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Swinging into action

Naomi Jackson

Posted on June 27 2016

Swinging into action
We spent the a morning with Phil (...and his cat) in his studio. Phil's business, EE Chrisp, was started in 1899 by his grandad, and has been passed down the generations to him. Using traditional letterpress machinery to print posters, flyers, business cards etc, the firm is the one of a small few of its kind still in existence.

The machinery is beautiful. Wonderfully old, the letterpress machine makes light work of it's task, printing and pressing hundreds of tags with a clack and a hiss. With no digital technology in sight, there is a real sense of craft here in the workshop. 
 
 
  
The recycled card is chopped to size using a robust guillotine, capable of accurately slicing a stack of paper the size of your face without any struggle, or more importantly, error. Once cut, each card is stacked in the letterpress machine.
 
With little gentle puffs, a machine head sucks the cards off the stack, one by one, and whisks it across to where our Lawrenson metal plate design sits. The Lawrenson plate meanwhile has been rolled with a fine layer of ink by another arm of the machine, before the press pounds the card against it with the perfect amount of pressure to apply the ink and give a beautiful indentation to the design. Mesmerising to watch, the card is then lifted and dropped into a perfect stack of finished cards.
 
   
Holes punched, these square cards become our swing tags, proudly strung from each t-shirt, knowing each one has been crafted here so beautifully. Watch the fascinating machinery in action below.

 

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