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Words First Class

This class has filled for 2024! We're leaving the page up so you can get a feel for what we love to teach and how we go about it. Please email if you're interested in a future class at Expedition and we'll keep you in the loop. Also, the most surefire way to know what's up in general here at the press is to join our mailing list. Thanks for your interest.


Once a year we offer an in-depth, in person class focused on poetry, printing, and typography. The class is called Words First because everything we do is always in the service of damn fine words; all our work begins and ends with text.

Limited to six participants, 2024’s cohort will meet Jan 17 – Feb 14, on Wednesday nights from 6-8:30pm at our printshop in south Seattle. Course fee is $450, which includes 10 hrs of direct instruction, all materials, and lots of follow up resources.⁠ Email to sign up.

This class is for you if you love poetry and want to know how to go about printing it; if you love letterpress and want a chance to go deeper into typesetting and press mechanics; if you love design and want to hone your typography skills; if you love creative process and want to immerse yourself in a new medium. Hands-on and process-based, you may or may not come out with a finished piece. You will get your hands dirty weekly and have what you need to explore further should you wish. No experience necessary, ages 14 and up welcome.⁠

Basic class outline

  • Session 1: Starting. Creative process (how to start), editorial ethics (selecting a text and getting permission), orientation to shop & tools, notebook binding, read poetry.
    • Assignment: Morning Pages. Establishing the habit (from The Artist’s Way)
    • Assignment: find some raw material! Bring a text to next class
  • Session 2: Design. Constraints, thumbnail sketches, anatomy of type, type selection, editorial selection, ideation, iteration, typesetting, layout, proofing process, paper considerations, format decisions, paper cutting.
    • Assignment: settle on a text and complete at least 25 thumbnail sketches
  • Session 3: Printing. Platen and cylinder press mechanics and operation, lockup, makeready process: pressure, registration, inking. Continue typesetting. Proofing.
  • Session 4: Printing. If you’re ready! And/or, continue typesetting and proofing.
    • Assignment: bring a poem and snack to share for last class
  • Session 5: Finishing. Culling, counting, archiving, sharing. Dis type, clean up, print swap, package, read poetry, appreciate.

It’s an ambitious syllabus but with discipline we can fit a lot in! Questions? Ready to sign up? Email A 50% deposit of $225 is required to reserve your spot, with payment in full due by Dec 31st. Flexible payment plan available if needed, please inquire.⁠