THIS IS THE BEST, intensive one-day creative letterpress workshop you can sink your teeth into. For students, it's a little history, diving into a sketch-free form of creative thinking, and typographic high jinks with a whole lot of hands on. For professionals, it's a different R & R : rerouting the way you think and refueling your creative engine.
This workshop project is all about density and being observant. You can see where you'll be headed in the photo above. On the left is the lock up of fourteen 4" x 5" pages of wood & metal type. On the right is the final 2-color printed broadside which makes up the text block of an accordion-fold book.
You're in charge of only one little page out of 14, but it's yours alone to command as you will. You are encouraged to color outside the lines, play, and experiment with your typographic opportunities.
We start a short tour of our lab and a quick demonstration of hand setting wood & metal type, a few portfolio pieces and you're on your own, exploring type cases, mixing and matching, sorting through design options. Each person is responsible for the words, composing the type, ornaments, borders, punctuation and spacing for one page in what will become a 14-page hard cover book (complete with printed cover, title page, and colophon) by the end of the day.
Take a break for a pizza lunch in the studio, talk about your page design, and ask questions about creativity, typography, old-school printing, and anything that keeps you focused on your project.
During the workshop, each person will print 3 copies of their book's cover using a hand-cranked press. Once all the pages are set and locked up, everyone will print their broadsides, which become the text blocks for the books, on an automatic press.
Bonus no.1 : You'll sit at our Intertype line caster and keyboard your name in "hot metal" for use in the colophon. Mark Twain called Ottmar Mergenthaler's original machine (invented in nearby Baltimore in the 1880s) the "8th wonder of the world" for a reason.
After everything is printed, you'll do some nimble folding and careful tearing to transform a single flat sheet of paper into a smart little accordion book (shown below). With no sewing and no gluing, the binding will hold the book together with a remarkable no-visible-means-of-support construction.
Bonus no. 2 : You'll walk out with a finished copy of the book and enough printed material to produce 2 more books on your own, so you can practice what you've just learned. You'll have a finished portfolio-worthy piece and some cool talking points for future interviews.
Bonus no. 3 : The Rare Books and Special Collections of the Library of Congress and Special Collections at the University of Delaware Library maintain complete sets of the books that result from this workshop. Having your work in those collections makes for a pretty cool line on your resume, too.
Not just for workshops, this meander book format also makes a carefully-crafted, fine press book. John Dorsey, an Ohio poet, wrote 12 short poems specifically for this book, produced in an edition of 125 signed and numbered copies, plus 12 deluxe copies, each encased in a clamshell box.