In its heyday in the 1920s and 30s, the Letterpress printing technique – using shapes in relief within a printing press – was used to produce thousands of books and newspapers each year. Since then, the craft of Letterpress has been replaced by digital design and printing, but small, independent presses continue to keep the tradition alive. In Manchester, both an historic hub for publishing in the last century, and a vibrant and independent arts’ centre in this one, the craft of Letterpress lives on.
In 2010, Amy was invited to explore the craft of Letterpress in the Manchester area, as part of Library Theatre’s ‘Craftworks’ programme. Over three months, she interviewed some of the people working with Letterpress today, and recorded their conversations in drawings, interviews and fragments of remembered speech. This work threads together the commercial, creative and personal histories of Letterpress, through the skills of the technique itself. It provides a speculative archive of Letterpress as a craft, an aesthetic, and a community. Amy’s project culminated in a limited edition of 200 artists’ books: A Whistle-Stop Tour of Letterpress, published in 2011.