Letterpress and Book Arts Center

wooden cut letters laid out

paper stacks in sections

letterpress shop equipment

Letterpress and Book Arts Center

The Letterpress and Book Arts Center at the Ringling College of Art and Design is an interdisciplinary facility for education, creative research, collaboration, and production. The mission of the center is to bring together students, faculty, staff, visiting artists, alumni, friends, and other members of our community to honor, explore, and advance the potential of artists' publications to serve as connections between art, media, technology, and theory. The Center hosts undergraduate classes, lectures, workshops, and demonstrations, and facilitates the production of artists’ publications by students, faculty, staff, and visiting artists.

We Moved!

We are excited to announce that the Letterpress and Book Arts Center recently moved to our new home on the first floor of the Richard and Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center. In our new location, we share a space with the Digital Fabrication Studio, creating an innovative lab in which students, faculty, and staff can access equipment ranging from our turn-of-the-century printing presses and over 300 drawers of vintage metal type to a state-of-the-art laser cutter and vacuum former. In addition, our campus facilities for glass (hot shop and cold shop), woodworking, papermaking, printmaking, photography, and sculpture are just a few steps away. We are thrilled to have relocated to this visually stunnning new building, designed and built to accommodate hands-on fabrication and art-making. We look forward to celebrating our new shared space in the spring of 2020!

Hours By Appointment

Monday–Friday 8:30 AM–4:30 PM

Monitored Studio Hours

Monday–Thursday 6:30 PM–11:00 PM
Saturday–Sunday 12:00 PM–8:00 PM

Monitored Studio Hours at the Letterpress and Book Arts Center and Digital Fabrication Studio are available during the academic year for Ringling College of Art and Design degree and continuing education students and faculty. Orientations are required prior to use of the Letterpress, Bookbindery, Risograph, and Digital Fabrication equipment. Project consultations are also available, by appointment, for degree students and faculty who are new to the space or need some help getting started. Continuing education students can use the facilities during their scheduled class times. Ringling College of Art and Design staff may make a written request for special permission from the Vice President for Academic Affairs to use the facilities for a specific project for a specific period of time. Students, faculty, staff, and community members who are interested in learning more about the Letterpress and Book Arts Center and Digital Fabrication Studio are welcome to schedule a visit by contacting the Coordinator of the center.

Contact Us
Bridget Elmer, Coordinator, Letterpress and Book Arts Center

Noah Coleman, Visual Art Center Studio Manager and Technician

Richard and Barbara Basch Visual Arts Center
1188 Dr. Martin Luther King Way
Sarasota, FL 34234

Campus Map #22



What's New?

Workshops and Orientations

Orientations are available for Ringling College of Art and Design degree students, faculty, and permitted staff who are interested in working in the Letterpress and Book Arts Center and Digital Fabrication Studio during Monitored Studio Hours. Each session includes hands-on instruction with an emphasis on learning to work safely and creatively with the equipment at the center. Anyone who successfully completes an orientation may use the demonstrated equipment during Monitored Studio Hours. Elective courses and intensive workshops are available for those interested in more extensive instruction. Please contact Bridget Elmer at (941) 309-4049 or belmer@c.ringling.edu for more information.

Letterpress Orientations

printing equipment

Wednesdays, 10:00 AM–11:30 PM
February 12, March 25

Letterpress Printing
Wednesdays, 10:00 AM–11:30 PM
February 26, April 8

Risograph Orientations

printing equipment

Thursdays, 11:30 AM–12:15 PM
February 13, February 27

Fridays, 11:30 AM–12:15 PM
February 21, March 6

Bookbindery Orientations

hand pressing letter through printer

Wednesdays, 11:30 AM–12:15 PM
February 19, March 4

Events and Opportunities

Jessica Spring Visiting Artist Events
Word Play Exhibition at Willis Smith Gallery
January 13–February 14, 2020
Artist Talk and Reception at Willis Smith Gallery
Wednesday, February 5, 11:30 AM–12:15 PM
Open Studio at the Letterpress and Book Arts Center
Friday, February 7, 11:30 AM–12:15 PM

Daredevil Furniture typesetting set by Jessica Spring

The Makerspace Opening
Thursday, March 5, 2020
5:00 PM–7:00 PM

Artist's Publication Series

letterpress equipment with students working in background

The Letterpress and Book Arts Center invites applications for our annual Artist's Publication Series. This program invites visiting artists to propose an original artist's publication that, if chosen by the selection committee, is produced in collaboration with Ringling College students, faculty, and staff at the Letterpress and Book Arts Center. Production takes place over the course of the academic year and the finished edition is released at the conclusion of each spring semester. Artists previously featured in the series include Ke FrancisGraciela IturbideJulie ChenEllen KnudsonJessica Peterson, and Sheryl Oring. For more information about the series, to submit a proposal, or to inquire about collecting one of our original artists' publications, please contact Bridget Elmer at (941) 309-4049 or belmer@c.ringling.edu.

Visiting Artists

Jessica Spring
February–March 2020

Jessica Spring started setting cold type on a Compugraphic Editwriter 7300 phototypesetting machine (a huge console with a big green screen) in 1982 as an undergraduate English major, beginning a lifelong interest in typography. She learned to set real metal type in 1989 and has been a letterpress printer ever since, even inventing Daredevil Furniture for the composition of metal type in circles, curves and angles. Her work at Springtide Press—artist books, broadsides and ephemera—is included in collections around the country and abroad. Collaborations are an important part of her work, either printing for other artists or teaching students traditional letterpress printing, typography and book arts. Her most recent project, with Chandler O'Leary, is their book Dead Feminists: Historic Heroines in Living Color published by Sasquatch Books. Spring has an MFA from Columbia College Chicago Center for Book & Paper and teaches at Pacific Lutheran University.

Jim Sherraden
January–February 2021

Paper Quilt print by Jim Sherraden

Jim Sherraden has been an active and popular printmaker since 1980 and his work is collected by individuals and institutions worldwide. His art has toured with the Smithsonian and has been shown at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as multiple venues both in the United States and abroad. He is also an award winning author and lyricist. Since 1984 Sherraden’s name has been synonymous with Hatch Show Print, the iconic letterpress poster and design shop in Nashville, Tennessee. For his work at Hatch, Sherraden was a recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Artist Award for the state of Tennessee, is the American Advertising Nashville 2013 Silver Medalist, and was awarded the Krider Prize for Creativity by the UCDA in the fall of 2014.


About Us

The Letterpress and Book Arts Center was established at the Ringling College of Art and Design in May of 2011, with the acquisition of Harold and Judilee Sterne’s studio. Harold "Hal" Sterne, who passed away in 2010, began printing at the age of 14 and is a central figure in the history of letterpress printing and equipment preservation. Hal co-founded NA Graphics with Tom Bell and purchased Vandersons (previously Vandercook & Sons) just days before the company was scheduled to close its doors. As Fritz Klinke (current owner of NA Graphics) explains, if it weren't for Hal, "we would have nothing in the way of support for these presses today."

The Ringling College Letterpress and Book Arts Center currently houses six operational printing presses, including a Chandler and Price 8x12 Old Style platen press, two Vandercook SP-15 flatbed cylinder presses, a Vandercook Universal III AB, a Nolan Standard proof press, and a Risograph EZ591U. The Center is generously equipped with over 300 cases of type, 4,000 metal engravings, and an Anderson Vreeland Orbital XI photopolymer platemaker. In addition, the Center houses a variety of tools for bookbinding, box making, and creative packaging, with two book presses, a D&K 210M dry mounting press, an Ideal 4315 guillotine, an Ideal 1046 Kutrimmer, and additional paper cutters. A selection of Hal's extensive library of printing, bookbinding, and graphic arts resources, which was generously donated to Ringling College of Art and Design by his wife Judi, is also available for on-site access at the Center.

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