Saturday, 24 December 2011
Sunday, 11 December 2011
As well as very busy afternoon in the shop Smail's "Get Crafty" was available in the Masonic Club in Chapel Street, the first time that the Mason's have been involved in Switched-on Innerleithen. All afternoon Rachel was surrounded by children decorating Christmas Trees and Snowmen and making their own wrapping paper.
On the other side of the room I was encouraging people print their own bookmark on one of our Adana printing presses. Not as busy as Rachel but it became quite hectic towards 16:00 and I had fun and so I hope did everyone who had a go. Every time I do one of these events I always get caught out by just how heavy a case of type is.
An excellent afternoon - well done Gen.
Sunday, 4 December 2011
Sunday, 27 November 2011
Mulled wine, Mr Harrison's famous mince pies and retail therapy were all on offer at Smail's on Friday evening. Tom did a sterling job upstairs producing batch after batch of fresh hot mince pies and ensuring that the mulled wine didn't run out. Ailsa and Gen had a successful evening in the shop where the takings matched or even exceeded expectations and Rachel made sure that no one missed out on the wine and mince pies. Meanwhile I was there to bark (but not often) at anyone who didn't use a coaster when they put their glass down and talk about Smail's to those that behaved. A very successful evening all round.
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
Last week I wrote about an enquiry from Langholm Archive about a collection of printer's blocks they'd acquired from the Eskdale and Liddesdale Advertiser. Today Tom Hutton from the Langholm Archive came to see us with the blocks. There were four cardboard boxes of blocks - difficult to estimate how many but far fewer than the original enquiry suggested. Amongst them was some fascinating stuff - pictures of many of the Cornets - the principle in Langholm Common Riding - photographs of the Langholm area and some lovely line drawings of local buildings. Regrettably some were in poor condition but we'll see if we can get could quality prints from as many as possible as and when we have time. You never know there might be one or two interesting additions to our collection of printed material.
Friday, 4 November 2011
- Robert Smails’s Printing Works
- Robert Smail’s Archives
- Lasting Impressions ( a history of printing)
Tuesday, 25 October 2011
Saturday, 22 October 2011
Friday, 21 October 2011
|Christmas is Coming|
|Rachel is really looking forward to Christmas|
|Gen models the NTS Poncho|
Friday, 7 October 2011
Apple Day is also an annual event held during the month of October in Orchards and Gardens around our beautiful countryside and celebrates the humble apple, with taster sessions, fascinating discussions and growing tips. Priorwood Garden, in the center of Melrose, has a wide variety of apple trees in the orchard garden, all flourishing in the backdrop of the breathtaking Eildon Hills and Melrose Abbey.
It is in these surroundings that we will be encouraging artists, of all ages and abilities, to put pen, ink and chalk to paper. There will be opportunities to try a variety of drawing materials all of which will be provide. Inspiration will be there in abundance, whether it be the views and landscape or the apple trees themselves. Even if you have never tried drawing before, the main aim of the day is to have fun creating images. Smail's staff will be on hand to do some printing from apples and their leaves.
Feeling inspired? Log on to http://www.nts.org.uk/ for more information and venue details. Look forward to seeing you there.
Wednesday, 7 September 2011
It had been an early start for some so a coffee stop on the way south was essential - we went to Kirkharle Courtyard, home of Capability Brown and purveyors and excellent coffee, scones and tea cakes. The sat-nav decided that a cross-country route from the A! to the museum was shorter than the main road - well it was more interesting at least.
We were greeted on arrival by Celyn Williams and Emma Pargeter who escorted us passed the waiting queque and onto a tram. (The museum is spread over 300 acres and vintage trams and replica buses are used to move people about the museum). The town section of the museum is set just befroe the World War 1 and like most of Beamish comprises buildings which have been collected from all across the north-east of England. Prominent in the town centre is a newspaper office which originated in Hartlepool. The ground floor is the newspaper office whilst the newsapaper and jobbing work was printed upstairs. A very substantial floor was required. This Phil's domain (that's him in the photographh at the head of this post) and he spent a fascinating 45 minutes showing us what he did and talking aboyut his equipment and answering questions and dealing good naturedly with the comments of the printers - Phil was a compositor and typesetter. There ware Arab, Columbian and Wharfedale presses and as you see the photograph above the Columbian is a little larger than ours.
Time for lunch and we opted for coal fired fish and chips - fried in beef dripping - not the healthy option. The queue was long and the wait lengthy but all worth it in the end. An hour or so to explere the other bits of the museum individually before it was time to set off back to Innerleithen. The rear of the bus was very quiet on the way home - I think a good time was had by all
The Wayzgoose was the distinctive name given to the annual outings or dinners for printers. Nobody knows where the word came from; a meal was traditionally given to print employees on St Bartholomew’s Eve, which marked the end of summer, where goose may have been served, but this is unconfirmed.
Monday, 29 August 2011
Friday, 19 August 2011
I went up to the Edinburgh Book Festival this afternoon to a talk by Simon Garfield. He recently published a book on type design called “Just my Type (Profile Books, London 2010, ISBN 978-184 668 301 5). The talk was an anecdotal discussion of some type faces and why they were designed.
First up was Comic Sans which elicited groans from many in the audience. He did a partially successful rehabilitation on what is now considered a joke amongst type faces. In fact it was designed to provide a more cuddly image for some basic easy-to-use software produced by Microsoft. It was never used to put words into Microsoft Bob’s mouth but was used in another piece of simplified software and thus unleashed on the world. A perfectly good type-face for comics and jokes it has no place on more serious applications. As such it made a good introduction to subject of type design and why there are over 100,000 typefaces available.
The life and work of Eric Gill came up. He was a sculptor with a very peculiar life-style and the designer of Gill Sans. Simon touched on the suggestion that Gill Sans was less popular now because of Gill’s proclivities. Another odd type designer was Cobden-Sanderson who designed Dove – a type face that disappeared. Cobden-Sanderson fell out with his partner Emery Walker who was supposed to inherit the type-face when the designer died. To prevent this happening Cobden-Sanderson took the complete letter fund and threw it from
A thoroughly enjoyable hour although largely concerned with dispay type-faces rather than body type. Maybe this was because if you notice the body type-face in a document something has gone wrong. I’m looking forward to reading the book
Monday, 15 August 2011
Saturday, 13 August 2011
Thanks to Rachel and Ailsa for their hard work putting it in and to Tom for the much appreciated bacon rolls!
There was more success in the Fancy Dress Parade when our Printer's De'ils won first prize... WELL DONE GIRLS!
Working with Edwin Pickstone of Glasgow School of Art, these will be reproduced as posters to supplement/promote their Festival Exhibition, The Indirect Exchange of Uncertain Value.
Fine days have seen trays of wooden type treated and set out in the yard to dry. Thank you Rachel and Jim who have been treating the problem- staff and volunteers at Smail’s have to be flexible you know! Also the whole paper store is being thoroughly gone through and treated but our woodworm motel is off on holiday to the National Museums of Scotland for a serious blast in their freezer to cure this more serious outbreak.
We continue on the Robert Burns Birthplace Museum Donor Book...
The Burns Museum in Alloway, Ayrshire has had an extensive makeover since it was taken over by the National Trust for Scotland and the wonderful new visitor centre is now open to the public. This was only possible because of the donations from many individuals and organisations.
Earlier this year over 50 very heavy packages arrived at the Printing Works. These contained the names for the memorial book of all these wonderful donors. The names were set on a Monotype hot-metal type setter by Harry McIntosh at Speedspools.
The correct leading (inter-line space) is added and then the pages are imposed in the Case-room at Smail’s. The book has to be set, proofed, imposed and printed a section at a time due to limited chases and leading making it a very slow process. The pages are being printed on our Wharfedale press, which decided it wasn’t very happy early in July. Thanks to Tony and Eric they have persuaded it to print again (it is amazing what they can do with spit, string and lots of loving attention!)
The first section is complete and the title pages look beautiful with the burnished gold borders printed on high quality paper. Make-ready for printing is more complicated than you might expect as the position of the printed material had to move progressively so that when the pages are folded together for binding the margins line up properly. Once completed the book will be sent to Carronvale Bindery, where it will be traditionally bound, and then it will be finally be placed in the Museum. Unfortunately it has taken much longer than we originally anticipated... the overwhelming support for the project saw more than twice the number of names we expected. Whilst this is brilliant, the collation etc. took longer and once the timing slipped into our visitor season, the time to print has become severely limited. We will get there and I hope, once complete, people will forgive us the wait.
Friday, 5 August 2011
Wednesday, 11 May 2011
Friday, 1 April 2011
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Thursday, 3 February 2011
This year Smail's will celebrate 25 years in the care of the National Trust for Scotland. Lots of exciting events are planned to commemorate this wonderful anniversary. These include Workshops for children for all ages and Living History Week. Keep an eye on the blog for more details or visit www.nts.org.uk where you can view all events at Smail's, as well as events taking place at other National Trust for Scotland properties.
The National Trust for Scotland is a registered charity which relies on it's members for support. You too can support the work of the National Trust for Scotland by becoming a member. You can do this by visiting a property and speaking to one of our membership/admissions assistants, by contacting the Membership Department at Hermiston Quay or by visiting our website.