Letterpress advocate at The Bacon Factory seeks industry support

The Bacon Factory founder Clint Harvey is calling for industry support to preserve a historic letterpress collection and build a mobile printmaking studio after the business where the collection is currently housed in Brisbane was sold.

The Bacon Factory is Brisbane’s only open-access letterpress workshop and creative co-working print studio. It has served as a classroom, public workshop studio and Australian typographic archive for over 10 years after being established and funded by Harvey in 2010. 

The Bacon Factory’s first home was a rundown, brick warehouse in Fortitude Valley which was once a small goods factory known for its bacon.

The Bacon Factory founder Clint Harvey

In 2017, real estate prices skyrocketed and the Bacon Factory had to relocate to Eagle Farm in Brisbane. With real estate developers circling and high prices continuing, The Bacon Factory has now been issued with 30 days to vacate the building.

Harvey has plans for the collection to be housed in a mobile printmaking studio, within a converted shipping container but he needs support from the industry to make it a reality.

“It’s all about taking letterpress to the people (and of course, saving the collection). The converted shipping container will allow The Bacon Factory’s historic letterpress equipment to travel to any location in Australia that can be accessed by a truck and shipping container. For many residents in regional and remote areas of Australia, this will be the first time that they’ve had access to a letterpress studio,” Harvey said.

“The mobile printmaking studio will offer community demonstrations and workshops on the history of printing, the art of letterpress and its relevance to graphic design in a digital world. 

“We plan to use the mobile printmaking studio to expose new people to printmaking and work with them to share their community’s stories via the printed word. Doing this will enhance local artists and designer’s knowledge base and keep the craft and knowledge of letterpress printing alive in Australia.”

His plans are outlined in a Go Fund Me page, which includes:

Funding goal 1 of $8,500 for storage: If it raises $8,500, Harvey will be able to buy a used, 40-inch, high cube, shipping container to store the collection in. It will also cover the cost of hire equipment to move the presses and a truck to move the container to a secure location.

Funding goal 2 of $21,300 for a print studio: After it reaches funding goal 1, an additional $12,800 will be needed to make custom modifications to the container so that it can be used as a letterpress studio. Modifications include insulation, creating a side opening in the container that will enable people to access and use the presses, wiring and lights and, some other necessary upgrades to make a safe workspace. This level of funding aims to ensure that the public will continue to have workshop access to the Bacon Factory presses.  

Funding goal 3 of $29,550 to take presses to the public: For an additional $8,250, Harvey can create a mobile letterpress printmaking studio. This additional funding is needed to complete the container’s conversion. This includes securely fixing the presses and equipment to the container and obtaining certifications that will enable Harvey to legally take the mobile letterpress printmaking studio on the road. 

For the past 10 years, Harvey has spent in excess of $20,000 per year on rent to preserve this collection and give the public access to the printing presses. But with help, he said he can take the presses to the people while at the same time giving the presses a safe home.

“With your support, we can preserve this collection and continue to offer access to the dying craft of letterpress,” he mentioned.

“Your generous support via Go Fund Me will allow us to secure a shipping container so that we can preserve this unique archive, continue to give the public access to letterpress printing and so that the Bacon Factory won’t become homeless again.”

At the time of writing, The Bacon Factory received $12,706 in funding from 129 supporters.

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One thought on “Letterpress advocate at The Bacon Factory seeks industry support

  1. Moveable Type or Letterpress was the foundation of the massive Printing Industry but modern requirements for volume and speed have overtaken letterpress with new technologies, many of which are also being overtaken.
    Maybe the Queensland industry can follow NSW Printing Museum which also runs groups interested in the craft of print making.
    Recently John and Tim Fairfax set up a fund to support young people entering the industry and I understand Tim is a supporter of the Arts and as they are younger than me, be able to help. I started in the industry in 1948.

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