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Lands End to John O’Groats on a bicycle with a printing press, visiting places known for making one thing and printing along the way.
Lands End to John O’Groats on a bicycle with a printing press, visiting places known for making one thing and printing along the way.
Lands End to John O’Groats on a bicycle with a printing press, visiting places known for making one thing and printing along the way.
169 backers pledged £9,023 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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Journeyman. An adventure in print.

£9,023

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A journeyman is a term used for a printer after finishing an apprenticeship. If work was short in your hometown, you would have taken to the road with your union card to look for work. This project is inspired by the people who made their living on a bicycle, in particular the knife grinders, who lived their life on the road traveling from town to town sharpening folk's knives.

The journey will be made on The Printing Bike: a bespoke bicycle designed and built by my friend Robin Mather three years ago. Its first adventure was a 850-mile journey from Bristol to Mainz in celebration of Gutenberg's invention of printing with moveable type in 1450. This was a successfully funded project through Kickstarter. I will set off in early May from Land's End and will wind my way up the spine of Britain seeking out the makers in towns known for making one particular thing. In celebration of each craft, I will print a set of cards on the Adana 8x5" press mounted on the back of the bicycle. Some cards will be posted and will arrive on funders' doorsteps printed and posted from such fine towns as St Ives, Yeovil, Cheddar, Walsall, Stoke-on-Trent, Northampton, Nottingham, Halifax, Harris and Dufftown. Each card will be illustrated by talented artists, some of whom will meet me on the road to carve a fine illustration celebrating the craft of that town.

The first book to be produced will be a special edition large-scale publication incorporating commissioned illustration work and photographs celebrating each craft. The book will be letterpress printed and hand bound. It will be a limited edition of 100. The Festival of Print is held each year at the Centrespace gallery adjoining the Letterpress Collective printshop. This year it will be from the 4-13th of December and we intend to launch the large scale letterpress book of the Journeyman project then.

The second book will be the third book in the Conversations series. The first book, Conversations on the Coast celebrated the craftspeople I met on my 2009 bicycle journey around the coast of the British Isles. In 2012, I made a similar journey along the Hudson Valley; these stories were brought together in Conversations on the Hudson. This book Conversations from Land's End to John O'Groats, will include transcripts of the craftspeople I meet and print for, along the way.

The budget will cover the costs of the journey, the illustrations for the cards and book and production of the book itself. The funds will not only enable this project to happen, but will also keep the presses (and our own apprentice Ellen) busy printing over the next few months. The Letterpress Collective is not-for-profit and has been printing for artists, local groups and individuals, as well as running workshops, since 2013. On return, The Printing Bike will continue to visit organisations such as schools to demonstrate the 500 year old art of typesetting and letterpress printing (without a computer in sight).

Video soundtrack: If I Possessed a Printing Press by George Hamilton IV

Risks and challenges

The risks are in the logistics of the adventure, carrying a printing press, paper, ink and type as well as finding somewhere to stay each night. Also the aspects of printing on route are tricky so drying eighty postcards somewhere (maybe in the rain) and then mailing them each day (Although my experience during the journey to Germany proved that this was actually a lot of fun). Another challenge is the physical one of riding a bicycle loaded with all that material up and down hills for 40-50 miles each day (again though, this is what I kind of look forward to).

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge £5 or more About $6

    A letterpress postcard

    A single postcard printed on the printing bike and posted from Bristol at the end of the journey

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    Pledge £10 or more About $12

    Two postcards

    A postcard printed on the printing bike and sent at the start of the journey PLUS a second postcard printed on the printing bike and posted from Bristol at the end of the journey

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    5 backers
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  3. Select this reward

    Pledge £16 or more About $20

    Book

    Conversations from Land's End to John O'Groats: The third in a series of books recording Nick Hand's bicycle adventures including conversations with craftspeople.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $25

    A letterpress poster

    A 40x60cm poster printed at the Letterpress Collective celebrating the adventure.

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    Pledge £20 or more About $25

    Book + 1 postcard

    Conversations from Land's End to John O'Groats: The third in a series of books recording Nick Hand's bicycle adventures including conversations with craftspeople PLUS a single postcard printed on the printing bike and posted from Bristol at the end of the journey.

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  6. Select this reward

    Pledge £80 or more About $99

    Set of letterpress postcards

    A full set of letterpress postcards printed on the printing bike and posted on route. Each one celebrates a different craft, the postcards will be printed and posted from the place renowned for that particular thing.

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  7. Select this reward

    Pledge £90 or more About $111

    Book + set of postcards

    Conversations from Land's End to John O'Groats: The third in a series of books recording Nick Hand's bicycle adventures including conversations with craftspeople.

    PLUS A full set of letterpress postcards printed on the printing bike and posted on route. Each one celebrates a different craft, the postcards will be printed and posted from the place renowned for that particular thing.

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  8. Select this reward

    Pledge £150 or more About $186

    Limited edition large scale book

    A large-scale book printed letterpress. This publication will celebrate the crafts and trades encountered during the adventure. This is a special edition of 100 incorporating large scale prints by invited artists. The book will also include photographs of the crafts and makers taken on the journey. The book will be packaged in a handmade box and will include postcards from the journey.

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    Pledge £200 or more About $247

    Large book + set of postcards

    A large-scale book printed letterpress. This publication will celebrate the crafts and trades encountered during the adventure. This is a special edition of 100 incorporating large scale prints by invited artists. The book will also include photographs of the crafts and makers taken on the journey. The book will be packaged in a handmade box and will include postcards from the journey.

    PLUS A full set of letterpress postcards printed on the printing bike and posted on route. Each one celebrates a different craft, the postcards will be printed and posted from the place renowned for that particular thing.

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    Pledge £250 or more About $309

    letterpress workshop + postcards

    Two places on a one day workshop at the Letterpress Collective in Bristol, where we will show you how to hand set type and you can print on the range of presses in the printshop, choose a day of your choice at theletterpresscollecive.org

    PLUS A full set of letterpress postcards printed on the printing bike and posted on route. Each one celebrates a different craft, the postcards will be printed and posted from the place renowned for that particular thing.

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    Pledge £1,500 or more About $1,856

    Sponsor exhibition and book launch

    Support the project by sponsoring an exhibition in December 2017 celebrating this project as well as all things bicycle and letterpress printing. The exhibition will be in the Centrespace gallery in early December and you will have your own private view. The exhibition will also launch the limited edition book.

    PLUS A full set of letterpress postcards printed on the printing bike and posted on route. Each one celebrates a different craft, the postcards will be printed and posted from the place renowned for that particular thing.

    PLUS the limited edition large-scale book printed letterpress. This publication will celebrate the crafts and trades encountered during the adventure. This is a special edition of 100 incorporating large scale prints by invited artists. The book will also include photographs of the crafts and makers taken on the journey. The book will be packaged in a handmade box and will include postcards from the journey.

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    Reward no longer available 1 backer
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Funding period

- (23 days)