Introduction to Letterpress

Hand Composition

Advanced Platen Press

Treadle Presses

Cylinder Presses

Business Card Printing

Intensive Woodtype


Photopolymer Platemaking

Lino Cuts



Paper Marbling

Paper Making

Fine Printmaking

 Silkscreen/Screen Printing

Book Binding

Book Repair

Artist Books







WCBA, the Wellington Centre for Book Arts



In gestation for more than a year, the WCBA, Wellington Centre for Book Arts, will be opening soon in central Wellington.


The first of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, the centre draws its inspiration from the Book Arts models in Minnesota, London and San Francisco. Basement premises have been secured in the beautiful Woolstore Building at 262 Thorndon Quay, a brisk walk from the railway station and easy for out of towners coming by car—exit at Nauranga Gorge.


The three rooms comprise:


The Printery:  as well as an Intertype linecaster that somehow sneaked in, the printery features a Heidelberg Platen, a Vandercook SP-15 reproduction proof press, a small Albion handpress, an Arab treadle and soon to arrive a huge Harrild proof press for printing posters with wood type.


The Bindery: the Parliamentary bindery in the General Assembly Library has literally moved down the road, lock, stock and barrel.  With a superb collection of materials, guillotine, card cutter, backing press, standing and nipping presses, not to mention a comprehensive set of bookbinding tools.


The Composing Room: numerous cabinets of lead and wood type, Adana  and other tabletop presses, digital photocopier etc.


In addition to the classes offered, the centre will be available for studio and corporate hire.




Letterpress Intro:   Thursday, 28th and Friday 29th November, https://www.meetup.com/theprintingmuseum/events/265886150/


Treadle Platen Workshop: Friday 29th November, https://www.meetup.com/theprintingmuseum/events/265891092/


Heidelberg Masterclass: Sat 30th Nov and Sun 1st Dec (two days) , https://www.meetup.com/theprintingmuseum/events/265884226/





The Museum is currently planning the publication of three World War I poetry books using the techniques of the age viz. hand-set type, treadle presswork and period binding. The manuscript of the first of these, The War Poetry of Donald H. Lea, with an introduction by Harry Ricketts, has just been completed.


An important aspect of the project is teaching the necessary skills to a new generation who will then have the opportunity to participate in the printing and making of the books. Hence the theme of our next classes.


Notes: Please email the museum to register interest. Maximum size of class varies from 6 to 8 people. When The Museum's new workshop becomes fully operational, venue to change to Mangaroa near Upper Hutt. Members of the Printing Museum (subscription only $30) receive a 10%discount on classes. Enrolment will only be confirmed on receipt of full payment in advance. Refunds available only if class places are taken up by others.


Classic Hand Composition

Date: Saturday 16th July, 9.30am to 4.00pm

Venue: Moana Road Press, Kelburn

Tutor: Brendan O’Brien

Fee: $140. Members $125


Brendan O’Brien has been printing on hand presses since 1990; he established Fernbank Studios 16 years ago in Wellington. He has hand-printed and illustrated numerous books and was the Printer in Residence at the University of Otago in 2015.


Course details - topics covered:

The parts of type - fonts - the lay of the case- composing sticks - composing rule - galleys - the point system - spacing material - ems and picas - quads and spaces - leading.

Making up a stick - setting type - spacing the line - justifying - emptying the stick - tying up a job - locking up - pulling a proof.

Rules - cutting leads - mitring - kerning. Optical centring, letter spacing etc.


Ideal for beginners who want to learn how to handset lead type from the beginning. Students will then have the opportunity later to practice typesetting for the WW1 books project.



August 13th Alan Loney Masterclass

Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th August, 9.30am to 4.00pm

Venue: The Printing Museum

Tutor: Alan Loney

Fee: S250. Members $225


Now resident in Melbourne, New Zealand poet and printer Alan Loney will return to Wellington to teach a masterclass on aspects of fine printing. Aimed at experienced letterpress printers, topics covered will include composition , damping paper, proofing and printing for fine editions. A rare opportunity to learn from one of New Zealand's finest printers.


Treadle Presswork - The Arab

Saturday 17th September

A one-day workshop based on the Arab treadle press - one of the finest platen presses ever built. Items covered will be maintenance, adjustments, makeready, gauges and registration. More details tba.


Classic Bookbinding

Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th October

 A two-day workshop based on creating a post World War I poetry book starting with imposition, sewing signatures, case-making, gold-foiling etc. More details tba.


Monotype/Linotype Workshops

Labour Weekend October 22-24th

More details tba.


Letterpress Xmas Cards

Saturday 12th November

More details tba.


Hot Acrobats Peform Cheese Fog Polka: 5/5/15 Talk by local letterpress printer Brendan O’Brien tomorrow Tuesday 5th May at 12.15pm. All welcome. More...


Introduction to Linotype and Intertype: 2/5/21015 Called the “Eighth Wonder of the World” by Thomas Edison, the Linotype and its later improved rival the Intertype, revolutionised both printing and society.  The introduction of these machines sped up the setting of type for newspapers, magazines and posters from the late 19th century to the 1960s and 70s, allowing much faster typesetting and composition than original hand composition in which operators place down one character at a time. More...


Typography Exhibition Opening - Guest Lecture: 17/3/2015 Judith Poirier MA (RCA) from the Université du Québec à Montreal presents her film-book, Two Weeks - Two Minutes. A great chance to meet and hear an international typographer talking about her letterpress work. Judith's lecture is part of the exhibition opening showcasing work by successful students in the International Society of Typographic Designers student assessment scheme. More...


Letterpress Movie - Proceed and Be Bold:  24/9/2104  The Printing Museum has secured special rights from the filmmaker to screen an acclaimed documentary about Amos Paul Kennedy, a letterpress poster printer from Chicago. Funds raised from the evening will help to preserve the Museum's outstanding collection of printing equipment. More...


Introduction to Letterpress: 30/3/2014 This four hour course is for anyone interested in the traditional methods of printing from lead type. Letterpress was the main method of printing for over 500 years from Johannes Gutenburg’s 1450s Bible to recent times.  More...






© The Printing Museum 2014