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Print Powers On In Industry Awards

May 23, 2014

Print Powers On In Industry Awards

A small specialist printing company in Birkenhead on the North Shore has shown that the “small guy” can aspire to be the top of the pile by taking out the Supreme Award at Pride In Print 2014 -- with every judge giving it ten out of ten.

The winning entry was a set of fine art “2 Colour Letterpress Prints” from GTO Printers. The job also won the Specialty Products Category and the Letterpress Process Award for the Birkenhead firm.

Pride In Print is the showpiece event of the industry, which contributes $1.6 billion to the economy and involves around 10,000 people. About 700 attended the Awards at the Sky City Convention Centre on Friday night (subs: May 23), as the awards adopted a new slogan of “Power In Print”.

The Supreme set of four prints, done in black and brown on a 47-year-old one-colour press, were so artistically stunning that they won unanimous approval from the judges for craftsmanship, technical mastery and high-art appeal.

Comments from judges included: “… it doesn’t get better than this … a brilliant retention of the finest details, particularly considering the impact process in the press… stunningly beautiful prints … an amazing job.”

Judge Symon Yendoll said: “In all my years as a Pride In Print judge I have never seen any entry with so many positive comments from judges -- everyone gave it ten out of ten.

“If you are talking about craft achievements, this is unbelievable. Craft-wise, letterpress is as hard as it gets.

“The level of detail is incredible. In one print, one of the bird’s eyes is open. It is tiny, like a pinprick -- and yet it is as clear as can be. That is extremely difficult to do.

“The end result is a virtual 3D effect.”

The irony was that GTO Printers principal Graham Judd, whose artistic leanings inspired the work, was not there to receive the award. Mr Judd is turning 65 and he took his family to Manhattan Island as a treat. He left assistant manager Jane Caine to take over the business when he was gone -- which meant Ms Caine stepped on the stage to receive the ultimate print award.

“It is a wonderful reward -- I have worked for Graham for 19 years and he is so passionate about printing,” said Ms Caine.

“He’ll never retire -- he loves it! He saw the potential for letterpress printing, saw a niche market for it with wedding invitations and ran with it and developed it. He went to the wedding shows, loved it and set up this letterpress exhibition.

“He had a letterpress machine and just went for it. People also loved it and wanted it regardless of the cost.

“When I saw this I just went ‘wow’. It encompasses, history, craft and passion. That’s all I can say -- ‘wow’!”


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