Alan Kitching is a private man. It's not often that you get to see inside his workshop. This is mostly because he's busy and you would only just get in the way, but it only seems to make us all more desperate to see what goes on; to find out how he puts together his complex letterpress work and to delve into his collection of wood type.
Typography Workshop began 1989 with a Stephenson Blake proofing press and some type all purchased from Derek Birdsall's Omnific.
Later there were two closing print-shop auctions, plus Herbert Spencer's press and collection of wood-letter, but it was the acquisition of theatrical poster wood block letters from the small village of Wrington that really made an impact. No one would think that you could manage to fit an enormous barnload of type into his workshop, but it's there, it's huge and it's an amazing sight to behold.
Eye74 (out next week) has an article telling you all about the history of the workshop, but Alan is also doing a rare talk this week. If you have ever wished you could dive into Alan's workshop, see where he gets his ideas from and see his actual working process as he juggles wood type half a metre high, then this is a talk for you. Just look at the massive W below.
It takes place in a gallery called Advanced Graphics in Borough, south London, which is currently exhibiting his work. There's some amazing work on show so it's well worth a visit just to look at it all.
It's £25 though, which is not cheap and there are only a limited number of tickets as it's an intimate do. But if you love letterpress and have ever wanted to meet a legend, then like me, you'll be there this Thursday 10th December. You just have to call Eye on 0845 456 7757 to buy a ticket. Below are some photos taken by Phil Sayer illustrating some of the process Mr K. goes through.
Read more on the Eye blog.