North Bay Letterpress Arts

for inquiries or to purchase work, please email

or call 707 861 3904

The NBLA is a nonprofit group based in Sebastopol, CA whose purpose is to educate the public in the art & history of letterpress printing, by maintaining an authentic printshop for training and common use.
The means of education include classes, shop tours, literary & artistic events, and publications.

Our work is an effort to give letterpress printing a root locally, and to do that in such a way that it can develop as an art form. One that requires diligence in learning the old methods of presswork and typesetting, and a willingness to experiment with a medium that is freed from its mercantile usage.

We are dedicated to the spread of knowledge about typography which is rooted in the five hundred years of sculpted letterforms. It is important in the digital age that people can still use their hands to make words vivid and to create books, just as it is important to keep handwriting alive.

North Bay Letterpress Arts nurtures its link to the literary community by helping poets who want broadsides or chapbooks printed... or hosting readings. There is a resonance for anyone who writes when they can see and feel their words being assembled by hand and pressed vividly into paper. Small press publishers are essential in the history of literature and we honor that bond.

The presses and collection of type & engravings are also a natural field of interest for fine arts people, and we will make possible collaborative efforts for particular projects — or, hosted residencies. Woodblock & linoleum carvers, book artists, & printmakers have spent time at the shop, learning the tactile uses of letterforms and the particular advantages of our presses for their own work, as well as discovering new methods using the old tools.

Printing with movable type is still considered the single greatest invention in ‘Western’ history, and there is no better way to learn this than to see the actual process first hand. We offer tours and workshops for people of all ages, combining background in the history with hands-on composition and presswork.

At the core of the letterpress art is the physical manipulation of our alphabet into words and texts. With all the digital keyboarding that people are immersed in, it’s a fresh glimpse back into the world of inventing and communicating with one’s hands. Additionally, modern printing applies a surface layer of ink, as opposed to letterpress, which impresses the ink into the paper. It is always exciting to see one’s words take on a sculptural life on the page, and that excitement can have far-reaching effects. The NBLA lives to share that experience with the community.