So. Farewell then May, and with it the Village of Type programme of events. If you weren’t able to make it to East Sussex last month, we’ve captured the highlights for you here so you can relive our favourite moments with us.
GARY STRANGER: T Y P E
The appearance of giant sprayed letters spelling out T Y P E on the walls of quaint village buildings was the first inkling that something was happening in Ditchling, and no-one could have predicted how popular they would become. Typographical wizard Gary Stranger was the culprit, and we even managed to catch him in the act on camera. Visitors have been coming to Ditchling in their droves to have their pictures taken next to the letters, and to capture ‘the full set’. The letters remain on the walls temporarily, so catch them while you can – if you do miss them, you can always check out our short film by Alun Callender.
Our open-submission letterpress exhibition proved hugely successful, with over 500 visitors every weekend in May. The exhibition was held in Ditchling artist Frank Brangwyn’s studio ‘The Jointure’, the atmospheric surroundings creating the perfect backdrop against which to display these modern prints. Celebrated printmakers St Jude’s captured the joy of letterpress in ‘Random Spectacular No.5: Interrobang’ a special edition of their specialist print publication, featuring images of the prints, an interview with Alan Kitching, and articles about letterpress and the Guild of St Joseph & St Dominic. Copies can be purchased from the Random Spectacular website.
VIKTORIYA GRABOWSKA: TYPOGRAPHER IN RESIDENCE
One of the joys of playing host to a resident artist is that the journey they will take during their stay is spontaneous and cannot be predicted, and so it proved with our Typographer in Residence, Polish typographer Viktoriya Grabowska (in association with the British Council and Polish Cultural Embassy). We certainly kept her busy! Home for her during May was Hassocks and her studio was The Blue Shed in Ditchling, where she spent the weekends talking to visitors about her work as part of the Brighton Open Houses festival. She also hosted workshops, visited our sponsors G.F.Smith Papers, hijacked our Instagram account, worked on a new typeface and produced her final project on the Stanhope Press. This final project was revealed at the end of the month and was inspired by the signage and typography she saw travelling around Hassocks, Ditchling and Brighton.
BIG STEAM PRINT
Two of the four outings for the 12.5-tonne vintage steamroller happened during May – at the London Transport Museum’s Acton Depot and on The Level in Brighton, making new audiences fall in love with its steamy charms. The results were fantastic, visitors particularly enjoying the ‘print-off’ between Mark Hearld and Jonny Hannah … if you missed it, there’s one more outing on 18 June at the Ditchling Village Fair where, amongst others, artists Angie Lewin and Rob Ryan will be creating their biggest prints ever …
THE VILLAGE OF TYPE LAUNCH PARTY
No extravaganza can call itself fully launched unless it’s had a party to celebrate, and there ain’t no party like a Ditchling Museum of Art + Craft party (apologies to S Club). The evening sun shone as the party spilled out onto the terrace and people drifted back and forth between the twin venues of The Jointure and the museum. Entertainment included Stephen Kenny on the Stanhope Press, linocutting, printing on the Adana press, calligraphy tutelage, delicious pizza, and last but not least, the legendary musician and local Ditchling resident Herbie Flowers playing live at The Jointure. There may have also been a drink or two consumed, including beers from one of our favourites Bedlam Brewery.
LETTERPRESS ON BOARD
Passengers on board services between London Victoria and Brighton were treated to a typographical display over the weekend of 7-8 May. Tom and Theo from Sort Letterpress and our Learning & Outreach Manager Lucy Jenner escorted a pimped train trolley and turned it into a smoking hot portable Adana letterpress vehicle.
STANHOPE PRESS RESIDENCIES
Every Saturday the museum played host to a different print artist whose work was featured in Interrobang. Each artist demonstrated their letterpress printing skills on the 200-year-old Stanhope Press and many fascinated visitors left with a free print.
LETTERPRESS BY THE SEA
Our team were joined by Pat Randle from Nomad Letterpress and The Print Project in a pop-up letterpress print studio as part of the Brighton Festival … housed in a full size London Underground tube carriage tent by the beach (of course). Braving the initial high winds and stormy weather, the sun eventually made an appearance over the weekend and much letterpress fun was had by all.
HELP DESIGN & MAKE A HUGE LINOCUT
The first Saturday the enormous piece of lino was rolled out in the Learning Space, it was greeted with nervousness … visitors were reluctant to dig into such a pristine piece of canvas! After some encouragement the first brave souls had a go and after that we couldn’t keep budding artists away. The lino is now full and the results will be printed by the 12.5-tonne vintage steamroller as the final episode of The Big Steam print on 18 June.