Letterpress printing, invented in the 15th century, sparked a revolution in the distribution of the printed word and thereby the rapid growth of literacy among common people. Try your hand at this most important of art forms on the largest letterpress printing press of its kind in the world.

Using the steel letterforms of Graft – a typeface designed by Oli Bentley and made by JKN Oil tools in Batley – you’ll design and set your words in the bed of the press, ink them up, and use them to make and perfect your giant print which you can take away.

Learn all the skills and terminology of letterpress printing, and enjoy the unique thrill of peeling back the paper to see the prints that you’ve created yourself.

What to expect

You’ll work in a team of five, including Oli, for three hours. Couples can attend to make one print together, or to make a matching pair; two tickets would be needed.

Each of you will make a print of your own design, and help the others set and print their own designs too.

Working on the People Powered Press can’t be rushed – it’s a leisurely, creative process that brings  people together, always provoking really interesting conversation while you’re making your print.

You’ll set the individual letters – weighing in at around 2kg each – in the bed of the press and learn how to space them and lock them in place, then ink them up and use them to create your giant print.

You’ll also get to hear the whole strange tale behind the creation of the People Powered Press – designed to amplify local voices and spread words worth spreading as part of Split’s 2018 project, These Northern Types – and its accidental world record.

What to bring with you

  • Clothes that you wouldn’t mind getting a little bit dirty, though we'll provide you with a fetching apron.
  • If you have long hair, please bring something you can use to tie it back, and don’t wear anything too flowy, especially baggy sleeves, to avoid getting trapped in the press’s roller or dangling in the ink.

Price includes refreshments and a free, limited edition visual booklet telling the story of the People Powered Press and the creation of Graft.

Making the People Powered Press' workshop Covid-safe

Although we’re launching this season of workshops at a time of uncertainty about future Covid-19 restrictions, we’re making sure that the workshop is designed and equipped to keep you safe and comfortable now, and in the event of any future developments.

So here’s what's being to make the People Powered Press a safe, creative place.

  • Staff will be tested for Covid twice a week.
  • Workshops which can take place in our covered outdoor space will do so.
  • The capacity of all workshops has been capped to ensure that social distancing is possible and comfortable in the studio and in the outdoor workshop space.
  • The space will be well ventilated, using our in-built extraction system and windows when needed.
  • We have sanitiser stations around the space and there are wipes for cleaning surfaces and shared equipment.
  • Masks will be worn inside the building if and when official guidance indicates that they should.
  • We will provide perspex workspace dividers if and when official guidance indicates that we should.

We’ll regularly review all these measures against the latest government guidance, and we hope that this will reassure you that you’re in a comfortable, safe environment, and that we’re taking your safety very seriously indeed.

All proceeds from this workshop will be used to support the People Powered Press' work with community groups around the Bradford district, amplifying local voices and spreading words worth spreading.