Legacy of Letters 2023: Letterpress Extravaganza—2. Torino

July 1, 2023 | Day 2

Archivio Tipografico

We spent the morning at the Archivio Tipografico, the first of four letterpress studios on our itinerary in addition to the Tipoteca. Gabriele Fumero, Emanuele Mensa, Luca, and Sebastian welcomed us warmly. Since it was a Saturday, other members of the collective were not present. We began with a tour of the studio led by Gabriele. Nearly the entire place had been rearranged since the last visit by Legacy of Letters in 2017. The entryway was almost the same and the anamorphic illustration of type height painted on the ceiling was still there. But presses, guillotines, type cabinets, tables, and other equipment had been moved all around.

Everyone reveled in the drawers of unfamiliar metal and wood typefaces, the equipment, the type specimen books, the prints and books.

A view of the new layout of Archivio Tipografico. Susan Fitzgerald is kneeling in front; standing from left to right are: Jen Thomas, Gabriele Fumero, Jacob Ford, Emanuel Mensa, and Luca. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

A wood type version of the Art Nouveau typeface Kalligraphia at Archivio Tipografico. The letters have been cut on an inclined body to make spacing easier. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Fred Wiltshire and Hofi Benediktsdóttir examining some type at the Archivio Tipografico. Emanuele Mensa is standing at their right. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Some type galleys, including type set on a curve. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Susan Fitzgerald (left) and Jen Thomas (right) looking at one of the books printed at the Archivio Tipografico. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

After the tour of the studio, Gabriele and Luca oversaw printing of the first keepsake for Legacy of Letters 2023. They had chosen a wood version of Landi Linear for their alphabet. They divided up the capitals and numerals to accommodate the tri-fold layout of the oblong sheet (the size of three A5 sheets arranged side-by-side) that I had chosen in consultation with the studios. Luca showed the Legacy of Letters 2023 participants how to operate the cylinder press and then each one took turns printing the edition of 30 prints.

Landi Linear inked up for printing. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Luca explaining how to operate the cylinder press. Watching are (from left to right) Fred Wiltshire, Gabriele Fumero, and Jacob Ford.Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Gabriele Fumero (left) and Jacob Ford (right) examining the keepsake. Photograph by Paul Shaw.

Studio of Massimo Polello

Massimo Polello, a Torinese calligrapher with an international reputaton, invited the members of Legacy of Letters 2023 to visit his studio in the afternoon. The visit was a bonus since it was not part of the itinerary. We sat around a large table discussing calligraphy with both myself and Massimo stopping the discussion to demonstrate various scripts and tools. Massimo also showed us several projects he had been involved in, including an amazing Dutch art book where he worked with Brody Neuenschwander.

Jen Thomas watching Massimo Polello demonstrate expressive calligraphy using a syringe. Photograph by Paul Shaw.