Friday, September 6, 2013

Letterpress Yard Sale September 14

On Saturday, September 14 Oregon College of Art and Craft's Book Arts Department will hold a "Letterpress Yard Sale" in the college's courtyard and in the Book Arts Studios from 10am - 3pm

Proceeds will help fund improvements in the Book Arts Department.

We will soon be updating our blog at, along with the OCAC Facebook page with pictures of items for sale.

Some of the items for sale will be:
- a 5"x8" Kelsey table-top press
- an Adana hand press
- a 28" x 20" standing press
- boxes of cans of oil based ink
- boxes of misc. furniture
- slug/lead cutters
- type, including 17 cases of Lydian
- metal sign type
- much, much more!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Winter and Spring Book Arts Classes!

Winter and Spring Classes in Book Arts are open for registration!
Below is a sampling of what OCAC has to offer this winter and spring in Book Arts. Please visit OCAC's online registration site to sign up for a class, or call 503-297-5544.

Explore letterpress printing on the Vandercook Proof Press in this all-levels letterpress class that will cover typesetting, typography, ink properties, paper qualities, multi-color registration and creative problem solving. Group and individual projects will provide both an introduction to letterpress for novices, while also challenging intermediate students ready to advance their printing skills and expand their letterpress vocabulary. This class will focus on specific letterpress printing and hand typesetting skills while also fostering individual experimentation, making for a perfect follow-up to Beginning Letterpress.
Prerequisite: None
Instructor:  Warren Buss
Dates:  01/30/2013 - 04/10/2013
Days:  Wednesday
Time:  6:30PM-9:30PM

The Layered Letterpress Print
Learn to combine a variety of image generation techniques on the letterpress to create original and striking prints. This course will cover pressure printing, wood type, and stencil techniques, all using the Vandercook Proof Press. You will come away with both finished prints and sample pages for future inspiration. Prerequisite: Some previous experience with letterpress printing preferred.
Instructor:  Macy Chadwick
Dates:  04/06/2013 - 04/07/2013
Days:  Saturday/Sunday
Time:  9:00AM-4:00PM

Introduction to Wood Engraving
In this workshop, each student will design, carve and print a black and white 2”x 3” wood engraving. Each image will be one print in a group portfolio. At the end of the workshop, each student will have a portfolio containing the prints from the class. Examples of wood engraving prints and from the instructor’s collection will be presented and discussed.
Prerequisite: None. All skill levels are welcome!
Instructor:  Susan Lowdermilk
Dates:  03/16/2013 - 03/17/2013
Days:  Saturday/Sunday
Time:  9:00AM-4:00PM

Layering Arts and Letters
Explore rewarding new techniques that combine art with words. Working on small format paper, we combine drawing materials, paint and various resists with handwriting (no matter how legible) and self-crafted letterforms to create richly layered pieces that have a striking, print-like quality. All techniques link together allowing endless opportunity for individual expression. You will complete this class with fresh ideas, heightened enthusiasm and a hand-constructed portfolio of your work.
Prerequisite: None, all skill levels are welcome!
Instructor:  Rebecca Wild
Dates:  03/09/2013 - 03/10/2013
Days:  Saturday/Sunday
Time:  9:00AM-4:00PM

Drypoint and Monotype on the Vandercook
You know how to use a Vandercook Proof Press-- now learn how to take your printing a little farther. A variety of image-making techniques will be explored and combined during this workshop. We will use plexiglass plates as an inexpensive method for creating our prints. Types of inks and additives, paper preparation, registration and tools will be discussed in depth. We will make a small edition of prints to exchange at the end of the workshop. Prerequisite: Previous experience with letterpress printing or other printmaking techniques is helpful.
Instructor:  Rory Sparks
Dates:  11/17/2012 - 11/18/2012
Days:  Sat/Sun
Time:  9am-4pm

Friday, December 21, 2012

Steamroller Printing in Bend

In September, four OCAC printmaking students and the two Book Arts/Printmaking Studio Managers drove to Bend for A6's (Atelier 6000) annual steamroller print event, Under Pressure. OCAC's printing slot began at Noon, and the students had four hours to pull as many prints as they could from the plate they'd carved in the couple of days before.

Steamroller printing allows printmakers the opportunity to work large. 
This plate was about 3' x 4'.

Tiny details, like the hidden cat, were added along with the large, graphic print areas in this relief plate. 

The wet paper is placed carefully on the plate, giant blankets are added on top of the paper, and then they're ready for the steamroller to do it's thing.

The first print pulled.

An A6 steamroller print event first: the driver shows Kerry how to steamroll.

Michelle at the wheel.

Ruth, taking a second pass on the prints.

Thanks so much to A6 for inviting us to participate in Under Pressure!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

OCAC in Central Oregon

This summer, OCAC is offering two workshops at Atelier 6000, an environmentally friendly printmaking studio in Bend, Oregon. This is a unique opportunity to experience OCAC workshops in the beautiful high desert of Central Oregon.

First in June is Binding Sampler with Instructor Roberta Lavadour. Learn six different book sewing patterns in two days as you create a single book structure. This class offers an extremely efficient way to learn a broad range of binding styles to add to your bookbinding repertoire. Sewing patterns will include: packed sewing over linen cords, French sewing on tapes, long-stitch, herringbone on split thongs, and an unsupported chain stitch. We will cover a set of boards that will be connected to the text block with vellum straps. Your finished book will serve as an historic model, a sewing pattern resource, and as functional sketchbook/journal.

Prerequisite: Beginners with good basic hand skills are welcome.

Location:  Atelier 6000, Bend, OR
Dates: 6/09 - 6/10/2012
Days:  Saturday/Sunday
Time:  9:00am-4:00pm
Tuition: $280
Studio Fee:$ 15

Then in August is Pressure Printing with Instructor Clare Carpenter. Pressure printing, also called stratography, is a unique method of printing using the Vandercook proof press. The printmaking plate can be made up of a variety of low-relief materials including collaged paper, string, glue, tape, and vinyl stickers. Photographs can be reproduced abstractly by collaging elements of several photocopies together. The resulting prints are often atmospheric, multi-tonal and wonderfully expressive.

This is a very low-tech printing process that encourages playfulness. This technique is appropriate for experienced letterpress printers as well as total beginners, since it offers both an introduction to the mechanics of the letterpress, while also opening up the possibility of using the Vandercook in a more experimental way. Because the plates are relatively easy to produce, this process offers a taste of "instant gratification" rarely achievable with letterpress.

Take time to throroughly explore and experiment with the many possibilities presented in this five day workshop by gifting yourself five afternoons of independent work time at Atelier 6000 with the further guidance and support of Atelier 6000's staff of professional printmakers. For $75 workshop participants will receive additional access to the Vandercook Press and the atelier's 2700 sq. ft. of creative space from noon to 5pm for the entire duration of the workshop.

Prerequisite: None.

Location:  Atelier 6000, Bend, OR
Start Date:  08/13/2012
End Date:  08/17/2012
Days:  Monday-Friday
Time:  9:00am-12:00pm
Tuition: $225
Studio Fee: $35

Summer Classes and Workshops at OCAC

This summer Book Arts is offering a really wonderful selection of classes and workshops. Visit for more information, or go directly to OCAC's quick and simple online registration to sign up.

Codex C: Creating a 6th Century Coptic Binding
Five Coptic codices were found near Sakkara in Egypt around 1924. Of the five books, Codex C was bound in remnants of maroon-red goatskin over papyrus boards; fragments also survive of an elaborate fore-edge wrapping band with a bone slip, and there is evidence it once carried a bookmark.
This workshop will allow you to create a full-size model of Codex C. We will make papyrus boards, fold and trim paper as a substitute for the original parchment text, sew the textblock, create simple endbands, line the spine with coarse linen, create the full leather binding, and make the wrapping band and bookmark. We will shape a spatulate bone slip from a length of cow bone. For those that wish, ink decoration can be added to the text edges. Then a plaquette of leather on board with interlace tooling and ink decoration will be added to the covers and spine of Codex C to fashion a distinctive binding. The Codex will be finished by attaching the wrapping band, bone slip, and bookmark. Participants will have the option to leave one side of their binding "open" so the back of the textblock, the sewing, endbanding, and linen lining can be seen. Time permitting other Coptic structures may be explored.
Prerequisite: Basic binding skills are required to make this model including some experience with sewing a text block.
Instructor:  Julia Miller
Location:  Calligraphy Classroom
Dates:  7/23 - 7/27/2012
Days:  Monday-Friday
Time:  9:00am-4:00pm
Tuition: $405
Studio Fee: $45

All That is Gold: Gilding on Paper, Wood and Glass
This two-day workshop is for artists and designers who want to know more about the properties and the application of gold on a variety of surfaces and sizes. This course is highly suitable for calligraphers and bookbinders, though any creative arts-worker can join the class. Applications of both traditional and modern gilding will be explored including working on paper wood & glass. Learn to tool into gold and work gold on watercolor washes. The project work will be delicate and small, but will open up many possibilities for incorporating the luster of gold into your creative work.
Prerequisite: Students should have confidence in drawing with graphite pencils, using pen and ink and/or painting with fine brushes.
Instructor:  Gemma Black
Location:  Printmaking and Calligraphy Classrooms
Dates:  6/21 - 6/22/2012
Days:  Thursday/Friday
Time:  9:00am-4:00pm
Tuition: $330
Studio Fee: $20

The Letterpress Artist: Simple Books on the Vandercook
In this course we explore methods of producing artist books on the Vandercook Press. We begin by learning simple book structures and investigating how structure can influence or enhance the content of books. Students experiment with pressure printing, hand inking, blind stamping and linoleum cuts. We will combine these techniques with hand-set type to create simple, editioned book projects. Learning new techniques and experimenting in an open and fun environment is a great way to get substantial ideas brewing for new projects. While we'll be focused primarily on producing books for this class, students are encouraged to bring larger projects of their own for discussion as a group.
Prerequisite: Some printing and/or binding experience is preferred.
Instructor:  Sarah Bryant
Location:  Printmaking and Calligraphy Classrooms
Dates  7/30 - 8/03/2012
Days:  Monday-Friday
Time:  9:00am-4:00pm
Tuition: $380
Studio Fee: $35

Beyond Illustration: Creating a Chapbook with Text and Image
For years, writers of all stripes have been creating powerful books in which they combine their words—be they fiction, poetry, memoir, or a combination of all three—with images. More than mere illustration, in these works the visual and the textual are in frequent, sometimes confounding, conversation with each other. In this class we’ll look at contemporary examples of authors who bring visual elements into their texts, including WG Sebald, Claudia Rankine, and Anne Carson. Students will produce writing in a genre of their choice, and workshop this writing in group critiques; in addition, students will cull or create images to partner with their words. For a final project, students will create chapbooks comprised of their own writing and found or created images.
Prerequisite: None.
Instructor:  Sara Jaffe
Location:  Book Arts Classroom
Dates  07/12 - 8/02/2012
Days:  Thursday
Time:  6:30pm-9:30pm
Tuition: $165 Studio Fee: $15

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Book Arts and Offset Printing

Have you ever been curious about how offset printing works? So much of the printed material passing through our hands on a daily basis is printed on an offset press, yet small offset duplicators can also be a great tool for producing art and small editions of books or prints.

Offset printing has played an integral role in the small press movement producing chapbooks, flyers, posters and ephemera over the decades. As more and more small print shops are moving toward digital printing, offset duplicator presses are becoming available to artists, much in the same way that letterpress began to be available several decades ago.

This spring, the Oregon College of Art and Craft is offering a brand new, and entirely unique workshop opportunity that will provide a glimpse into what it takes to produce an offset printed edition using traditional and alternative techniques. Perfect for book artists, letterpress printers, and printmakers who are interested in learning about the technology of small presses and their potential for producing artwork.

Survey of Offset Lithography for Artists

Offset lithography in its current form has been around for close to a hundred years. Known primarily as an industrial production printing technique, offset printing (particularly the use of small format machines) has played an integral role in the history of independent art, design, and literary printing. Often perceived as being technically complex, this survey will help demystify this printing technique through classroom discussions and on-site shop visits. This four-day workshop will introduce students to the basic principles of offset lithography, touch on its social history as well as its use in the commercial printing industry, and provide an overview of machine function, manual image composition and plate making. Through hands-on exercises students will engage in mechanical image composition using both traditional and artistic techniques, and collaborate to produce a finished edition using those images, which will be printed at a local print shop.

You can learn more about the workshop Survey of Offset Lithography for Artists on OCAC's Community Programs page.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Combined Print Media Final Project

For the final Combined Print Media class students drew inspiration from the City of Portland's historic collection of records and documents. In November we trekked downtown to visit the Archives and Records center, where we got a chance to see some of the stacks and view some interesting historical pieces of ephemera from the city's extensive collection. City Archivist Diana Banning and Assistant City Archivists Brian Johnson and Mary Hansen gave us a wonderful tour and talk that introduced the class to the archives' holdings and their use.

The objective of the final project was to use the archives to research a topic of interest, and from there create a printed piece inspired by that research. Some of the students were inspired to make work which directly referred to their research, and others created work a bit removed from the original source, but in every case there is a germ of the original material evident.

Below are some snapshots of the results!


S. Swan became inspired looking into early street formation in downtown Portland. Early Portland city designers were interested in creating a walkable, 'human-scale' city, and the transformation occurred relatively fast. In a matter of years, Portland went from having a jumble of streets filled with tree stumps and potholes full of mud, to an organized and logically laid out grid.

Swan's work reflects her own experience walking in Portland, and captures the feeling of momentary glimpses and dislocated bits of information.

S. Swan
Linocut, silkscren, photopolymer plates.

R. Bryant responded to a clipping from a Communist newsletter accusing the Portland police of setting up and instigating a crime in order to frame them. The Portland police claimed just the opposite, and well, fingers were pointed.

Bryant took the idea of finger pointing and the human desire to place the blame on the opposite party and rendered it in black and white. She made use of OCAC's ornament collection and found as many fingers and arrows as possible. It's interesting to think about how usually these ornaments are used to direct someone's attention to important information, yet in this case they simply reflect each other endlessly.

R. Bryant
Letterpress printed ornaments, wood type, and sorts

M. Latham was inspired by photos from the Fire Bureau, and wanted to take on the challenge of rendering fire in print. Latham's humor is also evident in the title of this piece, which pokes at restaurant and 'foodie' culture always trying to outdo itself.

Latham did render this print four ways, blending techniques in a way that she wanted to hone from earlier assignments. It's difficult to tell in some places where one techniques ends and another begins.

M. Latham
Restaurant Fire, Four Ways
Acrylic drypoint, photopolymer plate, linocut, monoprinting

A. Piff was also inspired by a number of photographs from the collection. Portland used to employ a city photographer whose job it was to document development, construction, repairs, and catastrophes around the city. The photographer also captured minor events and slices of every day life of ordinary citizens.

Piff was particularly interested in those captured moments where, had they not been photographed, might have easily been forgotten Their documentation has leant them an air of importance in history. She was also interested in images that speak to what was important at the time they were taken, and how what we deem as important and document-worthy has changed over the years.

A. Piff
Linocuts and hand-painting

E. Derge found an indignant letter to the editor that scolded the City of Portland for allowing a circus sideshow act to go on that included a lewd performance: belly-dancing! This inspired Derge to look into circus acts and their sideshows, which in turn led her to research medical oddities and developmental abnormalities. Fetus in Fetu is such an abnormality. I'm going to let readers do their own research on this one!

E. Derge
Fetus in Fetu
Letterpress printed using photopolymer plates, hand die-cutting, intaglio relief rolled plates, hand-built box.

B. Chavez found a historical scrapbook commemorating the flood of 1894. Her inspiration came not only from the object itself and the fact that such a scrapbook would have been made for such an event, but that it also contained a very poetic introduction.

Chavez reinterpreted the introduction, writing some of her own lines of poetry, and also interpreted the photography contained within the scrapbook by creating acrylic drypoints and binding them in between the slips words. The result is an elegant object responding to tragedy.

B. Chavez
A City Underwater
Handset type letterpress printed, acrylic intaglio, hand-bound book.

B. Sullivan initially researched the Benson Bubblers, and the man behind them, Simon Benson.

What you see here is not his response to that research...


B. Sullivan
Silkscreen and inkjet printing.

R. Kapka found some official paperwork documenting animal acquisition at the zoo. Her response was amusement at the bureaucratic language and format of these documents, when we are so accustomed to the public face of the zoo and the more personal language we typically use when referring to animals. Her inspiration developed into an exploration of break-downs in communication, and exploring the areas where data intersects with the personal. Her piece forces the meeting of bureaucracy and absurdity, where the quotidian meets the bizarre.

R. Kapka
Letterpress printed, handset type, photopolymer plate, hand-bound, foil-stamping