My latest treasure which will hold lots of my other "found" treasure.
These weren't inexpensive, they were free. They're very well made drawers that held metal letterpress type. These two cabinets are a fantastic size too, 51cm long. More spacious than my watchmaker's cabinet that holds part of my button collection (and was not a bargain.)
I went to the local tip (known as the "dump" in America.) Our tips are also recycling centres. We don't have recycling collection where we live because we're out in the sticks a bit, so I make this journey to the tip every week or so. This week I grudgingly made the trip because we've had relentless rain and drizzle for weeks, but when I arrived I noticed a man emptying the contents of these drawers into the metal recycling. I made a beeline for him, inquired and found he had an old Adana Letterpress and was dumping it and everything that went with it.
I told him it was all valuable, even though new technology has taken over, there are loads of artists who use and value these old things. Sell it all on Ebay I said, "I can't be bothered" was his response. A small part of me understands, he was older, most English homes are very tight on storage space, and he said "...my wife will kill me if I bring it back home again." But the waste of it made my heart sink.
I was able to salvage all 5 sets of drawers, but after putting them in my car, I had no room for the press and my children who I was about to pick up from school - I had to choose my children.
I wish I didn't have to make an instant decision, but I'd already kept the man standing in the rain for a long time and he was eager to go. If he'd brought the press home I'd have gladly picked it up from him later. I only hope the tip attendants who were hearing our conversation jumped in the bin and saved the press - I nearly cried to see it go and keep thinking about it like you would a lost puppy.
There are some amazing book artists who are making beautiful, small run books on old letterpresses. Look at the work of Ellen Knudson, and hear about her process in an interview with Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood recorded for Craftsanity.
These new finds will give me the incentive I need to organize my stock and stash - again!
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