Posts Categorized: Letterpress

Letterpress: Movable Type + Polymer Plates (January)

Letterpress printing has been making an impression since 1440 when Gutenberg invented movable type. Letterpress printing creates a tactile and inviting debossment in paper by using a mechanical press to prints from metal or wood type. This “punch” makes letterpress a popular choice for greeting cards, business cards, invitations, broadsides, and a wide range of printed ephemera. While it began as a commercial process, artists, designers, typographers and illustrators are continually finding new ways to approach the art form.

Letterpress: Movable Type + Polymer Plates introduces both traditional handset type AND polymer plates. Polymer plates allow artists to print from digital designs (illustrations, text, and even photographs) and can be made in house or ordered online.

Students will develop foundational skills by using a composing stick to hand set lines of types. From there, projects will introduce more technical considerations as well as creative approaches to printing. Students will learn to learn to lock-up type, prepare digital files for print, create polymer plates, set pressure, mix and modify ink and (maybe most importantly) safely operate our machines.

Throughout the class students will acquire the technical skills to be authorized to print independently at Spudnik Press and the creative skills to produce inventive and alluring prints for years to come.

DIY Letterpress Greeting Cards (January)

Please join us for an afternoon of printing your own greeting cards using our traditional printing presses. The tactile quality of ink pressed into paper will surely leave an impression on the lucky recipients of your handmade cards!

Students will each set their own short saying, phrase, or statement using metal and wood type. This text can even be combined with an illustration from our collection of vintage relief blocks! The end result: A festive and professional one-of-a-kind holiday card, thank you card, birthday card, or “every day” card to send friends and family.

This workshop combines an overview of letterpress printing and it’s unique history with hands-on art making, and it is a great way to try out a new craft. Our studio will provide 15 A6 Eco White fold over cards, but students can bring blank notecards if they prefer a different size or color.

Letterpress Pressure Prints

By combining stencils and low-relief collages with letterpress printing, artists can make textural images reminiscent of rubbings and collagraphs. Variation in the thickness of cut paper, string, plants, netting and other relatively two-dimensional items effect the amount of ink transferred by the cylinder of the press to the paper and leave a rich nuanced image on the page.

Students will work individually and collectively to create a variety of stencils, then experiment with the stencils, composition and the printing process to tell a story, create a mood, or build an illustration. Students will also be able to experiment with hand inking to create one-of-a-kind compositions. Throughout the workshop, students will create a series of up to 10 multi-layered monotypes as big as 19” x 25”!

For the technically inclined, the class will also address how to adjust cylinder packing and form height to achieve various printed results and to read and use a micrometer. Letterpress printers, both new and experienced, as well as artists and illustrators who like to work with monoprinting, stencils, or cut paper, will benefit from this class. Letterpress experience is helpful but not required.