Letterpress orientation at Darmouth College

Tonight I attended the second of two letterpress orientation sessions at Dartmouth College – they have an amazing letterpress studio. I was really lucky when someone gave up their spot at the last minute and I was able to snag it!

Folder from Dartmouth letterpress workshop

Once you take the orientation, you’re able to attend the open studio sessions (if you can get in). The open sessions allow you to work on your own projects using the studio’s type, ink, and paper (for limited runs).

Letterpress type

I loved digging into the type. We were given a map of how the alphabet was laid out in the tray and it took me a while to remember the location of some of the more common letters.

Letterpress type

We had to bring a poem to use for our first layout and much to my dismay, I was the slowest person in the class. I’m not big on poetry, so I picked the first poem I could think of, i carry your heart with me by E. E. Cummings. I love this poem, but it took a long time to set the type for it.

My poem ready for letterpress printing

Had I thought it through some more, I probably would have picked something shorter – probably something by Shel Silverstein or Dr. Suess.

Letterpress type in the press

It was so satisfying to pull that first print out of the press!

Pulling printed page out of the letterpress

Completed letterpress-printed poem

I loved the process. I wanted to learn letterpress for so long and now (more or less) I know how to do it! Being me, I immediately started researching the cost of letterpress equipment.

Not that I have anywhere to put it.

Not that that’s stopping me. 🙂

6 Responses to “Letterpress orientation at Darmouth College”

By velma - 29 February 2012 Reply

you’re on the book arts list serv, right?

By Elissa - 3 March 2012 Reply

Velma –

Yep, I’m on the listserv.


By Maggie - 2 March 2012 Reply

Beware, it’s totally addicting! Have fun!

By Elissa - 3 March 2012 Reply

Maggie –

I’ve been thinking about letterpress all week!

I still have to go back to Dartmouth and put the type away. I’m sooo not looking forward to that.


By Let's Roof - 2 March 2012 Reply

I had fun experience with letterpress a few years ago. It’s very interesting and you’ll enjoy doing this.

By Elissa - 3 March 2012 Reply

Chuck –

This is so funny…I just clicked through to your website and saw that you’re located in Rockland County, NY. That’s where I grew up!


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