exhibitions, Letterpress, Uncategorized

A Grand Day Out

It’s been a very busy few weeks over here at Lestaret Towers, so last Friday I took off into the beautiful Suffolk countryside with my friend and fellow designer Jodie Cole to go to the Lettering Arts Centre at Snape Maltings for a bit of inspiration.
The Centre is home of the Lettering and Commemorative Arts Trust  and is currently host to an exhibition of the work of the legendary letterpress artist and designer, Alan Kitching. The exhibition included a selection of his work spanning his career that followed his unexpected departure in 1988 from his role at Omnific Studio Partnership with Derek Birdsall and Martin Lee where he had set up a letterpress studio in 1976.

The wonderful Jodie outside the exhibition

There are of course some familiar images included in the exhibition; the broadsides and typographic maps especially, which are even more spectacular in the flesh due to their scale – about A1 size!
As well as the more recognisable prints from his archive, there were also a number of little gems – mockups and markups and the like, as well a little pile of ‘make-readies’ – offcuts of paper and card used to slip under worn type to raise the surface to type height. These are little things that will be hugely familiar to anyone has experienced letterpress printing, and it is comforting to see the evidence of this wonderfully low tech and time-proven method.LESTARET-KITCHING-6
Jodie was as impressed as I was, and I had seen many of these prints a few years ago at an exhibition in London, but there were prints here I had not seen, as well as items from his own archive.LESTARET-KITCHING-8I had also booked us a couple of places at a talk by the man himself in the evening, and we took our seats amongst a small number of others in the exhibition space itself, which made for a very intimate experience!

Kitching was interviewed and prompted to discuss all kinds of issues and subjects, where he gave very personal and honest responses as well as answering questions. He also hung around afterwards to chat with people, and Jodie collared him for a photo. Fangirl!LESTARET-KITCHING-9The exhibition is to promote a new Monograph by John L. Walters (Laurence King) published next year. There were some copies for sale at the event so I had to indulge myself!
LESTARET-KITCHING-11I even got my copy signed! Fanboy!LESTARET-KITCHING-12At the end of the talk, he offered out a range of letterpress post cards, of which this is my favourite…
Good times. Many thanks to the Lettering and Commemorative Arts Trust for putting on such a great exhibition, and also to the man himself, for being so gregarious and not anything like the unapproachable grump I had mistakenly understood him to be!

Also, many thanks to Jodie who was great company – and who generously stood in when I forgot my PIN number when I was trying to buy the book! (It’s an old trick, but it never fails!)


Two Great Exhibitions In One


There are a couple of great exhibitions on at the King’s Lynn Arts Centre right now by Paul Ebbens and Peter Swann, two artists with very different approaches to their work.

Paul Ebbens is a ceramic artist from King’s Lynn and this exhibition, called ‘Washed’ is full of his  larger than life, vibrant and textural ceramics , many of which defy classification!

Here’s a few images of the show:


I am proud to have designed a book to accompany the exhibition, which was conceived, researched and written by my good friend Nick Sampson with the work specially shot by ace photographer Guy Rogers. You can purchase a copy for yourself or as a thoughtful gift here.


Peter Swann is well-known for his assemblage works and this exhibition has a fine selection of them on show, along with a number of other unusual items like the Memory Extractor Unit:


I don’t want to spoil the surprise, but there are a number of interactive elements included in his work that will make you smile (or more!) along with some remarkable things not usually found in art galleries.

The main thing about Peters’ work is that it is full of stories; a few convoluted tales, parodies and many implied stories that have yet to be told. If you’re lucky, you might find Peter amongst the exhibits – go on and ask him anything about what you see – like I said before, Peters’ work is full of stories and there is no better place to get them than from the source…


Both exhibitions run until Sunday September 13th so there’s still time! Go on; you won’t be disappointed!


Nick and Ellen Sampson at the Greyfriars Art Space

Last Saturday was the private view of Nick and Ellen’s exhibition at greyfriars Art Space in King’s Lynn and I can report that it was a huge success!There were many guests over the evening who expressed their preferences and fascinations throughout the exhibition, whilst the exquisite canapés were nibbled and the Pimm’s flowed freely (Thank you Daphne!)  LESTARET-Sampson-ex-2 LESTARET-Sampson-ex-3 LESTARET-Sampson-ex-4
I went back last week to get some good shots of the exhibition whilst it was less crowded…
LESTARET-Sampson-ex-6 LESTARET-Sampson-ex-7 LESTARET-Sampson-ex-8 LESTARET-Sampson-ex-9
LESTARET-Sampson-ex-10 LESTARET-Sampson-ex-11 LESTARET-Sampson-ex-12 LESTARET-Sampson-ex-13 LESTARET-Sampson-ex-14    LESTARET-Sampson-ex-18LESTARET-Sampson-ex-17 LESTARET-Sampson-ex-19


Nicks-Exhibition The exhibition runs until the 8th of August – it is well worth the visit, and if you see Nick (above) say hello – he is usually much smilier than this picture!




This is a shameless plug for an exhibition by my good friend Nick Sampson and his daughter Ellen  at the Greyfriars Art Space in King’s Lynn opens this weekend.

Between them they are exhibiting a range of works that they have independently produced over the last 10 years. This is going to be a fantastic collection of very different artworks by this hugely talented father and daughter and well worth a visit.

For those that can’t make it, I will be taking a few pictures at the private view on Saturday, and will post some images of my favourite pieces of work next week. Hope to see you there.