The art of printmaking is to be celebrated with a series of events in Hastings former print and publishing quarter this September.
Page Break is a short season of events, from 1 -10 September, celebrating the history, people and trades of FJ Parsons print and publishing company.
The events are set in and around The Printworks, Rock House and The Observer Building, where FJ Parsons once employed around 1,000 people, as well as at Hastings Museum.
“A job for life at FJ Parsons was something to aspire to,” says Dawn Dublin, who is programming the events and co-producing with MSL Projects. “Apprenticeships, specialist skills and learned trades contributed to a vibrant and creative occupational printing community.”
In the 1980s computerised roles took over the printer’s unique crafts and the fortunes of FJ Parsons and its buildings took a downward turn. Traditional skills such as typesetting, composition, linotype and book binding looked set to disappear forever as the jobs vanished and the buildings became derelict.
However, instead of being wiped out forever, Hastings old print buildings are making a comeback as are the crafts they once housed.
“There are new creative businesses springing up in these buildings now and traditional printing skills are enjoying a global resurgence,” says Dawn. “Page Break is a celebration of these skills and the people who practiced them, in the buildings where they worked.”
Events, which are all free, include a letterpress workshop, linocut demonstrations with illustrator Aiden Saunders, an illustration workshop with artist and writer, Christopher Hoggins, a Family Fun Print Day, Fanzine Workshop with local artists Danny Pockets and Peter Quinnell and a Pinhole Camera workshop with photographer Alex Brattell.
The programme concludes with a day-long event, which includes an exhibition, a film screening and a live-streamed discussion with contemporary digital journalists and representatives from the classic age of print journalism.
On Thursday September 1 children aged seven-plus can explore letterpress printing at a free Family Print Day at Hastings Museum (11am-4pm). Local print-makers, Lucky Budgie and Make Ready Studios will run this drop-in workshop (children must be accompanied by an adult). Participants will learn to set a simple design with wood type and choose colours before their design is printed using the museum’s vintage letterpress.
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