Time-Life chose Gutenberg’s invention of printing from moveable type as the most important of the second millennium. Letterpress printing, as it is known today, is the finest method for printing type on paper. This workshop begins with an explanation and discussion of letterpress terms, tools, type, history and paper. The differences between fine book printing and ephemera are discussed. Correct procedures for setting type by hand and printing on a Vandercook proof press are thoroughly demonstrated. Traditional aspects of letterpress design and typography are explored. Students print copies of a frameable, two-color type specimen broadside on rich-textured 100% rag paper. Class discussion covers the requirements for setting up a small working letterpress studio at home, including the equipment needed and where to find it, the presses that work well in a home studio situation, and how best to move and install a press that – though relatively small – can still be heavy. Additional discussion touches on the use of digital typesetting and imaging in combination with letterpress printing, and how photopolymer plate technology can work in combination with – or as an alternative to – the 500-year-old technology of moveable metal type. Subsequent course time is devoted to the planning, design, setting and printing of a personal letterpress project: a poetry broadside, card, small booklet, stationary or announcement.
Charles Altschul is the Director of the Design and Book Arts Program at Maine Media Workshops and College. From 2006 – 2011, he served as it's first President following it's transition to non-profit status. He Received a B.A. and M.F.A. from Yale where he also held a faculty appointment as Senior Lecturer. In 1991, he moved to Camden, Maine to become Director of Education at the Eastman Kodak Center for Creative Imaging. When Kodak sold the business in 1993, Altschul worked with several art schools, including the Cooper Union in New York, to help them integrate digital technologies into their curricula. In 1997, he created the nation’s first BFA program in Multimedia at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. He was Chair of the 1996 American Center for Design conference, "Design for the Internet," and has judged international new media competitions for “Communication Arts” magazine and the Art Directors’ Club Annual. He is a member of the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences and has been a judge for the Webby Awards since 2000. Altschul’s work as an artist stems from contemporary as well as historical perspectives. His photographs have been exhibited widely and published in numerous publications. He has designed and published handcrafted books, most notably an illustrated folio signed by Nobel prizewinning author Samuel Beckett.