Tara McLeod is the best limited edition hand-print book-maker in the country. In an easy no-fuss approach, McLeod visualises the typographic layout of the page, and whether he employs wooden or metal type, or a mix, the design is fixed for all time by printing it. And there is quality and care in that process, as well as balance and 'just-rightness'. His work is easily recognisable; 'that's a McLeod!', they say. It is no wonder libraries and collectors throughout New Zealand are chasing his work.
Dr. Donald Kerr, F.L.S Special Collections Librarian University of Otago
To put it simply, Tara McLeod is the best private press printer at work in this country. He has a great eye for design, does much of his own art work and his presswork is remarkably fine. I have seen Tara working with very old and damaged wooden type and have never seen such virtuoso printing of such unpromising material.
Keith Maslen D Litt (Oxon) ONZM
Since 2001 Tara McLeod has been the main designer and printer for the Holloway Press. Holloway Press books follow no particular format, each being freshly designed by Tara to suit the contents. Tara's high standards, versatility as an artist and deep knowledge of typography and printing have been crucial to the development of the Press, which of course represents only one of his multiple activities as an artist.
Peter Simpson, Director The Holloway Press

Trays of metal type, once prolific in every letterpress printshop are now preserved by a small number of private presses.

Experimental typographical design using wood type. Although working with obsolete technology The Pear Tree Press design philosophy is to reflect, within the limitations of the process, a result that is compatible with 21st century graphic art.

A Wunderkammer with its treasures sits easily with collections of type and other printers equipment.

Tara McLeod with the 1832 Albion press brought to New Zealand by the stationery company Collins Brothers, England in 1870.

Along with the accumulation of printing equipment other items find their way into the printer's studio. These treasures sit atop a rack of spacing materials.

The Pear Tree Press gained its name from an aged pear tree that overhung an old brick farm shed where Tara McLeod first established the Press in the Mt Albert suburb of Auckland, later moving north of Auckland to Orewa.

A varied selection of limited edition books and other printed material are produced using the traditional method of letterpress. Metal and wood types from the Press's collection are used with images that may include wood, linocut and wood engraving.

Although the technology relates back five hundred years to Gutenberg, the design philosophy relates to twenty-first century ideals using a hands on directness in a creative and sometimes experimental way.

Tara is a multimedia artist with a background in graphic design. His works have been exhibited widely including the Dowse Art Museum and The Alexander Turnbull Library who hold a substantial collection of his work in their Rare Books and Fine Printing Collection.

Pear Tree Press books and prints are held in major libraries and collections in New Zealand, United States, England, Australia and Canada. Tara has the distinction of being the only contemporary New Zealand artist to feature in the book Real Gold: Treasures of Auckland Public Libraries.

“One chooses either to simply muck about in the shed with an old printing press, or to acquire at considerable labour, cost and some risk to one's emotional stability, standards of excellence comparable with the finest anywhere in the world.”

Alan Loney 1979

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