7/12/2015

Mind your P's and Q's.

     
Around this time forty years ago, I graduated from art college. I had studied textile design at The Manchester School of Art and Design- now Manchester Metropolitan University. I met up with my fellow graduate friend Pam and had a lovely day reminiscing about our student days, our hopes and dreams all those years ago. We enjoyed exploring old haunts and discovering the more recent additions to the city.


When we were students The John Rylands Library was something of a mystery to us, in fact I don’t really remember it ever being accessible to the public until fairly recently. It is now one of Manchester’s tourist attractions and welcomes visitors with open arms. It also has a more modern extension with exhibition areas, cloakrooms, a café and a shop.


Like many of Manchester’s buildings the library was designed in the Neo-Gothic style so loved by the Victorians. It has many splendid features, beautiful stained glass, hidden balconies, amazing ceilings and books of course! It also hosts exhibitions and houses several printing presses and we both wished we had the space and funds to own at least one of those presses.

Although an Albion style press is far too large and difficult to accommodate, the Adana is much more suited to home use. So, when my blog friend Gretel told me she had one in need of a good home, how could I refuse?

Adana 8 by 5 without rollers
Those of you who are familiar with Gretel will be pleased to know that she is doing well, busy as ever and enjoying life in rural “Middle of Nowhere”. She made us some scrumptious scones and a lovely day was had by all. I returned with this- An Adana 8 by 5.

I hope to someday use the press to print my wood engravings, small lino prints and maybe even some type. In order to learn more about the press and how to restore and use it, I decided to take myself off to this amazing place- The St Bride Foundation, which offers classes in printmaking and typography. It is situated just off Fleet Street in London and is well worth a visit if you are ever in the area.


Learning about typography is fascinating. If you have ever used a word processor or computer application you will be familiar with font sizes and types. It all fits into place when you realise that a point is an actual measurement- an inch divide into 72.

Next time you select a 12-point font think of it as a measurement, 12 over 72 is one sixth of an inch also known as a pica. My head is in a spin.

The other thing you have to be very careful of is minding your P’s and Q’s. When you select a letter it appears back to front. As you can see I made a mistake, can you spot it? Spelling was never my strong point; as for back to front spelling- no chance!




12 comments:

  1. Lovely to read another post by you - it seems a long time.

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  2. The time whizzes past so fast! I am finding less time to blog.

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  3. ah! I think it's the 'd' in Bride? how fascinating. I've always been intrigued by print and the process. I have an old printmakers letter tray and I've always loved the fact of the upper and lower case term. You probably already know this fact though!

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    1. You must fill us in on the origin of upper and lower case Kerry, did the lower case actually go in a drawer under the upper? The spelling mistake is in Foundation, I have Fouudation.The n and the u look similar back to front and upside down!

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    2. Generally capitals were stored above and the minuscule letters below, and so in time they became known as upper and lower case. A foul case was one where type had been dissed (put back) in the wrong box.

      My grandfather was a typesetter back in the days when that meant arranging metal type on a compositing stick. His stories of his life as a printer were as exciting as any fairytale to me because he made books.

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    3. It all makes sense when you think about it! Thanks Annie. I wonder if the term "dissing: has its origins here too?

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  4. That's where I went to college to ! What a fab acquisition, I bet you are itching to use it.

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  5. Hi Ruthie, fancy that! It is a very special place, I loved being a student again if only for one day. x

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  6. sounds like you had a wonderful and interesting day. printing is a wonderful art form. i love looking at that top photo, the artful letters. Lovely summer to you.

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  7. What a marvellous thing to be given!

    My grandfather was a typesetter so I'm well used to thinking about type in the way you describe. My grandmother had a box full of all the tiny metal letters she'd found in his turn-ups down the years!

    It's good to know that Gretel is doing well.

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    1. I love that about your grandfather's trousers!

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  8. Just doing some catching up, I hope that Ada is doing well and settling into her new home - maybe plans are already afoot for your first publication? Love to you both x

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