Check the Event Schedule page to see what’s happening when!
Linoleum Printing on the Vandercook with Val Lucas: Linoleum cuts are an easy way to add images to printed type and posters. In this two-day course, students will learn the basics of drawing, carving and printing a relief cut on the Vandercook proof press. Students will transfer their drawing onto a linoleum block and carve the design the first session, and learn the basics of setting up a block in the press to print a small edition in the second session. We’ll also discuss multiple color registration and reduction prints. All levels welcome.
Wonders of the Windmill with Carrie Valenzuela: In this workshop, we’ll set up a notecard and envelope starting with basics of the powerful Heidelberg Windmill and moving into more complex operations. We’ll discuss paper selection, makeready, registration methods, roller adjustment, ink fountain setup, the auto feeding system, maintenance and troubleshooting common press issues. Be prepared to take notes and get inky!
Monoprinting on Water or Marbling Paper with Mel Stockwell: A super-fun class where students will create works of art on paper that can then be used for backgrounds, calligraphy, printing, or bookbinding. Students create designs by applying pigment onto a water-based gel and then lifting the design off the water’s surface onto an alum-coated paper. Each student will print four unique pieces of their own. Wear your apron–it’s going to get messy!
Letterpress as Mimic with Margot Ecke: Letterpress is based on the concept of printing from a level type-high matrix, producing a print that is made up of positive and negative image areas. But what if we want a more subtle and varied print? This demonstration will focus on methods of manipulating the printing process in order tomimic the subtleties of an intaglio print, the varied tonal values of a lithograph, and the depth of a charcoal drawing.
NEW Print Foraging with Eric Woods: Get a bucket or a box and take a moment to walk around town, foraging for things that might be printable: bottlecaps, plants, pieces of wood, trash, etc. Bring your bounty back to the studio, and with normal shop tools, make your finds typehigh and printable. The results can be surprising and the rewards endless!
Pochoir with Barbara Henry: Learn to add subtle color effects to your printed work–or make pochoir prints–using stencils with watercolor, goache, or even printers’ inks. No previous experience necessary!
Printing on Metallic and Holographic Stocks with Gregory J. Walters: Letterpress printing is rarely used with metallic/holographic stock. This is unfortunate as metallics present the opportunity for unique eye-catching designs. This half-day workshop will start with a presentation of specimens printed on mirror, brushed aluminum, and holographic stocks. Design considerations will be discussed along with technical production problems involving the press, plate, and ink. The class will then move to a Vandercook where we will first print a background on metallic stocks, and then we will print a design on colored metallic stock. Each student will receive a package of metallic and holographic stocks to experiment with at home.
Reduction Block Printing 101 with Mary Bruno: Starting with a demonstration of how to set up and rock out a 3-4 color reduction or “suicide” block print. Each person will get their own linoleum block and we will all do our own reduction print. You will learn how to transfer an image onto a block, register the block, and work the print out from beginning to end. You will be carving linoleum and printing on a cylinder press. This workshop will take place over two half-days.
Windmill Operation and Maintenance with Jim Daggs: Two separate classes will teach you (almost) everything you’ve ever wanted to know about owning and operating these sweet German presses, from moving and restoring to registering and troubleshooting. Demonstration time plus hands-on printing time will bring you, and the press, up to speed in no time!
Poster Printing on the Iron Handpress with Rick Von Holdt: A one-day workshop that will start with general design; participants will be provided with a wide range of samples that they can study for ideas and inspiration. All of the type at Printers’ Hall will also be available for use as well as additional fonts of wood type/borders/ornaments that those attending can use for their designs. Posters will be set-up in galleys so that they can be printed on a Washington-style handpress.
Die-Cutting on Platen Presses with Kathryn Hunter: Take the mystery out of die cutting! This class will discuss: preparing illustrations and digital files for dies, ordering dies, set-up on a platen press and materials needed, the process of die cutting, and more. As a bonus, we will die-cut pieces that you will then be able to assemble and take away as a keepsake.
Platen Press Pochoir (Stenciling on the C&P) with Arie Koelewyn: Stencils open up a number of image possibilities not available with standard and/or better known letterpress techniques. The C&P platen press is easy to adapt to stenciling, though the techniques can be adapted to some other types of letterpress machines. Students will learn how to cut a (and/or adapt an existing) stencil, mount the stencil on the press, select/create/mount printing textures for printing, align the color/texture layers on the press and examine difficulties that may arise. Students will get an opportunity to cut and mount one or more stencils and print them with various textures and colors on the Chandler & Price press. The goal of the session is to create a number of cooperative prints by the students. Experience using a motorized platen press will be very helpful but not necessary.
Introduction to Typecasting with Gregory J. Walters: Moveable type is the heart of the letterpress process. This half-day class will provide an overview of what machines and processes are used in casting type. Students will examine molds, matrices, and finished type in order to understand how they relate to each other. The differences between foundry type and monotype will be explained, and students will learn how to distinguish the two. Perhaps you’ve wondered if it would be possible to design an ornament or border and have it cast in type. Yes, it is possible, and you’ll learn what the steps are. Each student will get to keep several matrices as souvenirs. And if there is time, we’ll have each student try casting a 120 point initial letter.
Renku Flexagon with Lynda Sherman: Through collaborative conversation: (Poetry!) the magical construct of handset type (Math!) we will explore creative impulse (Fun!) and time travel (Text on paper!). Rediscover why we do what we do, as we mix and match and choose our own adventures.
Wood Type Cutting Extravaganza with Moore Wood Type: A three-hour plus, hands-on workshop, that will allow the participants to cut their own new wood type using a real pantograph. Lots of end grain, hard maple blocks, will be provided as part of the course fee. An assortment of historically inspired wood patterns will be provided, as well as ornaments, catchwords, fancy stars and dashes. A limited number of additional laser cut, personal patterns can be made ahead of time to be waiting for you in Mt. Pleasant. Special patterns take time so contact Scott once you have signed up for the course. Participants will take home historical information about wood type and the wood type they have cut themselves. This is a hands-on class with two short lectures, and will include samples and type specimen books to examine, and at least 2 1/2 hours of type cutting as a group. Additional personal cutting time on the pantograph can be arranged as needed during the week.
Create Your Own Wood Typeface with Gregory J. Walters: Perhaps you have a favorite typeface, ornament, or border that you’d love to have as a wood type font. This half-day class will explain how to create artwork and where to have the type made. The products of several vendors will be available for examination, with each vendor using different materials and processes. Advantages and cost of each process will be considered. No printing will be done during this class, but it should give you lots of ideas for things you’d like to print.
Thermography! with Bill Allan and Maryann Humphrey: From machine set-up to final run, we’ll show how thermography (often called raised-printing) can enhance any printed piece. Attendees will learn about the relationship between the papers being used in relation to the powder granulation, the heat setting and the machine speed. Each attendee can produce their own printed piece beforehand and then bring it to the thermography machine to accomplish the raised printing effect. You do NOT have to own a thermography machine to create raised printing! Each attendee will be provided with paper, ink, powder and individual guidance to accomplish their project.
Non-Adhesive Book Structures… and Rubber Stamps and Sumi Ink! with Peter Fraterdeus: If you love paper and playing with it, you will love making these little books. Folding, sewing, trimming, and making a folded paper (or vellum!) cover based on 13th Century European ‘limp vellum’ structures and Japanese style bindings. You will end up with a little book or two or three, perhaps decorated with rubber stamps, or toned with sumi and shodo brushes . . . maybe even some brush calligraphy!
Ludlow Operation and Maintenance with Gregory J. Walters: The Ludlow Typograph is the most versatile hot metal typecaster, and also the easiest to acquire and maintain. It can cast lines of type as small as 6 pt. and as large as 96 point. Individual letters can be cast up to 144 point. In today’s letterpress world, the Ludlow isn’t much use to the computer-designed wedding invitation printer, but it can be a huge help to poster printers. You never run out of sorts with a Ludlow. Students will learn to set and cast lines of type: roman, italic, and script, in large and small sizes. Specimen books will be available to show the range of typefaces made for the Ludlow. Advice will be given on how to find and acquire a machine or matrices. Regular maintenance procedures will be demonstrated, but this workshop will mainly have to do with operation rather than maintenance.
Objet Trouvé Letterpress (Letterpress printing with found objects) with Arie Koelewyn: The standard printing surfaces (hot metal, wood type, photopolymer, photoengravings) are not cheap. Wood engraving, linoleum carving and similar techniques require an investment of time developing the necessary manual skills. Printing with found and improvised objects is both cheap and easy (assuming some artistic sensibility) to set up to add a touch of colorful whimsy to many printing projects. The student will have the opportunity to select from a variety of provided found objects, mount/adapt them for printing, and print with them. Discussion will include the identification and sources of appropriate objects, mounting techniques (not all are possible to accomplish within a 4 hour course) and adapting found objects for successful printing with a platen press. Significant adjustment to get a good print is not unusual for found objects, which are not always perfectly flat and level, so a simple method of implementing makeready will be demonstrated and probably used. The goal will be to create a simple project combining metal types and found objects. Experience using a motorized platen press will be very helpful but not necessary.
No Job Too Small: Platen Press Printing with Barbara Henry: The jobbing platen is the best way to print business cards, invitations, note cards, and any “small” job requiring a large number of copies. Students will set type and lock it up in a chase, register the form on the paper and learn to coordinate hands and feet to use the machine safely.
Paper Decorating with Bill Allan and Maryann Humphrey: A novel and affordable approach to taking a sheet of plain paper or cardstock and, by applying artists chalk to the surface–with varied rubbing techniques–create a piece that will provide a very unique effect when letterpress printed. We will also discuss many other options for enhancing the plain sheet both prior to, and after, printing. Each attendee will be provided with paper, chalk and individual guidance to accomplish their project.
Platen Press Perfection with Peter Fraterdeus: How to achieve (or at least approach) Perfect Inking and Impression on your C&P or Kelsey, or Windmill . . . Explore the intersection of the mechanical and the intuitive. We will be working with the old Chandler and Price platen presses at the Printer’s Hall, which may or may not be in perfect operating condition, adjusting and tweaking and jury-rigging to bring them as close as possible to optimal. We’ll cover the use of Magnesium Carbonate as an ink additive, alignment of the platen to the press bed, makeready, setting the rollers to the appropriate height, and more!
Coasters on Kelseys with the Red Door Press: Join Adam and Tammy Winn from the Red Door Press in printing coasters using a variety of techniques and presses. The Winns will bring along several Kelsey Excelsior presses from their collection as well as a sign press or two, along with a variety of type, cuts and ornaments. When printing is done get some use out of your coaster while you enjoy a cold beer from a local brewery courtesy of Winns (They’ll have root beer, too!).
NEW 4-Up with a Side of Bearers with Marnie Powers-Torrey: Leave your ink balls at home! We’ll bring the roller and platen bearers to serve up some short-order printing with fine press flair. On an iron handpress, we’ll produce a collaborative booklet that dishes out some post-millenial perspective on the power of the platen. Our goal is a sheet printed 4-up, but the emphasis is on press set up, make ready, and inking rather than a polished product. No plates— we’ll get our fingers dirty while rediscovering the value of well-set type and a well-balanced platen.
NEW You Can Die-Cut with James McGraw: Want to dazzle clients with die cut products and get “rich” at the same time? This demo will show how to use a rule die, a platen press and several supplies to produce die-cut products. We will cover project planning, press suitability, limitations, set-up and operation, including some tricks of the trade. Die-cutting is a great way to drive additional revenue from your platen press. Next time you dream about standing in front of your platen press and getting enlarging your bank account . . . CUT IT OUT!
Panels & Presentations – all take place Friday morning and afternoon
Letterpress Variability with Harold Kyle
Even while most manufacturers have systematically reduced variability in their operations, letterpress printers embrace inconsistent printing. After all, the inherent variability makes letterpress more “hand-made” and desirable. Customer expectations are also highly variable and often unknown; those who spend more money for the slight inconsistency of letterpress printing are usually not happy with too much inconsistency. This balancing act has always been a challenge at Boxcar Press, as fewer than 1% of customers are on-site for a press check and fewer than 25% have direct contact with us at all. In this class I will cover some of the techniques that we use to bridge the gap between variable customer expectations and variable printing quality. We’re far from perfect, but I will share some techniques that seem to improve our odds of satisfying customers.
The Power of a Deadline with Lynda Sherman
A deadline can transform time into your best new idea and forge lifetime creative bonds with friends, coworkers and clients. We will discuss the terror and tears, the thrills and chills, of living through challenges that have enriched our lives and shown us things we never thought possible. In discussion are running your own business, solo and group art exhibitions, printing with your nieces and MORE. By bringing you in on this process we share what giving yourself the gift of a deadline truly feels like – a car chase in a buddy film, where the car is a stunt double for The Muse, we have snacks for the road, and we are putting the pedal to the metal. Let’s go for a ride.
The Story of Firecracker Press with Eric Woods
Nearly fifteen years in the business of modern letterpress printing. Eric Woods, Owner of The Firecracker Press in St. Louis, Missouri tells stories about clients, both good and bad, gives tips on how to hunt for letterpress equipment, and shares ways to reinvent yourself to keep things fresh. We’ll talk about running a one-person shop vs. building a staff, and explore the notion of for-profit vs. non-profit (or both).
Sonnet Printing Project
Why would someone spend hours researching, planning and executing a printing project that will generate no or little pay yet still ask the printer to do the best possible job? In January of 2016, The Bodleian Library at Oxford University sent out a call to letterpress printers around the world. To celebrate the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, they asked the letterpress community to volunteer to print one of Shakespeare’s 154 Sonnets. Translations into other languages were particularly desired. The pay would be the possibility that the printed sonnet would be added to the permanent collection of the Bodleian Library. It took only about a week for all the sonnets to be spoken for. Arie Koelewyn (The Paper Airplane Press, East Lansing, MI), Adam and Tammy Winn (The Red Door Press, Des Moines, IA) and Julie Russell-Steuart (Caveworks Press, Reinbeck, IA) will talk about the motivation, the process, and the product.
There are no off-the-shelf systems for running a letterpress shop, so Florida print-shop Mama’s Sauce built one for themselves. In this session, Mama (Nick Sambrato) will review their system and its history, showing you how you can standardize your approach even on custom orders. It will include an overview of Mama’s system and a Q&A session to help you shape your system to be more efficient, even if that means connecting multiple off-the-shelf systems because, as we all know: custom always costs more.
Finishing Finesse with Bill Van Dyck
Exceptional printing and design deserves an Exclusive edge. Learn how to enhance and add value to your printed items by taking your ideas all the way to the edges. Learn about Hand Bordering, Edge Coloring, Beveled Edges, Foil Gilding, and many other edge enhancements that will add that special touch to your customer’s pieces and add money to your bottom line.
One-Woman Shops, moderated by Lydia Evans
The bravery it takes to be any kind of print shop is a unique calling. It is not one to take lightly but it is one to revel in. You are doing what isn’t done anymore. The cynics are right, it is damn hard to make a living doing this, but yes – you do it or want to do it or will do it – with passion, drive, and determination. Why? Because you are a one-person print shop.
Join us as this panel of savvy businesswomen discuss the challenges and joys of running a one-person shop, growing out of being a one-person shop, and preserving the value of letterpress while making a living doing the printing you love. Moderated by Lydia Evans/Letterpress by Lydia, please join us for a Q&A as Kathryn Hunter/Blackbird Press, Mary Bruno/Bruno Press, May Sorum/Mayday Press, and Nancy Flemm/Pixies and Porcupines share their insight on a range of topics – including equipment purchases vs. community presses; daily operations; pricing and selling your work; wholesale vs. retail sales; and growing your business.