After the Pandemic: The Press Reopens

It’s been too long! In early 2020 the Pathfoot Press, like the rest of the world, closed its doors, hunkered down, and waited for the storm to pass. We’re delighted to announce that now – after two years gathering dust – we’ve reopened and are looking forward to getting inky once again.

Poems by Liam Bell, printed by the Pathfoot Press, and on display at Taigh Cearsabhagh, North Uist (5 Feb – 5 Mar).

We are also excited to announce that the press is moving . . . again, but hopefully the last time for a while. Our new home is A55 Pathfoot Building and we’re currently in the middle of the move, but will be fully open by the end of the month. We look forward to welcoming you back!

(c) 2022 Pathfoot Press

Dae ye ken yer ane leid?

The Pathfoot Press has had a quiet summer, due in large part to its director and lead designer welcoming their daughter into the world in June.  As term draws nigh, however, we’re beginning to brush the dust off the quoins and blow cobwebs out of the type cases.

Our first project has been a small one.  Printing produces many scraps of paper, some too small for anything but the recycling bin, others of a size to be creatively reused and this afternoon we did exactly that, taking off-cuts from a project undertaken early in the year and turning them into some – we hope! – thought-provoking bookmarks.

Just the right size for a bookmark . . .

After years of campaigning, the 2011 census was the first to ask residents of Scotland whether they spoke Scots. 1.54 million people, or 30% of the population aged three and over, responded “yes” (see the analysis of the responses here). On the one hand, that’s a huge number, far larger than had often been assumed before. On the other, that means that 7 out of 10 residents of Scotland don’t speak the language of Burns and Dunbar, Henryson and MacDiarmid.

In the chase.

Since it was founded, one of the goals of the Pathfoot Press has been to support Scots-language literature, whether that means printing new work or reprinting old classics. But, as the statistics show, that literature isn’t fully accessible to many people and it’s that paradox which this small project reflects upon.

Fresh off the Adana.

These bookmarks will be available at all Press events in the 2019-20 academic year (while supplies last).

What about you? Dae ye ken yer ane leid?

(c) 2019 Pathfoot Press

Christmas at the Pathfoot Press

Staff Art Tour and Pathfoot Press Open Afternoon
Wednesday 12th December

12.30pm – 1.30pm Staff Art Tour (meet at Pathfoot Reception)
The Art Collection curators are offering a free guided tour for University staff in the Pathfoot Building. The tour will include information about the history of the Collection, key artworks and current exhibitions including the Experiences of Exile exhibition which focusses on the issue of refugees and migration. If you would like to attend please RSVP to:

1.30pm – 3.30pm Pathfoot Press Open Afternoon (C7B Pathfoot Building)
The Pathfoot Press is opening the doors to visitors on 12th December. The Press was founded in 2016 as a centre for letterpress printing, teaching, and research. Come and meet the team and see our working press room with its own Columbian Press. The event includes the opportunity to print your own keepsake Christmas card.

Letterpress: Art or Craft?

Some thoughts by our director on the art vs. craft debate as it applies to letterpress. What do you think? Is it an art? A craft? Both? Neither?

Kelsey Jackson Williams

Anyone who has spent much time in the world of visual and material culture will be familiar with the so-called “art vs. craft debate”.  Rooted in early modern and modern western European distinctions between (fine) “art”, e.g., Michelangelo’s David, and (not so fine) “craft”, e.g., a Toby jug, this perceived duality continues to echo through the contemporary art world despite repeated attempts to destabilise it, recalibrate it, or simply ignore it altogether [1].

As a printer, I only began to think about where letterpress might fit into all of this last year when a glass maker of my acquaintance asked me, did I think of myself as an artist or a craftsman?  At the time I off-handedly said “craftsman”, but in reality I don’t think the answer can be quite so simple.

The problem is that both “art” and “craft” come with their own cultural baggage.  When we…

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Volcanoes in Print!

The Pathfoot Press is delighted to announce the fruits of an ongoing collaboration with the University of St Andrews Centre for Landscape Studies.  This will involve a series of event on Thursday, 6 December, including a letterpress printing workshop, an exhibition of early printed books in St Andrews Special Collections, and a lecture by Professor Gareth Williams of the University of Columbia on, amongst other things, one of the most revolutionary outputs of the fifteenth-century Venetian print trade.

Remember that for the printing workshop spaces are limited, so if you would like to attend please contact Dr. Dawn Hollis at to register.

The workshop will be preceded by the exhibition . . .

volcano blog 2

. . . and followed later that evening by Professor Williams’s lecture:

volcano blog 3

We hope to see you there!