Caren Florance




Australian National University, Canberra; Ampersand Duck


Caren Florance lives and works in Canberra, Australia. She is a printmaker who identifies as a private press with a contemporary twist, using letterpress, printmaking and paper-play to produce a wide variety of work on the book arts spectrum, from fine press volumes and broadsides to book sculpture. Her press name is Ampersand Duck.

Caren teaches book arts and typography on a sessional basis at the Printmedia & Drawing Workshop of the Australian National University School of Art, and has taught many bookmaking workshops for printmaking and community bodies. Her workshops have a strong emphasis on play and exploration.

Caren is a member of Craft ACT, the Bibliographical Society of Australia and NZ, the NZ Association of Hand Printers, the Fine Press Book Association, the New Australian Bookplate Association, the Canberra Craft Bookbinders Guild, and is on the Board of the Print Council of Australia.


The Touch of Words: why letterpress lingers in Australia


Letterpress in Australia has shifted from being a technical adjunct to the publishing industry to a direct reaction against the publishing industry. It is practiced by people who want to create physical textual objects, tangible and haptic. Its survival is a matter of sheer luck and tenacity in the face of a pragmatic nation that prefers to scrap and reshape rather than seek alternatives. As a technical process, letterpress is shape-shifting constantly to suit new conditions and dwindling supplies and equipment. This presentation paper will use a small geographical region, the Canberra-Monaro region as an example of the wider national (and international) transformation of textual printing from a commercial process to a bibliographic hobby and on again to an art & design genre, consequently gaining a new following and a new audience. The focus will be the use of moveable type, although relief letterpress printing with photopolymer plate will be included.


Thursday 29 September


11:00am - 12.30pm





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