The Letterpress Workshop I took last Friday was fantastic (and now I can check this off my Love To-Do List)! I was surprised to discover that Hollander's has a large basement studio space complete with worktables, stools, and a variety of letterpress equipment - proof, platen and cylinder presses, an assortment of type, and all other related equipment to complete a project. And if you need paper, just run right up the stairs and you're in a printers and crafters heaven.
The full day course walked us through how to set type in a composing stick, print proofs to check our work, lock the type form into a chase, and ink and operate the platen press to print to our heart's content. We were all tasked to start by setting a small amount of text - a business card or tag - in our composing sticks, and after printing, we able to work on whatever we wanted. And, after finding out that we all now have access to the studio during Hollander's free open studio hours (are they serious?!), I scrapped my planned project and decided to use the remainder of my time to experiment. I can't say I'm over the moon about anything I printed BUT I am excited to spend many future Monday evenings practicing a new craft.
With these valuable lessons under my belt of course:
- To go into the course, never having printed before, with an image of what I wanted to accomplish was dangerous. I am used to working on computer software, like Adobe Photoshop or Illustrator, as my primary medium for graphic representation. It was therefore very difficult for me to adjust my thinking and work within the constraints of a new medium. All mediums lend themselves better to certain visions and it will take a lot of practice for me to discover all the potential of letterpress.
- Setting type is extremely time consuming, so with that . . .
- ALWAYS proof your type form before final printing (can you find my mistake?)!