Workshop Descriptions

Down & Dirty Type Organization with Jen Farrell

So you have a bunch of metal type and want to use it, but don’t know exactly what’s in your collection and where to start. Not having a handle on what’s in your shop usually leads to one thing… not using it at all! Having a well-organized system for your metal type makes it easier to use, to share with others, whether they’re fellow printers or clients, and keeps the type in rotation, which is our ultimate goal. In this session, we’ll cover all the basics of getting your type in order:

  • Assessing the metal type in your shop, what it is, how to identify it (if you haven’t already), the state that it’s in, size, etc.
  • Drawing parallels between typefaces to assess your collection as a whole, looking for families, similarities based on characteristics, and how this helps you determine what ‘holes’ you have and might want to fill in the future
  • Determining if any rearranging/additional organizing needs to happen, from grouping families to fonting up delicate/old faces
  • Finding a visual record system that works for you! Time to proof that type to see what you have. Tips on how to do this with the least energy spent, as well as addressing those pesky ‘unknown’ faces that have yet to be identified
  • Labeling cases in a way that doesn’t drive you crazy; how this might differ from institutional/archival collections
  • Building a digital spreadsheet to include locations of typefaces, potential value and why this matters

Hand-Applied Watercolor Techniques with Marie Oberkirsch

In this workshop we will explore how to add a splash of watercolor to paper that has been printed with oil and/or rubber based inks for unique effects. The water resistant quality of these inks allow for the overlay of watercolor, while the original color of the inks are retained. We will discuss a variety of paper, ink, and paint choices. You will be able to test out the process during the workshop using a sample pack of pre-printed papers that you will receive in advance. Color theory and a variety of watercolor techniques will also be discussed.

Chromatic Type with Arie Koelewyn

Who wouldn’t like a font of William Page Chromatic type? You’ve seen pages of the catalogues or samples of printed work by those fortunate few who own some of these amazing, and amazingly expensive, fonts of wood type. If you’re like me and have a hard time affording regular wood type, let alone a font of chromatic types, chromatic type seems completely out of reach. Maybe with a fancy (and expensive) laser cutter you could make your own chromatic wood type.

But there are alternative techniques and materials that can give you some chromatic type to play with. They’ll probably be a bit simpler/cruder than the Page exemplars (at least if your drawing skills are as limited as mine), but they will be chromatic type and will look impressive on the page.

In this workshop, I’ll discuss the concepts behind chromatic types, the shapes, inks and colors, etc. I’ll show off a simple set of chromatic types made in my print shop from simple materials as well as the printed results. We’ll cover the creation of the shapes, the materials that can be used and their advantages and limitations, mounting shapes to type height and printing with them on an 8×12 Chandler & Price OS platen press, but any press can be used. We’ll even touch on color registration to get the different parts of the chromatic type to line up properly and easily. At the end of the session a written description of the workshop will be given for later reference.

Die-cutting with Kathryn Hunter

Take the mystery out of die cutting! In this workshop we’ll go through the process of die cutting and what you need to begin. We’ll work on a C&P and also on a Heidelberg Windmill.

This workshop will discuss:

  • preparing illustrations and digital files for dies, simple to complex pieces
  • ordering dies
  • set up on a platen press and the materials you need for die cutting
  • the process of die cutting
  • bonus, we will cut pieces that I will mail to participants, pieces will assemble into a 3D paper object

The Joy (and/or Sublime Terror) of Edge Painting with Erik Kraft

Four score and eleventy-twelve hundred years ago, the first edge painting guild was established under the auspices of Byzantine Emperor Aloysius the Incongruous. From the beginning, this esoteric art was shrouded in utmost secrecy. “You want to know how to get a fine layer of colored pigment on the edge of a paper thing?” a Guild member might scoff at you. “Fat chance pal!” [translated from the Byzantian] Well, folks, that’s all changing. In this class, some secrets will be revealed, at the risk of my being comprehensively flailed and ejected from the Guild. And lo, by the end of the workshop, you should have the confidence to give edge painting a try yourself.

In this session, I’ll walk you through an entire edge painting job, starting from a lovely stack of pristine white cards. We’ll cover color mixing and testing, stack leveling and clamping, and then the painting itself, using a small airbrush rig and some common hardware store items—all of which can be yours for about $250. I’ll also discuss some follies I went through on the way to my current technique (put down that spray paint can!), and how to fix mistakes and troubleshoot common issues. If time remains, I’ll demonstrate a couple special techniques. Edge painting! It’s not that scary! You’ll see that you can do it with some practice and a minimal investment.

Movable Type: cross-country adventures in printing with Kyle Durrie

Like the classic early 90s Canadian rock anthem goes, “Life is a highway / I wanna ride it all night long / in a fickle truck with a heavy load / but I can’t right now ‘cuz of COVID so / if you’re going my way / I want to pretend we’re all hanging together in STL and talk to you on Zoom about printing on the road…”

Please join me for a virtual tour of and conversation in the Moveable Type truck, where we will talk about the good, the bad, and the ugly of operating a mobile printshop, and reminisce about the days when we took crossing state lines and face-to-face interactions for granted. We will cover: temperature fluctuations! Gas mileage! Tools and supplies! Repairs! Illegal parking! Going to the bathroom! Magnets! Safety! Knowing your audience! Printing on an incline! Redefining the concepts of “work,” “business,” and “being an adult!”

Tactile Letterpress with Clint Harvey

Join Clint Harvey for an exploration in tactile letterpress at the Bacon Factory, Brisbane, Australia. Join us as we combine the inspiration of Australian flora and fauna paired with carved woodblocks and printed on an 1840’s Colombian iron hand press as we produce a range of unique textiles in the form of cushion covers, tea towels and tote bags. This unique workshop will show you how to craft everyday objects using the letterpress technique.

Using Type as an Expressive Element with Amy Redmond

Explore how letterforms communicate, beyond words, by using them expressively in abstract compositions. Come ready to embrace exploration and work spontaneously with wood and metal type, relying on the constraint of time to foster agility & creativity on a Vandercook proof press. Each student will receive a copy of the finished print made by the instructor, with the goal of exchanging prints with those printing along at home.
*Those printing along at home can use platen presses if they prefer, but should know the constraints of their press & adjust accordingly. Examples of work made in this spirit are here.

Woodcut Basics The Firecracker Way with Eric Woods

Carving a woodcut is the easiest way to make your mark. It offers certain freedoms that are difficult to access with other forms of printing;. You don’t need a vast reservoir of wood/metal type to start printing, or expensive photopolymer plates. Carve at your kitchen table (or anywhere really) and quickly build your skills to create elaborate, multi-color, deeply layered prints. In this workshop we’ll cover the basics, for the novice or the master printer. We’ll talk about how to choose wood and where to get it, we’ll discuss what tools work best and ways to keep them sharp, and we’ll go through various ways of getting your woodcut prepared for platen or proof presses. At The Firecracker Press we do most of our design work digitally, so we’ll show you how to get your designs off of the digital screen and onto your surface for carving as well; it’s magic!

No experience needed. Anyone can get started with this method. You need no special tools to take this workshop. We’ll provide a list of resources at the end, and in two ticks you’ll be making multiples! Yes.

Make a Zine with Sage Perrott

Explore the world of zines! This workshop is aimed at beginners who want a guided tour into basic zine formats. We will learn to fold/cut multiple small booklet and pamphlet forms, as well as experiment with producing these forms in multiple on a copier. Emphasis will be on hand-drawn, as it is a most direct, low-fi method for producing zines (especially in times of quarantine!) This workshop allows participants to follow along without an extensive studio or home studio.

Tight Registration on a Platen Press with Kseniya Thomas

It’s not as difficult as you think! Were you thinking it was difficult? It takes a little planning and forethought, but tight registration (that is, alignment) of multiple ink colors on a hand-fed platen press is a breeze. Join me in raising your standards of what good printing looks like in this informative workshop!

Heidelberg Windmill Operation with Judith Berliner

Judith will be showing some basics on how to run a Heidelberg Windmill. “There are some pointers that were shared with me when I first learned that have stayed with me to this day. Things like: get the paper feeding before you start printing. So simple, however, I still need to remind myself to stop and get the paper feeding. I will show folks what good air between the sheets looks like, and how to adjust for impression. I will also be very interested to hear specific questions from participants. Ethan Cameron and Nathaniel Cartmell will be assisting. We will send each participant a piece that we have printed here. We are all looking forward to meeting you at the conference!”