Letterpress I: Wood and Metal Type (Jan 2017)

Letterpress printing uses moveable type, cast from metal or carved from wood, and a mechanical press to crisply transfer ink to paper. Since the advent of letterpress printing in the mid-15th century, printers have been enamored with the process of hand-setting lead and wood type. Today we remain fascinated with this tactile process. Artists and printers continually find new ways to approach the art form.

Letterpress I uses a range of projects to familiarize students with letterpress printing, typography and the history of these two art forms. On day one, students will be able to browse Spudnik’s collection of over 120 drawers of type, and using a composing stick, hand set their first line of type. From there, projects will increase in scope, gradually introducing more advanced project planning, technical considerations, creative approaches to printing, and even new fun vocabulary words like reglets, quoins, chases, leading and much more!

After carefully setting type, students will become familiar with our printing presses and learn to lock-up their type, set pressure, mix and modify ink and safely operate our rare old presses. Throughout the class students will acquire the technical skills needed to continue printing independently at Spudnik Press and the creative skills to produce inventive and alluring prints for years to come.