John runs a private letterpress studio up in Coupar Angus he’s been honing his craft since 1963 and continues to create beautiful work.
To tell you how I first met John I need to introduce Kevin Sinclair, a 4th year Product Design student and DJCAD. Kevin got in touch with me last year to go for a coffee and a chat. We left the meeting on the terms that we could potentially work on a project together if the right brief or opportunity arose. This summer Kevin got back in touch saying that he’s been up in Coupar Angus doing some letterpress printing with John and that I should come up and meet him.
I duly went up and we had a 3 hour chat about art, design, printing and everything in between. I saw the logical conclusion to the first meet up that I should have both of the guys on the podcast and then we should collaborate to create a couple of prints.
Print #01 from the collaboration, you can purchase it on the cccdundee store.
This week’s episode is my conversation with John. I think we talked for somewhere between 2 and 2.5 hours. It was a bit of a nightmare to edit but I just didn’t want to cut John off as he’s a fountain of knowledge and has so many amazing anecdotes.
I think what also fascinates me about John is his aversion to doing anything for money. He’s built his career teaching and doing prints for poets or charities on the side. This way he’s kept his printing as a passion and a creative release.
Looking round his studio, which is housed in a separate building next to his home, you can instantly see the care taken in his craft. So many beautiful posters and postcards adorn the walls. Drawers of type stretch from floor to ceiling and there are machines everywhere. Despite the sheer volume of stuff in the space it still has the feel of a museum and I think that’s deliberate on John’s part. To create a living working museum where he can go and loose himself for days on end.
We cover so many interesting facets of his career but what surprised me most was John’s positivity about the future of letterpress. Looking at the use of 3d printing to recreate type and younger designers bringing passion to the method, he sees a bright future. Myself, John and Kevin spent a day playing in the studio to create the 2 prints but I learned a lot in that time. Mainly that we are so privileged with the speed at which we can produce designs these days.
John’s Website – http://quartopress.co.uk/
John’s Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/Press-Here-Letterpress-Workshop-193393784018075/
John’s Twitter – https://twitter.com/quartopress
Introduction to letterpress: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmg7yCEphrA
Penrose annual – http://www.eyemagazine.com/feature/article/by-printers-for-printers
Printing for Pleasure – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Printing-Pleasure-John-Ryder/dp/0370104439
Monotype – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monotype_System
Linotype – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linotype_machine
Letraset – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/blogs-magazine-monitor-24107202
Photosetting – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phototypesetting
Podcast recommendation #07 – Design Details – https://spec.fm/podcasts/design-details