Printmaking & Book Arts

Blackbird Arts offers a complete program where one can explore all aspects of the art of the book form,  from composing the type on the page and illustration techniques to selection of binding style that best suits the book form. 

Culling from 500 years of tradition and inspiration - fine printing is an art form in itself but culminates in the vessel of the book. Artists, writers, designers, photographers and the curious can find new ways to express themselves in this intimate and familiar form. These diverse skills all build upon each other to create books but can work independently as they are unique disciplines in themselves.

 

The following is a general curriculum for those wishing to understand the nature and construction of books:

Intro to Letterpress

Advanced Letterpress

Design - Type, Paper & Form

Relief Printmaking

Intaglio Printmaking

Intro to Bookbinding

Advanced Bookbinding

 

Intro to Letterpress  

This class focuses on learning to hand set type and its use on one of our four letterpress machines. Historical context, basic design decisions, typographic trivia and making a good impression are all part of this required class to become certified to work on any of the letterpress machines at Blackbird Arts.

 

Advanced Letterpress  

We take the concepts learned in Intro and move forward with honing skills and problem solving with hand set type and ways of producing printing plates from digital media. Independent projects from students begin to take the focus of the learning process.

 

Design, Paper & Form

This class pulls every other discipline together. Here, we go through in depth exploration of design, how it applies and suitability for any conceived project. The selection of typeface, it’s pairing with paper, the size of work are all considerations for appropriateness of the project at hand. Samples of type, many kinds of papers, boards and textiles useable for printing surfaces will be explored. Book forms and cover materials will be on hand to expand your idea of what printing and design can be using historical tools to create contemporary ideas.

 

Relief Printmaking  

Linoleum blocks, wood cuts and wood engravings form the foundation of relief printmaking but with the equipment at Blackbird, multi-color work and editions become a reality worth exploring. The class will focus on linoleum blocks and their preparation for use on a letterpress machine. Multiple blocks or reduction process will be used to create two or more color works and you will be taught how to painlessly register them to each other on the press for edition work.

 

Intaglio Printmaking

Intaglio is Latin for “the incised line” as it refers to an impression taken from a mark made below the surface. This is how money is printed, how postage stamps used to be printed, how most music scores and maps were produced before photography was invented and the industrial revolution. This is what Rembrandt did as well as Picasso and nearly every artist tried their hand at in the era where having multiples of an item to sell was a good business decision. The process is slower, the skill greater to master and the result is unique and undeniably exquisite.

 

Intro to Bookbinding

Simple book structures in a variety of forms from both the western codex tradition as well as eastern bindings. This class explores books made from folded signatures to single sheets of paper by sewing them together. Nonadhesive cover treatments and material design considerations and selection are emphasized.

 

Advanced Bookbinding

We build upon previous skills and explore book structures that are the foundation of what you are most familiar handling in the bookstore aisle and so much more. Adhesives come into play, book cloth, leather bits, slip cases and drop spine boxes to house our treasures. Supported bindings enclosed in boards and made as beautiful objects or for editions. As a side benefit, you will acquire the basic skills required in many book and paper repairs.

Blackbird Arts   |   1485 Barlow Street Traverse City, MI   |   (231)421-8085    |    Drop us a note at info@blackbirdartstc.com.