Print the letterpress portion of your next artist book!

There are no available registration dates at this time.

The idea of letterpressing content for your artist book can be overwhelming–the decisions are endless and the stakes are high. This project oriented course is designed to provide mentorship that will help you tackle all the details with confidence.

Before the start of the course, students will discuss their project with the instructor. The focus of this phase will be to determine the best printing strategies for your content–whether handsetting type or making polymer plates is best for your text and whether your images should be tipped in or if they will translate well as half-tones on polymer plates. You’ll also discuss materials, color, and paper needs. Because each project will be unique, students will bring their own paper and other materials for use during the class. 

A page from Isobel Lewis’ book The Shipping Forecast. Halftone clouds printed with photopolymer plate on the letterpress. Image credit © Richard Reitz Smith

Once on campus, each student will create a production plan and begin by cutting down their paper and making polymer plates or setting type. On the press, you’ll learn how to arrange your content and align your paper, then run test prints and finally move into production.  We will have guest book artists throughout the week present work and offer tips and advice on book making. The focus of this week is completing the letterpress portion of an artist book. Students should not expect to finish binding their books in this week, but are welcome to begin binding their projects if they have time. The studio will be available for rent the week following this course if you wish to stay on campus to bind your book project.

In addition to the printed output of this course, students will leave with a better understanding of how to convert images and type into letterpress books and how to develop an efficient workflow when tackling a letterpress edition. 

Some basic computer skills for using Photoshop to make digital negatives is helpful, as is experience on the press, but neither are necessary.  All levels of skills are welcome.



Image Credit © Jen Hoffer
Letterpresses Pages from Ken Foster’s book on traveling to Japan. Image credit © Jen Hoffer

Header Image Credit © Jen Hoffer

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Instructor: Richard Reitz Smith

Richard Reitz Smith is the Book Arts Program Chair and Studio Manager at Maine Media. He is an artist trained as a graphic designer and excels in marrying traditional techniques with modern technology in the pursuit of all forms of book arts and letterpress printing.