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‘Kijk!’ — On Letterpress and Offset Printing in Education

‘Kijk!’ is a celebration of printing culture at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, made to mark the retirement of Joos Wiersinga, who has been manager of the Letterpress & Offset workshop for twelve years. Letterpress and offset are old printing techniques, but more than ever relevant inside the walls of an art school today. Analog printing work allows one to experiment with the physicality of paper, ink, pressure, typographies, and water. It also builds a deep understanding and care in communication through collective and critical experiences. Next to that, letterpress and offset techniques offer an overview of the entire printing process, from concept to production, and how these are inevitably intertwined.

In the Letterpress & Offset workshop at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie, students set type with lead and wooden letters, print proofs on cylinder presses, and can learn to print with the offset printer. Joos Wiersinga has brought a buzz to the workshop and her work has had a great influence on the production and experimentation with printed matter within the academy. She is also an essential key in the Amsterdam printing network as well as the international one. ‘Kijk!’ (‘Look!’) is a reference to a word that Joos uses a lot in the workshop, an invitation to look closer at a print.

In this publication, we have gathered contributions and testimonies which illustrate Joos’ incredible commitment, and the importance of printing processes in the transmissions of knowledge inside and outside of the academy.