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New and old design

7th Jun 2022
31 Coasters

If you came to our launch parties, you may have taken away one of these lovely hand printed coasters. They were manufactured by Alan Qualtrough, a Plymouth based typographer and designer who runs Kiss & Bite Letterpress, featuring design work by Chris Mayoh of Mutant Creative.

We love process and craft at Borrowed Parts, and so over to Alan to explain how he made them.

‘’The coasters were hand-printed by letterpress, which provides an often rough hand-made texture. Typically, a lot of moveable type would be used, but this time thermo-plastic printing plates were made from a digital file produced by Mutant.

The coasters were hand printed on a small Adana Press, made around the 1950’s. It consists of a platen on which the coaster is placed, rollers, and an inking disk that ink the plate. Pulling down with force causes the coasters to be pressed against the printing plate.

To get the printing plate, the design was laid on a light-sensitive thermo-plastic plate and exposed to UV light, which caused the areas to be printed to harden. The undeveloped areas were washed away with water leaving sharply formed letters and artwork ready to be printed.

Unfortunately, the Adana broke down - Broken Parts, you might say. We switched to using a much larger cylinder press, also made in the 1950’s. But this has a grip feed that couldn't deal with the thickness of the coasters. So we had to hand ink the plates and then balance the coasters on top of the plate before rolling over them with the large printing cylinder, leaving a few looking artfully skew-whiff.’’

Cheers Alan. We like the combination of old and new methods, and look forward to experimenting with other designs and products in the future.

📸 coasters Laura Harris, 📸 Alan's studio Jack Witek

[Image Identification: several of the coasters laid on a table, Alan's studio and various printing tools and letterheads]

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