This weeklong course will provide any letterpress practitioner with a wealth of endlessly useful knowledge and hands-on experience. Even if you work on non-Vandercook presses, this class will prove invaluable.
Students will start the course by performing a full maintenance sweep of the two presses at Maine Media, a Vandercook Universal I and III, under the guidance of the instructor, Paul Moxon. The class will also discuss other models and brands as warranted in order to expand students’ awareness of press maintenance. Paul will also share his extensive knowledge of the history of these machines and printing in general throughout the course.
The following days will be devoted to time on the press, learning about halftone printing and exploring the effect of certain variables on the final print. Students will learn to print a digital negative and make a photopolymer plate for halftone printing, which can be used to print multiples of photographic images on the letterpress. However, students should not expect to leave with a whole series of finished halftones. The purpose of this portion of the course is to improve students’ technical quality of presswork. The class will methodically play with variables like cylinder packing, paper, ink, height of plates, and registration, in order to ascertain the effect these small changes have on the final print.
By the end of the week, students will have gained knowledge of press maintenance and should have a deeper understanding about the minutiae of letterpress printing, which will allow you to troubleshoot your future projects with confidence.