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Long-Distance Letterpress: DIY Wood Type

with Ryan Molloy
Saturday, August 6
10:00 am – 12:00 pm PDT
$50.00 – $75.00


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Why you should take this class

Ryan Molloy is known for his unconventional wood typeface designs: movable type that breaks the rectangular mold, so to speak. How does he do it? The answer is a computer numerical control (CNC) router—a modern-day pantograph. Like laser cutters, desktop CNC routers have become more and more commonplace, providing printers with a handy tool for creating their own unique wood type and illustrations. Whether used as a block leveler or as a means to carve an image, the CNC provides designers, printers, and printmakers with a range of useful applications for relief platemaking.

What you’ll learn

In this edition of Long-Distance Letterpress, we’ll explore how a CNC router can be used for creating letterpress wood type and engravings. Using examples from his own work, Ryan will demonstrate and answer questions on the following:

  • how to plan your design for execution
  • how to prepare your materials for machining and printing
  • key terminology for using a CNC router
  • using relevant software and prepare a file for machining
  • various techniques one can use for creating the relief
  • useful tips for prototyping and fabrication


This workshop consists of a demonstration and interactive Q&A, with no advance preparation or supplies necessary to participate — just make sure you’re using the most recent version of Zoom. Familiarity with Adobe Illustrator is useful but not required.

Who should take this class?

Letterpress printers, printmakers, designers and artists interested in learning about digital fabrication methods.

Will this class be recorded?

All of PiP’s classes are live, uncensored, and unrecorded — we find it’s a lot more fun and interactive this way. They are closed captioned using Zoom’s Live Transcription feature; to make the most of this tool, update to the most recent version of Zoom.

Visit our FAQ page to learn more about PiP’s class policies.

About the Instructor

Ryan Molloy
Ypsilanti, MI
Ryan Molloy is a freelance designer, artist, and professor of graphic design at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. Prior to teaching at Eastern he was a visiting lecturer at the University of Texas at Austin’s Design Division where he also received his MFA in Design. He is an educator and inter-disciplinary designer having practiced in fields of architecture and graphic design. His creative work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has received several awards including an Art Directors Club Young Guns award. In 2012 Ryan Molloy and Leslie Atzmon received a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Art Works grant for the Open Book Workshop, held at the Jean Noble Parsons Center, and the book The Open Book Project. Ryan Molloy and Leslie Atzmon also received a Sappi Ideas that Matter grant in 2017 for the redesign of Ypsilanti’s Riverside Arts Center visual identity and environmental graphics. His work exploring letterpress wood type has been featured in the Hamilton New Impressions exhibitions.