A few weeks ago, I decided to travel to Barcelona from cold and gray Ghent to enjoy some sunshine and explore the beautiful architecture of the city. And although it was raining the whole week I managed to have a great time and meet befriended letterpress printers/designers Arcangela Regis (Lauren Press) and Jesús Morentin (Bunkertype) who were kind enough to make some time free in their busy schedules and let me into their studios in Barcelona.
So on Friday morning, after visiting the Design Museum I headed to Arcangela Regis' workshop hidden behind the iron curtain on the ground floor.
I met Arcangela a few years ago during Letterpress Workers Summit in Milan, an annual meeting of letterpress printers/designers from Europe and US. A native Italian but living and working in Barcelona Arcangela was initially trained as a photographer and graphic designer, but the love for books and its tactility led her to establish her own letterpress workshop, Lauren Press, where she carries out design and printing commissions, as well as her own graphic work.
The Lauren Press was born in 2012 after many years of research and search for the right material and especially the printing equipment. In 2009, while still active as a founding member of the Atelier Retaguardia photographic collective, where they did research on photographic techniques of the 19th century, Arcangela went to London to visit the St. Bride Library and meet some well-known printers. Soon after she got an opportunity to become a volunteer at the St. Bride Library's printing workshop and decided to stay in London. In the following years, Arcangela worked with Ian Mortimer from I. M. Imprimit and other practitioners from St. Bride Library's printing workshop printing on Albion Hand press.
After 2 years of living in London, when she decided to come back to Barcelona, she unexpectedly had a chance to acquire the printing press of her own. Arcangela told me she met a lady who was storing the iron hand press of her deceased brother, and after meeting Arcangela told her that she was the right person to own the press and gave it to her.
The press originally belonged to Brian Williams, an extraordinary British illustrator known for his work in various fantasy magazines and novels. He took great care of it by repairing the parts himself, so it was in a great condition. British fellow printers helped her to transport it to Barcelona. Type soon followed to extend the printmaking workshop and the Lauren Press opened its doors.
Lauren Press produces limited edition posters, artists books and special editions. At the time of my visit Arcangela was printing work for the Foundation Foto Colectània, beautiful large sized folders printed with metallic ink. Yet another benefit of printing on hand press is the actual size of your work, something I can't possibly achieve on FAG 405 :)
Her own graphic work is very diverse, from primarily typographic to experimental pieces where the influence of the 19th century photographic techniques can clearly be seen.
Next blog post will be dedicated to Jesús Morentin (BunkerType).
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