21st May: Happy Birthday Pop Print: 1 year old! Letterpress: Process, People, Passion for good goods….

You can feel it when you come to the shop: Hannah Waterfield’s print and algorhythms to screen print are exciting in the same way that Jon Burgerman’s work became part of the local retail landscape for a few years. Each one is a particular colour scheme. Examples of her work below that Steve and Ming of Pop Press are supporting and promoting in their wonderful creative space that’s also a shop……


Hannah Waterfield Five Layer Screen Print from the Hive Blog

In POP Print they love hand printing, printing in all its possibilities and Steve and Ming are rare and unique specimens of creative entrepreneurs who nurture other talent, make their own work, here in Nottingham.

The atmosphere of their shop on St James street is exciting.

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When you go into the shop you either see it, feel it, immediately or you are just coming from a place where you won’t have time to absorb it. It’s a shop like an Iain Sinclair walk, you need to repair your thoughts on shopping to really engage with it.

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Above: Author, writer, walker, thinker Iain Sinclair with the cover of a recent travel book

Spend an hour here.

You need to look carefully for the things you love here. It’s going back to the simplicity of word and image, letter and letter. There’s something very soothing about it.

Have a look at Pressing On, a film by US Letterpress printers Andrew Quinn, Erin Beckloff, Kevin Grazioli, Joseph Vella gives you a real idea about why letterpress is becoming so popular and accessible just now:

Pressing On

Ming: ‘America is phenomenal, the way of life, you’re doing something that’s hands on, that people appreciate, it’s honest, the appreciation of something not hidden behind marketing… most of the time it’s whoever has the biggest budget, shouts the loudest becomes so successful‘,

But we all know that these big brands are not really successful, often they’re just holding the space in the market place to show their shareholders that they’re ‘doing something’.

What Steve and Ming are doing here is different.

Left Ming and right Steve who have the amazing Pop Press shop and working press space on St James St featured in Mitch Proctor’s article in Notts MaDe

The Unesco City of Literature is a good selling point for this…everyone has the right to tell their own story. With printing you can see what you get. Often when big  corporations talk about getting back to the authenticity of the product, really it’s a sham.

The small people have to believe in themselves sufficiently to be able to speak truth to power, to get the big organisations not just to pay lip service to small is beautiful but to understand that producing masses of things that are not necessary when there are better ways of engaging, communicating and learning is the way….use cars and paper more wisely and creatively might be a start.

What does the smaller print industry need? The marketing for this must be direct…makers are directly connected to the users. I think though that there is also a hidden infrastructure that can be visualised to market what Steve and Ming are doing.

This…alternative structure, visualising what is possible. What Nottingham might look like with beautiful streets, pavements, shop signs that are individual and challenging and interesting to the eyes of people of every age and background.

You do need money to do it, it’s slow…is it sustainable…how to create a recipe for sustainability? There are 6,000 micro businesses in Nottingham and so there’s hope that there  is something bigger,  where everybody can make a unique living.

The Letterpress workshop is £30 for two hours..and it was fantastic.

I learnt something about the spirit. The spirit is a new attitude to work…collaboatove environments can  lead by example…all the networks…Blue Stockings…how they network, how Minor Oak co working networks are changing work, connecting people and ideas and ways of earring a living that is more than just a gig.

And its something that every age and generation are part of.  Mature people as much as younger people need to smash the segmentation between people. New products, new markets coming out of the hybridity of the generations, classes, ethnicities, cultures.

Dizzy Ink, ex Trent students have moved into their building. here’s a taste of the way they market themselves:

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Dizzy Ink web page…mmmm…nice!

Dizzy are 20 years younger than Steve and Ming, Ming says ‘they’re like our kids doing what we are doing. We are learning from each other..in some respects we’re exactly the same in some respects, complete opposites…the mirror…but we are working together’

That mutuality is rare and should be the norm. ‘It’s..not competitive…we are more financially secure, have the building, the house,  our kids are (mainly) grown up’…How many businesses though, are not like that and forced into competition to produce things that no-one really needs or wants?

The outcome can be different, the ground can be different.

Ming and Steve can be laid back and open, running workshops not for remuneration and not overcharging. Working  with artists, is a resource advantage for example, Ella (Osborne’s), Sheffield printmaker’s work is in the shop in an interesting way.

Ella Osborne

Steve and Ming printed Ella’s work…and sell it. The work of designer Martha Glazzard (featured in the Printmakers open last year sponsored by Syson Gallery) is also work they’ve got in the well stocked shop.

Martha Glazzard

Above: Martha Glazzard:Pretty Dandy Flea trader Martha Glazzard creates lino prints based around rituals, Morris dancing,

Pop Print look for mutually advantageous connections to create new work…’You take a risk when you buy things, here’s a different way of working…collaborating and sharing and attributing’.

It’s time consuming but giving kindness to new work is also a form of humanitarian risk taking…’You are helping develop work…new work… to another stage,  there’s so much potential..the list is endless’.

Support Steve and Ming so they can do their own work!

They’re filling the shop with work…summer is quieter and they’ll be taking that time to do their own carefully thought out projects.

My Letterpress Workshop

Play with the type…lock it into the frame. uNderstand how you put it together..oops!

Cards, prints notebooks..have you an idea…a thought?

I want to say this, they realise it and take it away…My workshop

Letters…something you want to say:

The Impossibility of Giving Credit to Everyone 7 words very long how?

Arrange it

I was thinking about Damien Hurst, conceptual art..I wondered how do you encourage people to think the impossible…to change..it’s an experiment..it will be interesting

Upstairs Dizzy Ink..print job have NTU links, they do brochures for NTU

Upstairs to the top floor shared space screen printing space and the letterpress space.

Beautiful letters, large case….

If anyone knows of anyone who has letterpress that is being given away, or sold or auctioned…let Steve and Ming know. It means more opportunities for more people to try!

Over the two hour workshop I realised my first print:

Pop Print

It’s wonky and a bit deep. A bit like me.


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