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Visting Artist Workshop: Flashy Fleurons & Luxurious Letterforms with Jen Farrell

SATURDAY, April 13 & SUNDAY April 14 [10–4 PM] • $225 All Materials Included

Working with the Signal Return type collection over two days, participants will set and print one or two (depending on personal choice) pieces. We’ll first approach the idea of creating something decorative and symmetrical and purely ornamental. The second project will be to create a non-symmetrical letterform from the ornaments on hand.

At the height of its popularity in the 1800s, letterpress printing presented printers with incredible options for creating everything from simple flower embellishments to elaborate systems of illustrations built with ornament. What can we learn from looking at examples of historical designs, how they survived (or didn’t) and their role in design and print vernacular over the century to follow? In this workshop, we’ll examine the quirks of old ornaments, how to keep them vital and allow them to influence and inform modern design practices.

During the course of the weekend workshop we will study specimen books that show the type/ornament at its zenith, start to ‘see’ how ornament can be used to accent or illustrate, look at good practices for printing metal type, examine ornament for visual positive/negative space, usefulness and condition, and get tips and tricks for getting the best out of old metal type


Since 1999, Jennifer Farrell has operated Starshaped Press in Chicago, focusing on printing everything from business cards to posters, as well as custom commissions, wholesale ephemera and limited edition prints & books. All work in the studio is done with metal and wood type, making Starshaped one of the few presses in the country producing commercial work while preserving antique type and related print materials. Jennifer’s work has been repeatedly recognized both in print and design blogs, and has appeared in poster shows throughout the USA and Europe.