress gives
I’m a newly minted letterpress printer.             me plenty to research and get my teeth into.
About two years ago, I started to plan my           I’ve still got a lot to learn: colour theory,
exit strategy from my then career as a              mixing ink, marketing and how to keep
documentary television producer. I’d spent          motivated, to name but a few. BUT, I haven’t
a decade making films about fascinating             had a presenter or boss shouting at my hard-
things, but often under massive pressure and        working team and I haven’t given my mobile
I’d reached my limit for this very demanding        number to anyone who’s a bit too attached to
industry. Women over fourty simply disappear,       Sasquatch for their own good…
and the work is often elusive.
                                                    So this is a hello and friendly request
I’d come to television in 1995 via the lovely       for human contact with experienced
Channel 4 series Time Team. I spent 6 years         letterpressers or anyone like me, who is
working first as an archaeologist on the series     learning. I’d love to learn more about diff-
and then as a producer. Since then I’ve made        erent presses (currently I am using an Adana
factual programmes about everything under           8 X 5 and I learned to print on a Vandercook)
the sun, from DNA testing men who had been          as I’d like to beef up the size of my press. I’m
wrongly convicted of the most terrible crimes,      willing to be an apprentice and learn from
to a series about Death Row (compelling,            anyone who’s willing to share their knowledge
distressing, fascinating…). I’ve seen Bear Grylls   or who might be in a similar boat. I’ll travel,
in his birthday suit as he prepared to skin a       make tea, bring cake. I notice that new
snake/build a fire/jump out of a helicopter, and    members are steadily joining the BPS and I
filmed ancient Shipwrecks, to name but a few.       think that at least some of those might be
My last project was both the best and worst to      following a similar path to me perhaps.
date—a Channel 4 series on Bigfoot with the
lovely TV vet Mark Evans. One despotic boss         I realise I may be one of the new breed of
and a whole bunch of crazy Californians later it    letterpress printers that worry people a bit—
was, I’d decided, the last project I’d ever do. No  a Jonny come lately who’s missed the golden
more working for someone else. Time enough          age and now wants to modernise it with ‘deep
left for a 3rd career, I decided...                 impressions’ and photopolymer... All I can say
                                                    is that I love it and I intend to do it as well as
So just about 12 months ago, I finished both of     I possibly can, from first principles, and I’m
Angie Butler’s marvellous courses in letterpress    proud to be part of the revival in this country.
at UWE in Bristol, armed with the knowledge         And if you get in touch I’ll tell you what
that I definitely did love printing and that I had  Baldrick’s really like.
the willingness to take the plunge and give
letterpress a whirl as a viable small business,                                                           21
designing and printing wedding stationery.
I’d done my homework, and haven’t stopped
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