Last May I shared with you my experimentation using the museum press to print onto fabric which I then later felted to gauge how usable it would be in my final piece. The experiments worked very well and thanks to our IFA co-ordinator, Linda Hulme, and museum curator, Chris Sharp, I was amongst a group that returned to the mill for a printing session.
I notified Chris in advance that I wanted to print the word wool in as many fonts and sizes of lettering as was possible from the equipment in the archives.
There was a great selection to choose from.
I wanted to mix up the sizes and the fonts as much as possible.
The trick with printing of course is to have the word back to front, NOT like I’ve set them out above. Once they were the correct way round I was ready to ink and position them for printing.
On with silk, followed by a sheet of paper, a felt cover and then ready to go.
This took far more force then I expected and was a real workout. So, feet sliding on the floor, I managed to do one or two before Chris came to my rescue and printed the rest. Either the men using these in the heyday were well muscled or the machines ran more eaily. Perhaps it was a combination of the two.
Photography by Charlie Battersby