Letterpress Classes in Boston, Spring 2015

Welcome to Keith's list of letterpress classes!
The letterpress classes listed here are taught by Keith Cross at the Mass Art Press located at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Boston, Massachusetts.

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About Letterpress at Mass Art!
The Mass Art Press has five Vandercook presses: 3 SP15s, a Universal 1 and a 219 Old Style. The shop boasts over 350 cases of type in both metal and wood and may be one of the largest letterpress shops for students in New England.

Watch this excellent video about letterpress and book arts at the Mass Art Press!

Spring Semester Course

Spring Letterpress (14 weeks)
Schedule: Jan. 27 - May. 5, 2015
Tuesday nights: 6:30 PM - 10:00 PM

The letterpress class offers an introduction to hand set metal and wooden type, letterpress printing techniques, and limited edition printing on fine papers. Students will have the option of devising a theme for an exchange portfolio OR working on individual projects (subject to review). The exchange portfolio provides an opportunity for the students to receive a copy of each other's work and complete and edition of letterpress printed posters, broadsides or other format.

The first class introduces the basics of hand typesetting with an "Exquisite Corpse" Poem workshop. Each student sets 1-2 lines of type, normally a simple quote, quip or idea made up on the spot. The combination of those lines of type comprise an impromptu poem. Results vary as students choose seemingly disparate ideas, and types, but soon see the interconnected practice of setting their thoughts into letters of a physical nature.

We may also embark on a mini-exchange portfolio called "Missed Connections" which incorporates found text from online sources into a type collage and hand-set text layouts. This exercise introduces more complex composition problems as well as color registration.

The next five weeks of the letterpress class covers additional typesetting techniques and Vandercook flatbed cylinder press operation. The most intense class is called "Meet the Press." Letterpress class participants learn to ink the press, adjust pressure, adjust roller height, register and feed a sheet of paper, make an impression (well, many impressions), and then clean the rollers with loving care.

The second half of the course is all about producing work. We'll meet to discuss your design direction and the feasibility of the layout using letterpress printing methods. Once a portfolio theme is chosen, students set their type and, often, carve linoleum, wood, or sintra (a carvable plastic substrate) blocks/plates. We also have the capability to print images from copper, magnesium, or polymer plates (time/expense permitting).

Work time outside of class is expected and strongly encouraged. Personal projects that fit the capabilities of the press room are also encouraged (e.g., business cards, stationery, thank you cards, and the like). We'll have monitors opening the shop on week-day nights. Work nights are a great time to get to become familiar with the shop, investigate the type collection, and develop working habits that will assist you in completing your projects.

Past themes and titles for the letterpress exchange portfolio include "Unwanted Outlaws," "Mythological Metaphors," "Roadside Attractions," "Fantasy Menus," "The Unmade Sequel," "Circus Acts," "Hoax Tourism," "Hair," "Book Covers," "Zoo Posters," "Fantasy Rock Concert," "Relief," "Space Tourism," and "Anatomy of a Typeface." Each student designs and print whatever they want provided it fits some simple size specifications and has hand-set type in the design.

Registration for Spring classes has not yet begun, but it will soon! Join my mail list and I can keep you informed!

1-Day Spring Letterpress Workshop

Spring Letterpress Workshop
This workshop is an introduction to letterpress printing and manual type setting with metal type, wood type and ornaments. You'll learn to hand-set type and print from type in our collections of existing typefaces. Your text may be combined with found or hand made images and printed on special papers. Bring impactful words to typeset and your ideas for a simple project to print. Apporpriately sized projects (read: feasible in 1-day) include items such as:
  • thank you cards
  • bookmarks
  • haiku
  • birthday cards
  • consise affirmations
You can do it! See you there!

Schedule: Saturday, March 7, 2015; 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM

Registration for Spring classes has not yet begun, but it will soon! Join my mail list and I can keep you informed!

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