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Learning to Letterpress.

June 3, 2010

I mentioned last week that I took a beginner’s letterpress class at the Irvine Fine Arts Center with my friend Rosie. We met every Monday for five weeks and learned not only how to letterpress, but the history behind printmaking (did you know that J & U were originally not part of the alphabet?!), how to mix inks, and the differences between the letterpress machines.

We picked out metal type from these font style & size trays…

Arranged the type the way we wanted them to be seen on paper…

And printed our very own greeting cards with metal movable type.

Printed customized business cards using polymer plates.

And hand-printed backgrounds, carved out stamp images, and letterpressed wood blocks for a quote book we put together as a class: “Before printing was discovered, a century was equal to a thousand years.” -Thoreau.

Needless to say, I came away from the class with immense respect and appreciation for all the letterpress artists out there. Letterpress is to digital printing as painting is to using the Paint program on a PC. There’s just no comparison.

Loved this class so much & am keeping my eye out for more goodies at the center this coming year… maybe book-binding?! If there are classes offered in your area, I highly recommend it!

15 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2010 6:34 am

    wow…..what an experience! I love the art of letterpress so much!

    congrats on creating such beautiful pieces..


  2. June 3, 2010 7:07 am

    I think truly learning about typography and how to letterpress is a beautiful thing. Text is a lovely thing to study, because we see so much of it every day and it’s interesting to see how type can affect our designs and overall effect. I would love to take a typography class :)


  3. Amy permalink
    June 3, 2010 7:31 am

    I’m taking a letterpress class right now too! How ironic, our class project is also a quote book – but we are all doing quotes from famous singers or actresses (“divas”). I made my polymer plates last week and today I’ll get to ink up the rollers and print! So excited. Glad you enjoyed your class as much as I’m enjoying mine!

  4. June 3, 2010 8:28 am

    I am so jealous! I think I might have to take a road trip to Southern California just for this class!

  5. June 3, 2010 9:31 am

    yaaay!!! looks awesome, Cathie!!! Isn’t it so fun?!?! :)

  6. June 3, 2010 9:59 am

    you’ve inspired us to find similar classes

  7. June 3, 2010 11:39 am

    What a wonderful class! Me too, me too… off to look for classes in Austin…

  8. June 3, 2010 12:44 pm

    letterpress is so so lovely!!!

  9. vdubu permalink
    June 3, 2010 3:55 pm

    yayy! I can’t wait until I have time to take letterpress classes!

  10. June 3, 2010 5:02 pm

    The class sounds wonderful. Your photos and projects are lovely!

  11. June 3, 2010 5:57 pm

    I. Am. Jealous. Lucky you! I’ve searched all over for a letterpress class and there are none even remotely near me. I would love to have a studio with a press that I knew how to work… daydream…

  12. June 3, 2010 10:28 pm

    i had so muchy fun in this class – learning to letterpress and aaalmost remembering the history part too ;)

  13. June 4, 2010 3:32 pm

    I totally need to take a letterpress class! I’ve been wanting to forever. I heart letterpress so much!

  14. June 8, 2010 5:46 am

    What a wonderful class. Ah… :))))) Enjoy it.
    Have a great day!

  15. June 22, 2010 7:20 pm

    Hi! I just discovered your lovely blog via pinterest. So glad I did. I love this post especially. I LOVE letter pressing. everything about it is so romantic and beautiful. Thanks for sharing!


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