Graham Bignell veteran

New North Press

Still learning!

How long have you been printing?

45 years

Describe your first encounter with letterpress

As an apprentice paper conservator I was able to go to college on day release to study printmaking. In 1972 my Tutor at the time had a letterpress studio and I worked weekends and one night a week editioning for him both woodcuts, linocuts, woodengravings and letterpress works.

Where did you learn?

I M Imprimit the Private Press of Ian Mortimer
I worked part-time for the press for 14 years, 6 years were spent printing letterpress all the typography for Alecto Historical editions. Bank's Florelgium followed by Audubon's Birds of America, and many other productions.
I left I.M.Imprimit In 1986 and set up New North Press in New North Road, London and also ran a letterpress studio for Stoneman Graphics in Covent Garden. We moved to Coronet Street in 1992/3 and I was joined by Richard Ardagh in 2008 and Beatrice Bless in 2010 before becoming a partnership, which is our current status.
I'm still learning!

Who was your most influential teacher?

Ian Mortimer

What super power would you like to have?

The ability to stay young

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

I am very happy working with others, I work with 7 paper conservators in my conservation business and two partners in New North Press

What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty, dedication, a sense of humour and a love of life.

When do your best ideas occur to you?

I'm thinking of ideas all the time, it is putting them in to practice that is hard.

If you were to die and come back as a typeface, which would it be?

Condensed San serif No 5

What tool do you use more often than any other?

A type scale and The Albion Printing Press

What books are currently on your nightstand?

Transitional Faces, The lives and work of Richard Austin, type cutter, & Richard Turner Austin wood engraver, written by Alastair M. Johnston, published by the Poltroon Press.

If you could study with any printer throughout history, who would it be?

As above, currently Richard Austin, although he was a punch cutter his links with the trade were vital and as a type designer in the early days of the industrial Revolution It would be great to go back to see London at that time.
I am currently repairing my own copy of the 1838 Specimen of the Austin Types

If you have your own shop, what equipment do you own?

1 Columbian Press, 2 Albion Presses, 2 adanas, 2 proof press, over 700 individual wood and metal typefaces

If you could change one thing about your shop, what would it be?

Desperate for more space

When and where are you the happiest?

With family and friends then at my workshop

What is your greatest fear/worry?

I'm not usually worried or fearfull of anything

What do you think is useful about what you make?

What is useful? tricky question, I hope that the work we do gives pleasure, satisfies customers, is creative and interesting.