John Christopher lpw

John Christopher veteran

Flowers & Fleurons

Order yet chaos, rationality yet creativity

How long have you been printing?

Circa 1990

Describe your first encounter with letterpress

An immediate sense of affinity with a room which suggested order yet chaos, rationality yet creativity – the letterpress department at college.

Where did you learn?

I am still learning

Who was your most influential teacher?

It was a privilege to be taught letter-cutting by Eric Gill's nephew John Skelton

What super power would you like to have?

It would be very useful to have my own familiar or daemon to do wash-ups for me.

Do you prefer to work alone or with others?

I tend to work on my own, but I do value collaboration - the process of working with someone else always creates a synergy which produces interesting results.

What do you most value in your friends?

Intelligence, a sense of social justice, sincerity, humour, creativity and a damned fine type collection

When do your best ideas occur to you?

On my bicycle

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

I wouldn't come back as a typeface, I'd come back as spacing material - eternal, indispensable, useful, not prone to trend or fashion – the unsung hero of typesetting; but if I was pushed for an answer then currently it would be Bodoni.

What tool do you use more often than any other?


What books are currently on your nightstand?

Giro 100: a history of the Giro d'Italia
Wolf Hall, Hilary Mantell
Landmarks, Robert MacFarlane
Matrix 34
A commentary on the 'Cimelio' of G.B Bodoni

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

Now that's another tricky one - the ornamental style of PS Fournier Le Jeune or the Neo Classicism of Bodoni - the jury is still out...

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

Vandercook SP15, Harrild Imperial Octavo Platen, 2 Cast Iron Guillotines, Cast Iron Paper Folder, Cast Iron Board Shears, Paper drill, Bookbinders Nipping Press...

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

Treble the space to have all my printing equipment in one room would be very handsome.

When and where are you the happiest?

On my bicycle of course!

What is your greatest fear/worry?

I think we have reached a very critical time in human history – a perfect storm of climate change, of inequality in material wealth, of irrational barbarism and of conservative populism - maintained and encouraged by the dark forces of a wealthy elite to the detriment of the planet.

What do you think is useful about what you make?

I would like to think I make prints which might entertain, aesthetically please or provoke thought in those that look at them.

What’s your day job?

Book Design

Do you use any other techniques or media besides letterpress?

I'm rather partial to stone-carving and cutting letters in stone