Hobby turns into an oc­cu­pa­tion

The Shed - - Handprinti­ng -

“They used them to print ev­ery­thing from vol­umes of Shake­speare’s po­etry to the daily news­pa­pers. In those days it was a two-man op­er­a­tion — one putting on the ink and the other the pa­per, and they worked in­cred­i­bly fast,” Tara ex­plains. “They would do up to 250 im­pres­sions an hour — that’s just fly­ing along. I find 100 an hour is chal­leng­ing, and although they worked so quickly they made very few mis­takes.” As well as the Al­bion, Tara also has a cylin­der press from the 1950s. “It works on the same ba­sic prin­ci­ples but it’s a lot faster to use than the Al­bion where you have to ink and feed the pa­per in by hand. The type is locked into the press and although it’s still hand op­er­ated the roller feeds the pa­per and the ink flow is con­sis­tent,” he says.

What started as a hobby has be­come pretty much a full-time oc­cu­pa­tion. Largely self-taught Tara says he has worked out most of the pro­cesses him­self over the years and has done print­ing work­shops at uni­ver­si­ties. His ex­per­tise is al­ways in de­mand and his limited-edi­tion books are held in gal­leries, col­lec­tions, and li­braries in

“I started pick­ing up col­lec­tions of fonts very cheaply”

Above Tara check­ing a print. The cylin­der press is in the fore­ground Be­low: Pho­topoly­mer plates and printed tui and kowhai

A print com­ing off the cylin­der press

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