Hobby turns into an occupation
“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