Last weekend I travelled to London to visit St Bride Foundation Wayzgoose for the first time. In case you are wondering what the term Wayzgoose stands for, here is an explanation - it was an entertainment given by a master printer to his workmen each year on St Bartholomew’s Day (24 August). It marked the traditional end of summer and the start of the season of working by candlelight. Later, the word came to refer to an annual outing and dinner for the staff of a printing works or the printers on a newspaper. Although traditionally held in August it has no fixed date these days.
As I arrived a bit early, I took a walk in the area around Blackfriars station, to discover some fine pieces of public lettering of Black Friar's Pub as well as on Fleet Street, which name is still synonymous with the printing and publishing industry, even though many prominent newspapers have already moved away from Fleet Street.
St Bride Foundation was established in 1891 as the social and educational hub of the printing and publishing industry on Fleet Street. Nowadays there is a core aim running throughout the organisation, which is to elevate the heritage of printing, whilst inspiring the future of design. This is achieved through regular exhibitions, a variety of programmes in their printing workshop, and a library which holds one of the most impressive collection of books on printing and typography in the world. (source)
I feel fortunate to have a chance to visit the library last year while on summer typography course at the Future London Academy and see some fine pieces from St Bride's collection, as Eric Gill's original drawings and so much more - link.
Organized for the third time, St Bride Foundation Wayzgoose is actually an annual printers’ fair, where you can meet fellow letterpress printers & printmaking enthusiasts from the UK (and abroad) selling their letterpress printed goods, type foundries selling freshly cast type and ornaments, meet old and new 'faces' or just enjoy the great atmosphere.
The fair is held in the 2 main halls of the building, with more than 30 tables displaying letterpress printed posters, cards, books, paper as well as various printmaking material represented on a big table occupied by Caslon and the ever popular Adana printing press. Admission is free and all proceeds go to the workshop and library at the Foundation.
Besides the fair there were plenty of other activities to enjoy such as a calligraphy workshop, the popular print workshop demonstrations including the production of a printer’s paper hat, a library's reading room where you could buy some ex-library books and of course visit the Passmore Edwards’ refreshments stall for tea and Victoria sponge.
It was lovely to see everyone's amazing letterpress work, to meet people whom I've known from the annual Letterpress Workers Summit in Milan or who had already visited the MIAT, and people whom I only knew from Twitter/ Facebook, but was so pleased to meet in person. Meeting like-minded people with shared interests from all over the UK and abroad, chatting about printmaking, typography, (and even politics) is an incredible experience. I loved it and I might be back next year ;)
more pictures on Flickr
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