Agenda Discovery Week Month

Curated for Me

Letterpress Type Workshop

Sechelt Arts Festival
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Endorsed by Curators:
Oct 12 2:00PM - 6:00PM

Learn about Letterpress printing and the Origins of Type at this special event hosted by Barbarian Press founders Crispin and Jan Elsted and joined by a local team of experts for the "Hands on" workshop and documentry film. REGISTER FOR THE WORKSHOP online. All materials and equipment included in the fee.

A first for the Sechelt Arts Festival this year, learn about the origins of type and the basics of letterpress printing. No previous experience is necessary, however,you must register to secure your space in the workshop, maximum 12 participants.


Crispin & Jan Elsted founded Barbarian Press in Kent, England, in 1977. In 1978 they relocated to Mission, B.C., where the press has been active ever since. Barbarian Press is a private press devoted to the publication of poetry, translations, classics of literature in English, books on books, and books on (and with) wood engravings. The books are produced exclusively by letterpress, using hand-set type, and are usually hand bound. The printing is done by Jan, the design and typesetting by Crispin, while the editorial decisions are shared.

The press has an international reputation, and has won seven Alcuin Society design awards and two Judges Awards at the Oxford Fine Press Fair. In 1996 it was honoured by two exhibitions, one in Edmontons Indigo Gallery devoted to the presss book, Endgrain: Contemporary Wood Engraving in North America; and a major retrospective, Utile Dulci: Twenty Years at Barbarian Press, at the Kinsey Gallery of Seattle University. In April, 1997, it was the subject of a month-long retrospective exhibition at the National Library of Canada in Ottawa. The press was also featured as a prominent part of the exhibition on Canadian private presses, A Death Greatly Exaggerated: Canadas Thriving Small and Fine Press, at the Fisher Library in Toronto in 2015.


A special short documentary film and introduction will be held between 2pm and 3pm - followed by the "Hands-on" workshop from 3pm to 6pm.

Workshop participants are encouraged to bring a favourite quote to reproduce during the workshop, 15 to 20 words/100 to 150 characters. The group will be broken into 4 teams of 3 participants, each team having access to a selection of cases of metal type and a printing press.

The workshop will start with a brief intro on the origins of moveable type followed by instructions in the basics of hand-setting type for your group creation. Every participant gets their hand at hand-setting type, locking-up their form and hand-pulling a number of prints. Everyone gets to bring prints of their own composition home, as well as a copy of each of the other 3 teams compositions.


IMPORTANT NOTICE: In the course of this workshop, soy-based printing inks will be used. While protective nitrile gloves will be supplied for everyone, individuals suffering from a particular medical or respiratory condition may want to refrain from attending.

For your own safety, we suggest removing heavy rings or danglingjewellery during the sessions. Long chains, pendants, ties and loose scarves should be safely secured, long hair should be tied back. Consider wearing comfortable flat shoes, and fitted clothing you dont mind staining with ink (or an apron).

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