Meet The Makers | Suze & Andrew
I didn’t want to focus on just letterpress, I wanted to make sure that the business name projected the fact that I can do a lot of different thingsSee our handpicked guides to Newcastle
BY ALICIA POOLE
Letterpress… what is it?
The oldest form of printing – that’s right no digital quick fixes here. Letterpress is old school, and it can produce some amazing one-of-a-kind work.
The duo at Newcastle based letterpress and design studio, Where Things Happen, mix modern technology with old school printing processes and we wanted to pick the new-found business partners' brains to find out all about it!
Suze, with her background in graphic design and Andrew with his extensive career in printing; was the perfect partnership either of them could have asked for.
“I was trying to sell a press…it was about 6 months ago, and Suze said ‘I want it, but I can’t afford it’…a conversation started and where I’ve always been held back is that I’m not a designer and I hate technology...Suze just said I think we can do this together; I can do this end and you can do that end” – Andrew
“There's so much to learn with letterpress it became too hard to cover every aspect. This way I can still be printing, and I can still be learning but Andrew has that experience and can do things a lot faster than I can. It’s just a better way for both of us to spend our time; doing what we know" – Suze
So, how did you both get into letterpress?
“My uncle owned a print shop, and when he sold it he kept in contact with the people that bought it, and they wanted a young kid to help out and I was busting to get out of school” – Andrew
“I went to Newcastle University, and I was actually in the first year that the design course; that was a degree in a Bachelor of Arts, with a focus on design…Apple had begun taking over from other technologies... I graduated at a time when almost everything I had learnt was obsolete. The Mac era had started to take over and a lot of people in the industry had no clue” – Suze
Tell me a bit about the team; that is, your insane equipment, Albion, Fatima & Wolfgang…
“I named them because they all have a different personality, but then I noticed that a lot of other people had named their presses and I thought, oh! It’s a thing! It was more that they were all just so different, like the old Albion press (1852), is such an old, massive chunk of metal, it’s got lion feet and a crown on the top, it's very ornate”
“Fatima is an Arab press, that’s where she got her name. She reminds me of my grandma’s old singer sewing machine where you use to pump the treadle, so that’s kind of why I thought she was more of a female. 1920’s, not sure of the exact date she was made.
“Wolfgang – that’s the Heidelberg. When I first got that press I was scared of touching him, he's a bit of a beast…I think you can do more with the Heidelberg than the other two” - Suze
“The Heidelberg is for commercial press…it’s the most versatile press out there” – Andrew
That’s some serious equipment you’ve got there; how long does the whole process from design to final print usually take?
“We can probably turn something around within 7-14 days. It depends on the job and it depends on whether or not they are being edge painted or duplexed, so glued together. So, generally, if we’re doing foiling or we need a metal plate that takes a bit longer because we have to send it away…the other thing is how long the design process takes. How many rounds of changes need to be made” - Suze
You’ve just had your first Letterpress workshop; tell me about how that came together.
“When I was selling at The Olive Tree Markets, I had a lot of people asking whether I ran workshops and then I was speaking with the guys from Pumphouse and they had suggested we think about doing a class together and to see if there’s any interest” – Suze
If you’re after something a little unique, or with that exceptional point of difference, Suze & Andrew from Where Things Happen can work with you to