Letterpress 1–4 Intensive

with Bethany Rahn
Tuesday–Friday: June 18, 19, 20, 21; 10am–4pm CT

Take a deep-dive into letterpress printing on Vandercook press in this four-day letterpress intensive, which covers all four workshops in MCBA’s letterpress series—Letterpress 1: Printing Basics, Letterpress 2: Setting Type, Letterpress 3: Two-Color Postcards, and Letterpress 4: Editioning. By the end of the week, participants will be ready to register for Letterpress Labs and rent presses to print independent projects!

Tuesday: Letterpress 1: Printing Basics offers an introduction to MCBA’s print studio—including key equipment, tools, and terminology—in addition to an opportunity to experience the satisfaction of printing a message through the hands-on process of letterpress printing. Get to know MCBA’s wood type collection and learn beginning typesetting with wood type. Learn the basics of working with a flatbed cylinder press, including operation, safety, and care while building skills using the equipment with support from a teaching artist. In pairs, choose a text (three to five words) and print your own small edition of posters on a Vandercook press. (Day 1)

Wednesday: Letterpress 2: Setting Type focuses on setting metal type and building familiarity with printing on the Vandercook press. Learn how to navigate MCBA’s type collection, how type is stored and organized, and how to arrange it in a composing stick for setting a text. Training will be provided on line justification, kerning (space between letters and words), and methods for holding type together (or “locking up” a form) for printing. Procedures for maintaining a community type collection and print studio will also be covered. (Day 2)

Thursday: Letterpress 3: Two-Color Postcards focuses on printing multiple layers and building printers’ confidence using Vandercook presses through practice. Printing more than one layer involves printing the same piece of paper multiple times with unique forms (raised type or image) and ink colors for each layer. Careful registration to make each layer align as designed requires planning and troubleshooting. Learn how to choose colors and mix ink as well as techniques for adjusting color on the press to create unique effects. Participants will also be introduced to MCBA’s larger Vandercooks, the 219 and Uni 3, which have the capacity to print larger forms and can be more comfortable for taller printers. (Day 3)

Friday: Letterpress 4: Editioning focuses on planning and printing an edition (or a group of identical prints). Printing an edition starts with making design decisions: choosing ink color, paper, edition size, typefaces, etc. Then, artists need to prepare for printing by cutting paper, preparing images, setting and proofing type, etc. This workshop will offer beginning printers strategies for creating an edition, including how to plan a project and how to make an edition of consistent prints. The teaching artist will share an example of an editioned project she created from start to finish. Then, in pairs, plan and print a small book (using an exercise to create content). (Day 4)

All skill levels welcome
Certificate: 24 hours, Category A (fulfills Core letterpress requirement)

$588/participant (10% discount for MCBA members) + $55 materials fee
$294 for BIPOC/Financial scholarship participants (10% discount for MCBA members) + $55 materials fee
MCBA offers two scholarship types for workshops—Financial Hardship Scholarships and BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Color) Scholarships—to honor equity and increase access and artistic opportunities for those who have historically been underrepresented in the book arts. For individuals to whom these scholarships do not apply, register at the Adult rate and, if you are able, consider making a donation when registering to support MCBA’s efforts to make scholarships available.

Please note: Registration closes 6/14 at midnight (CT).