It's an idea that had been growing in my brain for some time, to design and build a pedal powered letterpress printing press. Now thanks to the Tour de France coming to Yorkshire, it's going to become a real, actual thing.
When I spotted Sheffield Culture Consortium were looking to commission art projects to form part of the Yorkshire Festival - a 100 day festival to kick off the countdown to the Yorkshire Grand Départ, I couldn't resist suggesting the pedal powered printing press.
I'm pleased to say they liked the idea and have agreed to fund it's build and appearance at the launch of the festival.
I’m mad about letterpress and mad about cycling - I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the Tour de France coming to Sheffield than to combine my two passions in a unique and slightly mad way.
The plan is to build a letterpress printing press that utilises pedal power to provide the printing pressure. It will use as many bike parts as possible and be totally unique, I can't find reference to anything like it being done before. The press will then be at various festival events and you are invited to saddle up and give it a go.
I'd like people to be able to experience the satisfaction of letterpress printing and have something to take away with them. So I'll be creating an original poster for people to print. Something to commemorate the Grand Départ visiting Sheffield. Sheffield is known for steel, but at one time it was a major centre for printing – a fact few people are aware of. The largest producer of metal and wood type in the UK, a company called Stephenson Blake, were based in a huge works on Upper Allen Street at Kelham Island. They were at the forefront of type-founding and I’d like to use some of the typefaces they designed here in Sheffield in the poster.
It's not going to be a solo effort, the guys at Click industrial design are already set to help and I'm sure we'll need more help along the way. You can follow the build progress on the Pedal Powered Printing Press blog or by following @BrianTrevaskiss on Twitter.