The House of Words
We are an interdisciplinary institution focussing on art and education, and a part of the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre. The programme of the House of Words is structured around the meaning of written word in cultural and social contexts.
The House of Words was created upon the foundation of the Chamber of Printing, which has operated at Zmigrod 1 St. since 2008. The programme of the House of Words aims to underline the meaning of spoken and printed word in a cultural and social context. This also covers the importance of “free speech” in the processes of social and political change. Other than events aiming to popularise the traditional book manufacture process (print, graphic design, typography), we also host events and projects that promote reading and literacy. The House of Words is located in the centre of poor and derelict Lublin, which is why many of our projects that have a social aspect to them are directed at, among others, the people from our neighbourhood.
Chamber of Printing
Alicja Magiera - bookbinding department
Robert Sawa - typesetting and printing department
Sywlia Woźniak - papermaking department
Education and Animation
Alina Bąk - literacy education
Katarzyna Sobczyk - literacy and art education
Monika Czapka - “Different Lublin” programme
Łukasz Kijek - “Power of Free Speech” programme
Maciej Tuora - written word department
Maciej Pałka - graphic novel department
Marek Słomianowski - printing press
Kamil Brewiński - literacy education
The House of Words
ul. Żmigród 1/ Królewska 17
tel. 81 534 52 33
Mon. – Fri., 09:00am – 05:00pm
The department contains a number of pre-war printing presses and tools, many of which belonged to the “Popularna” printing press. Due to the printing processes, the department is divided into two separate areas. The typesetting department collects the tools necessary to construct a printing matrix: stillages and racks, type cases, fonts, ornamentation, composing sticks. The printing department is where the large- and small-format printing presses are located. One of those is Planeta Fixia, which we use to print out posters, or the manually operated “Boston” machine from 1903, used for unconnected prints, flyers and small folders. Robert Sawa hosts typography workshops in this department.
The bookbinding department is where we prepare the binding of unique books, bind books using the the Coptic and Japanese stitch binding methods, as well as all works that deal with the finishing touches for printed materials. As part of the Chamber of Printing, at the beginning the bookbinding department was largely concerned with the printing presses and tools that had once belonged to the “Popularna” printing press and the Printers and Bookbinders Work Association. In January 2012, we bought equipment from the old “Intrograf” bookbinding press that operated at Cyrulicza St. in Lublin. The department has been expanded by the inclusion of type cases and bookbinding ornaments, a gilding press, perforator, scissors, guillotines and bookbinding presses. The new machines and tools have afforded the department incredible opportunities. Alicja Magiera hosts bookbinding workshops using the old bookbinding presses.
The paper manufacture department is where we turn plants and maculature into unique handmade paper. The department includes a separate area where, through thermal and chemical processes, plant-derived cellulose is acquired. The papermaking department contains waterproof distillation tables with vats, where paper is produced using either European or eastern “sugeta” sieves. Old German binding presses of over a hundred years of age squeeze the excess water from handmade sheets. The traditional papermaking process is very long and requires precision and concentration, and particularly dislikes haste. At the start, the paper is a plant and is derived from it. In the delicate but sturdy paper, one can still feel the trace of a plant’s vitality in its structure. Cellulose is a very common material in nature. We can find it in many kinds of grass, flax, hemp, tree fibers, plant stems or banana peels. Sylwia Woźniak hosts workshops about paper manufacture using different techniques, such as the Japanese method.
The lithography department, which exists as part of the Chamber of Printing, has been created to commemorate and cultivate this printing profession. In 2009 we have bought lithography stones from the European Arts Academy in Warsaw. These stones still contain the original labels from the 1960s. In the following years more have been acquired. Currently we are in possession of nineteen small format lithography stones and two large format ones. On November 29th, 2011, we bought our entire lithography department equipment from Ms Barbara Aumer, including a Karl Krause small format lithography press made in 1904 in Leipzig, and a polishing machine. The department has operated since 2013 thanks to the initiative of the Chamber of Printing and the people involved who work in lithography. Tomasz Malec, Jolanta Gmur and Przemysław Garczyński have offered to help set up and operate the lithography department in the Chamber of Printing. The department is operational and is being constantly expanded: we organise exhibitions and lithography workshops. It is where unconnected prints for cultural events are made. The department has been started by Jolanta Gmur and continued by Edyta Pietrzak.
The Chamber of Printing
By visiting the Chapter of Printing one can discover the look and function of a traditional typographic printing press or paper manufacture, what was entailed in the work of a typesetter, printer or bookbinder, and discover the history of the “Popularna” printing press, which existed here in the 1930s. Currently the exhibition includes a tour of all the departments: the printing press, bookbinding, papermaking and typesetting. The tour will familiarise one with the history of printing, written word, traditional bookbinding techniques, papermaking methods, and the creation of lithographic prints. We host workshops during which the participants can learn papermaking, typeset, practice calligraphy or operate a printing press. Additionally, visitors have the opportunity of touring the exhibition dedicated to Józef Łobodowski, our patron.
The Power of Free Speech
We host an exhibition titled “The Power of Free Speech”. In a symbolic way it commemorates the death of fourteen printers who worked at the “Popularna” press towards the end of World War II. They were killed by Germans for the printing of illegal flyers. The exhibition’s central idea is to show the birth of Lublin’s independent printing operation from the years 1976-1989. The exhibition includes magazines, books and film fragments that illustrate the historical background of socialist Poland. Visitors can listen to the oral histories of printers and the people involved in the underground printing operation, as well as see the printing presses and tools they used. The main attraction of the exhibition is a famous duplicating machine (mimeograph), which was used to print the first issue of the underground magazine “Zapis” in Lublin. This event is considered the inception of the second printing circulation in Poland and has been essential in the creation of the Solidarity movement, as well as the following political changes that took place in Poland in the 1980s. All of these events were an expression of their participants’ yearning for freedom. The world in which we live in today shows each day just how important this freedom is. This is why we have developed programmes directed at younger audiences that deal with questions surrounding the value of freedom.
As part of the “Grodzka Gate – NN Theatre” Centre there exists a publishing programme, which is simultaneously a natural element of the cultural promotion of Lublin. Thanks to this it helps create our city’s image.
The publishing programme is on the one hand directed at a mass audience (both Polish and foreign), but on the other hand it serves to compartmentalise the knowledge we have on multiple subjects related to Lublin (such as history, culture), which are all important to the city but still not widely known.
We continue the publishing programme, part of which is the publication of the “Scriptores” quarterly. It is related to the compartmentalisation of the knowledge we have about Lublin’s culture and history. A subsidiary of this programme is the serial publication titled “Lublin – Roads to Freedom” (Lublin – Drogi do Wolności). Its purpose is to showcase the most important events in Lublin’s history connected to the widespread resistance against the socialist government. A characteristic element of the publication is that its instalments use oral histories as their fundamental narrative element. Due to this we are invited to perceive history through the eyes of specific people: witnesses.
As part of the “Lublin – Roads to Freedom” series we have published the book “The Power of Free Speech”, the story of Lublin’s underground printing operation. We are currently planning to publish the following books dedicated to specific subjects:
- “A Diary from the Martial Law Period”, K. Hariasz
- “Lublin July 1980”
- “Solidarity in Lublin” (1980 - 1989)