Cylinder Core 1 :: Experience Letterpress!

 Registration is closed for this event

May 11th, 2024 9:30 AM

  • Instructor: Alan Hillesheim
  • Workshop Extra: Core Curriculum, Certificate Program
  • Workshop Type: Printing
  • Workshop Status: Wait-list
  • Sessions: 1
  • In-person or Online?: In-person

Workshop Fee (includes materials fee): $200

Scholarship available: Click here to apply

Masks are no longer required for most workshops, though anyone is welcome to wear one if they wish.

Cylinder Core Certificate Program

The hand-fed cylinder proof press, also known as the Vandercook press, has a special place in both print history and in teaching book arts. Immediate and accessible, yet nuanced and specific, it is the press that introduced many of us to letterpress. The four class Cylinder Core Certificate Program allows students to move quickly through press basics while also addressing relief printing in general. Students who finish the four Core classes are qualified to rent press time as well as move on to more advanced classes and techniques. Core workshops must be taken sequentially.

Click here to learn more about the Cylinder Core Certificate Program and how to receive a discount.

Cylinder Core 1 :: Experience Letterpress!

Dig in to the tradition and history of letterpress printing and get your hands dirty. Learn about the process and practice of setting type, mixing inks and pulling impressions. Students will design and print a small edition of a folded greeting card using the type and cuts (images) in the SFCB collection.

Competencies Gained:


  • Introductory history of the art and craft of relief printing
  • How letterpress printing works


  • Introduction to the type case, composition and the composing stick
  • Introduction to studio practices
  • Pulling a print


  • Introduction to the cylinder (Vandercook) press and safety points
  • Movable type and cuts 


>> Prerequisite: None <<

Materials to Bring: None. All tools and materials will be provided.

Date & Time: Saturday, May 11, 2024 :: 9:30am-5:30pm

Location: 375 Rhode Island St, San Francisco, CA 94103

NOTE: Please read over the SFCB Registration Policies before signing up for a class. Registration will close approximately three days prior to the start date of the workshop to allow the instructor time to prep materials for class. We recommend you not wait to register, as workshops that don't meet our minimum enrollment will be canceled, sometimes as much as a week in advance.

About the Instructor | Alan Hillesheim (he/him)

Alan Hillesheim has been wrenching around printing presses for 35 years. Printing presses need to be moved, oiled, inked, cleaned, and maintained, in short they need attention like a six year old. Maintenance is a dirty business, but a necessary one for beautifully printed anything. Alan has a passion for the mechanics of the print studio and enjoys encouraging others to roll up their sleeves and grab a wrench. His 35 years in the letterpress business and “all-ten-fingers” count speak for themselves. Join him and wear old clothes. Oh, and once the press is in fine order, Alan has a few secrets to divulge about perfect inking and stellar printing.

Past Student Reviews:

 “I liked that we had so much freedom to create our own projects, and the fact that Alan was so supportive of all of the ideas that we had.”

“Loved it - Learned about presses, how to typeset, ink, print - and got 15 Thank You cards for all the hard work. Alan was really patient and gave each of us individual help. Excellent teacher.”

“So much fun!  It was a complicated class, yet with individual help we all accomplished the objectives. I've yet to take a mediocre class at the center.”

“Very clear, always open to questions, I got plenty of focused hands-on help. It was a great experience.”

375 Rhode Island St
San Francisco, CA 94103-5133
United States