Words Set Free exhibition



The theme of Letter Exchange’s 2012 exhibition
Words Set Free was freedom of expression.


My response to this was to look at words that relate to this and express differing levels of censorship and liberty. I then arranged them in a way that demonstrated the relative degrees of severity from being restricted to unrestricted. However my first visuals, knocked up as usual on the Mac, lacked something. They seemed too easy, too clean, without an emotional connection.


I began to think about how free speech was maintained historically under oppressive regimes by activists working in secret using limited resources to publish their message. One way to recreate this would be to hand-set the type and print a limited number on a small press.


I signed up for the letterpress workshop at Harrington and Squires ( in
Tufnell Park. Under their expert eye, I recreated my original design working within the restrictions of their typefaces and facilities. Although not a large piece of work, it still took four passes on an Adana press, registered by hand to achieve what I wanted. It took a lot of planning to work out what to put in each chase and what order to print them.


As a result, the finished prints have the character and human quality I was looking for and I have a much better understanding of difficulties encountered maintaining freedom of expression in the days before mass communication.









Buy the limited edition print