Travel back in time into the mysteries of pre-mechanised printing

Freshly inked: Richard Jermyn at work in his self-described 'working museum of printing history', which will be part of Art Month in August. Picture: supplied.
Freshly inked: Richard Jermyn at work in his self-described 'working museum of printing history', which will be part of Art Month in August. Picture: supplied.

Deep under the streets of Eden there exists another world, an alternative reality, where you will find a wiry man bent over his work, laying out type, handling leading, adjusting frisketts, and vellum, fossicking through cases of Garamond type, selecting hand-made paper, and making ink, as if still in the age prior to mechanisation.

You're in Richard Jermyn's 'working museum of printing history.'

Richard has been printing on hand letterpress printers since his university days in the 1970s when he and a fellow student endeavoured to set up a press for student's poetry.

"'How would we do that?' we thought" says Richard, "We looked in the SMH and there was a press advertised, so the university bought it and it lived on the 3rd floor of the Student union building."

After university Richard continued to refine and focus his interest on the earlier age of printing and the related skills of paper making, type founding and the all-important ink making.

He now collects, restores and uses this impressive antique printing equipment, housed in his Eden workshop.

Richard is a font of information, "the story of printing in the story of civilisation", he says. And one could get lost for hours, travelling back in time with this man, his printers and his manifesto... which goes, in part, like this:

'Let us now praise letterpress printing

Some finished printwork.

Some finished printwork.

Which unites paper, ink and type on the press as in ancient time using nothing synthetic, but using pure materials direct from nature with no adverse effects on life...'

In August you can join Richard in his Eden 'working museum' for a one day workshop - part of August's Art Month Sapphire Coast activities.

'The Mysteries of the Press' is a one day glimpse into the life of a 19th Century Letterpress printer.

"We'll examine type-setting, illustration, paper, and the all-important inking, all coming together on the press to produce distinctive printed matter that is being increasingly sought and appreciated around the world."

Richard will guide a small number of participants through this fascinating exploration, culminating in a printed product, demonstrating how all the elements come together. There will also be a lunch in the style of the 19th Century compositor supplied by Sprout Café.

Tickets at eventbrite.com.au/e/the-mysteries-of-the-press-tickets-161039438295

This story A printery back in time first appeared on Bega District News.