Letterpress I: Wood & Metal Type
Letterpress printing has been making quite an impression since about 1440 when Johannes Gutenberg invented movable type. Using type, cast from metal or carved from wood, and a mechanical press to crisply transfer ink to paper, letterpress printing leaves a tactile and invited debossment on paper. This “punch” makes this art form a popular choice for greeting cards, business cards, invitations, broadsides, and a wide range of printed ephemera.
While letterpress has historically been a commercial process, these days artists, designers, typographers and illustrators are continually finding new ways to approach the art form. Letterpress I: Wood & Metal Type uses a range of projects to familiarize students with letterpress printing, typography and the history of these art forms.
Spudnik Press Cooperative houses over 120 drawers of type, a Vandercook press, a Line-o-scribe proofing press, and three platen presses, all of which are available for students to use during class (and to continue to use after class as graduates).
Students will jump in on day one by browsing Spudnik’s unique collection of type and using a composing stick to hand set their first line of type. From there, projects will increase in scope and introduce more advanced project planning, technical considerations and creative approaches to printing. Students will learn new fun vocabulary words like reglets, quoins, chases, leading and more. After setting type, students will become familiar with our printing presses and learn to lock-up type, set pressure, mix and modify ink and safely operate our printing 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.