About This Studio
At VisArts, we’re proud of our letterpress studio—the only public studio space of its kind in the area. The space includes a variety of wooden and lead type and all necessary tools for hand-set work as well as four presses: a Challenge proof press, table-top proofing press, a Vandercook proof press and a treadle-powered platen press. The studio also features a large drying rack, ink, and a constant stock of donated paper. For a complete list of equipment, please scroll to the bottom of this page.
(804) 353-0094, ext. 226
Open Studio Schedule
The open studio schedule is updated for each class session. Please note that times are subject to change.
- For your personal safety, please remove or tie back any loose clothing or long hair while using the presses.
- Be sure to wash your hands at the end of your work session.
- Treat the type with care, as the face of the characters can be easily damaged.
- Clean up after yourself. A proper clean-up includes cleaning the type and washing up the press. If you don’t know how to properly clean type or a specific press, ask your instructor or studio monitor.
- Redistribute any type or spacing you don’t plan to use, and neatly store the type you’ve set for future projects on a galley. Store your galley in the galley rack, with an accompanying signed galley slip. Be sure to accurately place all type and spacing in the appropriate compartments. All type should be redistributed (put away) within two weeks of completing a project or by the end of the session.
- Dispose of soiled rags and other materials in the red hazardous materials bin.
- Return all tools and supplies to the proper shelves and leave the letterpress studio as you found it.
- Be very careful when operating the press. Keep hands away from the edges and the roller. Hands should be clean when using the press and handling blankets. Do not over-tighten the press as the rollers and bed may be damaged. Never put any hard or sharp objects through the press.
- We provide rags, solvents and inks.
- Do not bring in outside solvents; these can be harmful to type and presses.
- If you bring in outside ink; you must have this approved by a monitor, teacher, or studio assistant prior to use.
- Students and open studio users should plan to bring in their own paper. All studio users are welcome to use stocked scrap papers.
EQUIPMENT + TOOL USAGE DURING OPEN STUDIO
- All pressed besides the large platen press may be used during open studio when a monitor is present.
- Open studio users can type-set during unmonitored hours.
- All type and hand tools are available.
- A 100-year-old platen press
- An electric-powered Challenge proofing press
- A table-top proof press
- A standing Vandercook proof press
- All tools necessary for setting and printing letterpress type including chases, galleys, quoins.
- A large variety of wood and lead type as well as imagery and ornaments
- A large variety of oil-based and rubber-based inks.
- Paper Cutting tools
- A large drying rack