Letterpress Classes and Workshops in Boston, Spring, 2018

Feel free to contact Keith Cross with questions. You can also see pictures on Flickr or Instagram. If you're interested in being notified about upcoming letterpress classes, Sign up for the mailing list. Classes and workshops are as follows:

1-day Letterpress Workshop (April 21, 2018)

This workshop is an introduction to letterpress printing and manual type setting for the complete beginner. You'll learn to use a job stick, hand-set type from our expanding collection of metal and wood type typefaces and ornaments and then print your work on one of our five Vandercook flatbed cylinder presses. We supply the paper, you supply the ambition!

For the first half of the workshop, we'll thoroughly explore the wood type collection. You'll have a chance to create wood type posters using a variety of type and in a variety of colors. Phew! Break for lunch. Then, for the second half of the workshop, bring a six word memoir. We'll set these memoirs, compose them into a single poem (Exquisite Corpse style) and create a poetry broadside.


Saturday, April 21, 2018; 9:00 AM–6:00 PM
Cost: $195 (non-credit)

Clicking this button will enroll you in the 1-day letterpress workshop

Letterpress Fundamentals (3-day, February 9-11, 2018)

This workshop is suitable for the complete beginner or anyone who has had an introduction to letterpress, but wants more time on press and additional experience working with our large collection of wood and metal type. You'll also have more opportunities to work with any of our five Vandercook proof presses. The workshop includes an introduction to manual type setting with metal type, wood type, and ornaments. You'll learn to compose lines of text, then whole paragraphs, which may be combined with found or hand made images.

Also bring your ideas for an appropriately sized project to print, such as:

During the workshop, we'll explore the entire letterpress process through hands-on demonstrations, such as hand-set composition using a job stick, on-press/in galley page composition, proper inking and preparing to print,proper sheet feeding, underlay on worn type, make-ready for perfecting impression and more. The class also experiments with overprinting colors and printing illustrations. If you're handy with linoleum cutting tools, you could prepare a block ahead of time (or overnight if you're a real whizzbang!). Manual dexterity is necessary, but more importantly, patience, a thirst for letterpress, and patience. Did I already mention patience?

Additionally, students will have an opportunity to tour of the T.J. Lyons Collection–an eclectic menagerie of printing and typographic Americana housed at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. More than 2,500 fonts of 19th and early 20th Century wood and metal types–including rare and unusual types manufactured in New England–are available for research and discovery. In addition to the type collection, there are rare specimen books showing the wood and metal type, wood border collection, a collection of cuts and blocks of Americana, and a special collection of brass stamping dies used by the Riverside Press.


February 9–11, 2018
Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9:00 AM–6:00 PM
Cost: $595 (non-credit)

Clicking this button will enroll you in the 3-day letterpress workshop

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Each of the five students in the August 11–13, 2017, 3-day weekend workshop created amazing work.

Photo of participants of a 3-day Letterpress Workshop in Boston at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, August, 2017

Letterpress/Book Arts Class, Spring Semester 2018

Instructors: Keith Cross and Alice Stanne

Create hand-made books incorporating your own letterpress printed text and imagery in the letterpress shop and book arts studio at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design. You will learn to combine metal and wood type with ornaments and print with a variety of papers on a Vandercook press. You will also gain insight into how to monoprint or edition your work with letterpress. 

You'll learn an assortment of binding techniques such as non-adhesive, sewn, and accordion. Each simple technique can be expanded into more advanced and evolved structures. Additionally, you will learn how to make supplies such as book cloth and paste paper. We'll show you how to combine your letterpress and binding techniques into one-of-a-kind books, small editions, or portfolios.

The first letterpress class introduces the basics of hand typesetting with an "Exquisite Search" Poem workshop. You'll set 1-2 lines of type, normally a mashup of interesting search terms, but it can also be a simple quote or quip. Your lines of type–seemingly disparate ideas and types–will compose an impromptu poem. The exercise reveals how setting thoughts into letters of a physical nature draws attention to the relationships between letters, words, sentences, the page, and ultimately the reader.

Other letterpress classes cover additional typesetting techniques and Vandercook flatbed cylinder press operation. The most intense class is called "Meet the Press" You'll learn to ink the press, adjust pressure, adjust roller height, register and feed a sheet of paper, make an impression (well, many impressions), and then clean the rollers with loving care.

The second half of the course is all about producing work. The instructors will meet with the class to discuss book ideas and the feasibility of the layout using letterpress printing methods. Once you decide on a book idea (e.g., content, binding method, text, images) you'll set you type and prepare blocks/plates for printing images from linoleum, wood, or sintra (a carvable plastic substrate). We also have the capability to print images–time and expense permitting–from copper, magnesium, or polymer plates.

Work time outside of class is expected and strongly encouraged. Pending availability, we'll have monitors opening the shop on week-day nights. Work nights are a great time to get to become familiar with the shop, investigate the type collection, and develop working habits that will assist you in completing your projects.


Wednesday evenings (6:30 pm—10:00 pm), Jan 17–May 9, 2018


This class is available for undergraduate or graduate credit, or can be taken for no credit: you choose!

Clicking this button will take you to a page where you can select your enrollment options for this full-semester letterpress/bookarts class

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About Letterpress at Mass Art

The Mass Art Press has five Vandercook presses: 3 SP15s, a Universal 1 and a 219 Old Style. Our pressroom type collection includes over 500 fonts of metal and wood type and is one of the largest letterpress shops for students in New England. Watch this excellent video about letterpress and book arts at the Mass Art Press!

Want to schedule a group workshop?

If you're looking for a workshop for your creative team, school group, or design progam; look no further. Bring your group of 8-15 people for a 1-day letterpress workshop and get creative. Schedule a letterpress workshop for your creative group or agency team.

Gupta Media's 1-day Workshop

Designers from Gupta Media scheduled their letterpress workshop to reconnect with real type. We had a great discussion about animated type in lyric videos.

Letterpress Workshops for creative teams or marketing agencies, team building and creative rejuvenation!

Hot Off the Press!

Sign up for the mailing list if you're interested in being notified about upcoming letterpress classes taught by Keith Cross.

Read a blog post about our Fall 2014 workshop!

You might also like this review of our Spring 2013 workshop.

Here are some wonderful pictures taken by Tom Bergeron from the June 20, 2015 workshop.


See pics below of past workshops...including a letterpress class for kids.

April 9, 2017, 1-day Letterpress Workshop

An architect, a harpsichordist, a mother-in-law-to-be, recovering print designers, and others realizing they can't hide their delight with this letterpress workshop!

1-day Letterpress Workshop in Boston at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, April, 2017


March 4, 2017, 1-day Letterpress Workshop

Ten letterpress enthusiasts spent the day setting ambitious projects and having fun! Remember! Concealing your identity is optional.

Letterpress Workshop in Boston at Mass Art, Spring 2017


Fall 2016, Meridian Academy Letterpress Workshop

Media & Journalism Students from Meridian Academy (ages 9–12) print a "Muckraker Headline" Broadside. Read the blog post with pictures!

Meridian Academy, Media and Journalism, Letterpress Workshop in Boston at Mass Art, Fall 2016

Meridian Academy, Media and Journalism, Letterpress Workshop in Boston at Mass Art, Fall 2016


Fall 2016, Visual Language Letterpress Workshop

Freshmen, Studio Foundation Students print woodtype collages:

Six Word Memoir Letterpress Workshop in Boston at Mass Art, Fall 2016

See more pictures!

Spring 2016, Type II Sophomore Letterpress Workshop

Take a look at these examples of woodtype/six word memoir prints!

Six Word Memoir Letterpress Workshop in Boston at Mass Art, Spring 2016

October 24, 2015 1-day Letterpress Workshop

Take a look at this happy group of letterpressers!

October Letterpress workshop

December 5, 2015 1-day Letterpress Workshop

Big smiles and fun with these letterpressers!

October Letterpress workshop

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