Monday, January 31, 2011

Baltimore Print Studios: Letterpress Workshop!

On Sunday, I had the distinct pleasure of participating in the Baltimore Print Studios first letterpress workshop. I very much enjoyed their previous class, though I was thankful that the heat was working this time around.

Taking us through a historical summary of the life of letterpress, Kyle Van Horn and Kim Bentley presented their passion for the medium through their expansive knowledge of the process. We started out on the Vandercook machines using wood type. I learned a variety of terms (quoin, furniture, type high, packing, etc.) that are still swimming around in my mind; luckily they provided us with powder-pink folded pamphlets for reference.

Our class of six banned together to experiment with printing wood type. I volunteered the idea of setting type for the Peppy Premarital Potluck I'm hosting on March 26th (two birds, one stone). We were energized by the rushed rolling, the clacks and clinks, and the subtle unpredictability of the resulting blocky letter forms.

After printing a variety of posters for my potluck, we were introduced to metal type and the platen press. Tasked with making speech-bubble coasters, we got to work sorting-through the catalogue of tiny letter forms and setting them with different sizes of leading to ensure even pressure. The press was smaller and used a stamping motion to achieve the desired result. I'm not sure if I'll put a water glass on these new fresh coasters, but I will be sure to heed the messaging provided by my press partner Emily.

Overall, I had a great time! If you're not sure if a BPS letterpress workshop is right for you, here are some perks for your consideration:

*Learn the fundamentals and history of letterpress in all its glory
*Bond and collaborate with fun interesting local folk
*Break bread at lunch in a bohemian restaurant
*Build muscle with the Vandercook two-step
*Take home colorful and useful souvenirs
*Achieve the know-how to rent studio time at BPS for your next printing project
*Do something different! Even if you're not a printmaker, designer, or artist of any kind you'll have fun exploring this medium.

Below is some candid iPhone documentation of the day:

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