Letterpress I: Basic Press Operation & Maintenance

printshop filled with movable type and multiple vandercook letterpresses
CBA Letterpress Printshop
Letterpress blocks reading “Black Lives Matter” for protest posters made by Artist-in-Residence Rachel Hillery
Letterpress I
Letterpress I
Sarah Nicholls
Image courtesy of the artist.

Event Info

This in-person workshop takes place at CBA across a weekend intensive on Saturday & Sunday, April 23 & 24, from 11am–5pm:

  • Sat, April, 23 11am–5pm
  • Sun, April 24, 11am–5pm

About the Workshop:

This in-person beginner’s course on letterpress printing is taught by artist and CBA Instructor Sarah Nicholls.

Nicholls will give students an overview of the fascinating history of letterpress and then lead them through the essentials of printing their own work on CBA’s Vandercook presses. Participants will learn the basics of hand typesetting–including how to select typefaces and paper, ink the presses, and achieve optimal impression when printing. Additionally, Nicholls will show students how to properly clean up and maintain the presses for consistent results.

This class is ideal for anyone interested in the history of printing and design, people who want to print simple text-based projects such as business cards, correspondence cards, and/or poetry and prose, as well as artists who want to learn to incorporate letterpress into their practice.

Students who complete this workshop can continue with the next step in our Letterpress class series, Letterpress II: Intro to Typography on Press.

Class size is limited to ensure an optimal student-to-teacher ratio. Register now before the remaining spots fill up!


Required Materials:

All staff, artists, students, and guests are required to show proof of vaccination upon entering CBA and must wear a mask covering the nose and mouth at all times. If you have a medical or religious exemption, please email corina@centerforbookarts.org.

  • Pencil and paper for taking notes
  • Please wear closed-toed shoes and clothes that can get stained or dirty

All other materials and tools will be provided by CBA at no additional cost to the students.


About the Instructor

Sarah Nicholls is an artist, printmaker, and writer whose work combines language, image, visual narrative, and time.

Her ongoing projects on climate change, urban ecology, and the history of science and technology include a series of letterpress pamphlets as well as participatory programs like guided urban/nature walks.

Nicholls’ limited edition artist’s books are in the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Brooklyn Museum, Columbia University, and Stanford, among others.

Her work has received support from the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, the Brooklyn Arts Council, and the Puffin Foundation, and she has participated in residencies at BRIC House in Brooklyn, the Chicago Center for Book and Paper Arts, and Guttenberg Arts in New Jersey.

Nicholls teaches letterpress and book arts at Pratt Institute and Parsons School of Design in New York City as well as the University of the Arts in Philadelphia.


All images courtesy of the instructor. 

Class size is limited to ensure an optimal student-to-teacher ratio. Register now before the remaining spots fill up!

Registration is closed. Return to all Classes.

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