Behind the Scenes: Production of the Autumn Equinox Edition - Part II

Finishing off the behind the scenes look at production of the Autumn Equinox edition with the makings of the Celestial Cycle Print. 

The print was born out of a three way collaboration between Regional Archive, designer Haus of Bas and letterpress printer All Sorts Press.  The concept for the print was sourced from the elements that Regional Archive is aligned to, depicting the journey of a full year celestial shift for the Earth. It also felt like an opportunity to reinforce the rich colour that is central to the brand overall. The vibrant cobalt blue and glimmering gold translated in to a visual representation of an earthly function. 

Practically speaking, the paper was the starting point. We acquired a sample through the design process for the RA zine (which is included as an extra special bonus with each edition). Believe it or not it is made of potato, which gives it a tactile texture that is a great place for ink to play.  

RA's first foray in to letterpress printing, will definitely not be our last. Result aside, the process of letterpress printing is a beautiful ode to the analog nature of past printing processes and enables a uniqueness in each print that can  feel like hand embellishment in some instances. 

The process of letterpress printing is shared with you below, along with some behind the scenes photos of the All Sorts Press studio. 

Process of Letterpress Printing:

The artwork (in the form of a printing plate) is adhered to a base in the press and tests are completed to ensure registration and pressure are correct and consistent

*Registration = precision of alignment and placement


Ink colour is selected for the printing run and colours are mixed by hand when necessary. It's then applied to the printing press which, when turned on, distributes it evenly across rollers that ink the image. 



Each piece of paper is fed by hand into the press. A manual foot pedal is pressed to raise grippers that hold the paper in place as it's being printed



With the paper being held by the grippers, the cylinder of the press is turned manually with a handle, bringing the paper with it as it rolls across the press bed where the image is simultaneously inked and then printed onto the paper. The grippers release the paper from the cylinder at the end of the press bed, which is then rolled back and the process is repeated



Each finished print is inspected as they are printed, then placed carefully on a drying rack. When the run is complete the ink must be cleaned off the rollers by hand. 


All photographs by the talented Tara Newell