On Saturday I arrived at MassArt, per usual, an hour early for my letterpress workshop. In true Elizabeth fashion, I left an obnoxious amount of time to get there just in case of major disaster, buffalo crossing, hail storm, etc. I'm very logical. Anyways, upon arriving, I walked through the grande doors of MassArt and checked the location of my workshop on a "welcome" sheet for continuing education. Side note: why do they call it continuing education? Isn't life all just continuing education? Can't they just call it a workshop? Confused.
This little "welcome" sheet told me that my workshop was indeed Sunday. So after a large freak out and panic attack and many angry complaint texts sent to various recipients, I went up to the 9th floor just to make sure I was wrong and said "welcome" sheet was right. To my surprise -- the mistake was not my own and the workshop was, as I thought, on Saturday (phew!).
Now only a half hour till workshop time, I met our instructor, Keith Cross and all of the other participants as they trickled in. Once underway, Keith gave us a full run down of the history and foundation of letterpress. We learned all bout picas and points and inches (still a little unclear on these but I'm learning..) and started learning how to set our type. We were all given a set of font, and had to place each letter into what is called a jobstick. The jobstick is locked into a specific width, and holds all of your type tightly in place while you construct your words. Once you have your text fairly centered in the job stick, you have to center it on the jobstick with spacer pieces, or quads to hold it into place. (You can see a photo of a jobstick filled with letters below)
Once Keith had walked us through the basics of letterpress and we all got to test out the press with our own phrases, we had the chance to do our own pieces. Let me tell you, what you see below may seem unimpressive, but letterpress takes a heck of a long time! Now I know why I shell out like $8 each for all the letterpress cards I buy. I chose a simple inspirational message because I just can't help myself, I love inspirational messages, and started assembling my type. Assembling the type is what takes most of your time. Once you have everything set up and on the press, you can pretty easily crank out a bunch of prints.
I LOVED learning how to do this and I hope I get the opportunity to keep learning about letterpress. If Colby had a letterpress studio, I am sure I would have spent most of my time there. Keith was an amazing instructor, one of the best I've had, and I would highly recommend taking a class or workshop with him. He was very patient through all of the participants road blocks (read: mine) and made the workshop really awesome. All in all, I had an amazing time at the workshop with everyone and was happy to learn more about the letterpress process. I don't think this is the last you'll be hearing from me on the subject as I hope to do much more in the near future!