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Studio projects Thursday January 28 2016 02:01 am

Unknown printing technique

Above: Title page to “The Frick Collection” catalog printed at Laboratory Press in 1949. The black is printed on an iron handpress.

Below: Closeup of the red.

Question: How was the red printed and why does it have that texture?

Suggestions have been that the red plate is halftoned. Question: Why would you halftone the element and not just make it a solid area? Notice that the entire area of the red has color to it and not the result of a reasonably well-printed halftone. And notice the squeeze that happens just to the right of center. Ink looks quite thin. By this time it is Bruce Rogers overseeing the catalog and it seems oddly printed for the title page.

Someone also explained that both colors could have been rolled separately and printed together, but the proof I looked at in Illinois is only the black. I know that isn’t absolute evidence they were printed separately.

Studio projects Thursday January 21 2016 10:34 am

Porter Garnet 10 commandments for craftsmen

After finding our Harrild & Sons Albion iron handpress had been part of Laboratory Press at the Carnegie Institute of Technology back in the 1920s, we recently visit the Hunt Library at Carnegie Mellon University to see some of the things printed back in the day.

Porter Garnet who initiated the fine press program at CIT wrote out these 10 commandments.

. . .

DECALOGUE FOR CRAFTSMEN
by Porter Garnet of the Laboratory Press

1    Thou shalt not imitate.
2    Thou shalt not cater.
3    Thou shalt not seek effectiveness for its own sake
4    Thou shalt not seek novelty for its own sake.
5    Thou shalt not employ expedients.
6    Thou shalt not exploit thyself nor suffer thyself to be exploited by others.
7    Thou shalt not concern thyself with the opinions of any but the sensitive and the informed.
8    Thou shalt not give to anyone the thing he wants, unless for thyself the thing that he wants is right.
9    Thou shalt not compromise with popular taste or with fashion nor with machinery nor with the desire of gain.
10    Thou shalt not be satisfied — ever.

Printed at the New Laboratory Press, College of Fine Arts, Carnegie Institute of Technology. Handset in Hunt Roman, a type designed by Hermann Zapf, 18 June 1963.

Studio projects Wednesday January 06 2016 09:00 am

Lead Graffiti workshops / January thru May 2016

Lead Graffiti announces its letterpress and bookbinding workshop schedule. Take a look. Put handmade back into your life.

We are willing to consider alterations or additions to the schedule. Just email us with your thoughts. Often workshops don’t fill, and dropping one and replace it with another, isn’t much of a problem.

We get a number of mother / daughter attendees. A workshop gift certificate also works as a birthday gift. The technical workshops allow the participant to rent the same equipment for personal projects.

Click any link to look at the details. Email us with questions.

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L E T T E R P R E S S

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Creative letterpress (meander book edition)
8 working hours + lunch, all materials included : $75 to $100
For a firsthand letterpress experience, this creative workshop is a group collaboration for students, designers, writers or others who would like a quick taste of handset type, printing & bookmaking. Requires a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 14.

  • Sunday, February 7, 9am - 6pm
  • Sunday, February 28, 9am - 6pm (Dickinson College only)
  • Saturday, March 12, 9am - 6pm (AIGA mentees only)
  • Sunday, April 24, 9am - 6pm
  • Saturday, May 21, 9am - 6pm (AIGA Feedback only)


Creative letterpress
(H.N. Werkman edition)

3 working hours + lunch, all materials included : $50
This is a rather odd letterpress experience based on the work of Dutch printer H.N. Werkman. You produce individual prints versus editions and the printing process is upside-down. This workshop can have a very playful quality and it seems to work quite well down to at least the age of 8. A good parent / child creative bonding experience. Be warned that we ask parents to leave their kids alone. Requires a minimum of 6 and a maximum of 14.

  • Sunday, February 27, 10am - 1pm
  • Saturday, April 16, 10am - 1pm
  • Saturday, May 14, 10am - 1pm


Vandercook (technical)

7 working hours + lunch, all materials included : $120
This is a technical workshop designed to teach you how to print with and maintain Vandercook proof presses. Required for Lead Graffiti press rental. Requires a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6.

  • Sunday, January 24, 10am - 6pm
  • Saturday, February 20, 10am - 6pm
  • Saturday, May 7, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, May 29, 10am - 6pm
    Samples from our portfolio: A haw haw haw haw | Wildman invite |


Metal type composition

7 working hours + lunch, all materials included : $120
Handset metal type using spacing & leading with a composing stick. Design & print a small edition of cards on a tabletop press. Requires a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6.

  • Saturday, January 30, 10am - 6pm (focus on Valentine’s cards)
  • Sunday, February 28, 10am - 6pm (focus on St. Patrick’s coasters)
  • Saturday, April 23, 10am - 6pm
    Samples from our portfolio: How type writes poetry


Chandler & Price platen (technical)

7 working hours + lunch, all materials included : $120
Learn the technical basics of printing photopolymer and handset type, diecutting & scoring on both motorized and treadle style floor-model platen presses, one of the most widely available and accessible presses. Requires a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6.

  • Saturday, February 13, 10am - 6pm


Iron Handpress (technical)

7 working hours + lunch, all materials included : $120
Describe the workshop. Requires a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6.

  • Sunday, March 27, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, May 22, 10am - 6pm


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B O O K M A K I N G

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One day, one book
7 working hours + lunch, all materials included : $120
This is bookbinding on caffeine. Get your hands on the basics from pastepaper to sewing a text block to attaching a hard cover. Take home the book you made from scratch all in a day’s work. Requires a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 6.

  • Sunday, February 6, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, March 6, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, April 10, 10am - 6pm
  • Saturday, April 30, 10am - 6pm
    Samples from our portfolio: Multifaceted Mr. Morris


Coptic stitch binding

7 working hours + lunch, all materials included : $120
Show off your handmade accomplishment with this exposed spine style producing two books with Coptic and Ethiopic binding techniques. Requires a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6.

  • Sunday, January 31, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, April 17, 10am - 6pm


Simple books

3 working hours, all materials included : $50
We still need to write this up. From a grouping of 4 book forms we will do these workshops in groups of 2 methods. Each full day will cover all 4 methods. Great for a parent and child to share together or for a younger person to learn some handskills and pride in craftsmanship. Requires a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 8.

  • Saturday, March 5, 10am - 1pm
  • Saturday, March 5, 2am - 5pm
  • Sunday, April 3, 10am - 1pm
  • Sunday, April 3, 2am - 5pm
  • Sunday, May 15, 10am - 1pm
  • Sunday, May 15, 2am - 5pm
    Samples from our portfolio: Leonard Baskin | Thunder Road | Cushman invite


Pastepaper primer

3 working hours, all materials included : $70
Use classic bookbinders wheat paste to design colorful paper for book covers and other projects. A great workshop for creating a stack of sheets for use in a variety of personal future projects. Requires a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 8.


Classic clamshell box

7 hours + lunch, all materials included : $140.
Learn to measure and cover a custom-fitted library style box. Bring a book that is about 6” x 9” x 1” that you would like to protect with a box and let’s protect it. Requires a minimum of 2 and a maximum of 6.

Studio projects Sunday December 27 2015 10:49 pm

Top 10 Lead Graffiti moments of 2015

These are the top 10 events relating to Lead Graffiti & letterpress that happened during 2015 in chronological order.

Not a single event, but we had 155 workshop participants this year, bringing our total to 1,184. New groups included Art Conservation at the University of Delaware, Arcadia University, and James Mason University (where we also did a talk).

. . . O N E : March & April

First 2 books of our personal story series, “Moments Carved in Paper,” were published. The Librarian Made Us Do It (Ray’s “moment of clarity” for letterpress) and eifleS!, the original idea for the series with Ray’s 2 favorite stories about his parents that started us on the project.

. . . T W O : April

We participated in the Manhattan Book Fair through the Fine Press Book Association. We were hoping to do enough business to pay for the booth, the drive up, a nice hotel room, and an intimate Italian dinner. Dinner ended up being Dopo East. We did 4 times that well. It is great fun telling our stories to anyone that would stop for a moment and look. We will also be doing the fair in April 2016. We may try to do the same hotel and restaurant.

. . . T H R E E : May

Jill took two long-desired, leather binding workshops from Don Rash. She ended up with 3 nice books. Don was the bookbinder that did the 12 leather-covered versions of our Histories of Newark: 1758 - 2008 back in 2007. He did an amazing job embedding a coin minted in 1758 with the head of King George II (he signed the charter for the city) so that you could see both sides of the coin. Don does really amazing work German style.

. . . F O U R : June

We were invited to exhibit 35 Tour de Lead Graffiti posters from 2011 - 2014 at the AIGA / SPACE Gallery in Philadelphia. Met some great new friends and, from the opening, pulled 7 great new collaborators in for stages in our Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015.

. . . F I V E : July

Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015 - our 5th edition of our 23 posters in 23 days while following the Tour de France. We had 35 collaborators spread over 21 of the 23 days who shared the Tour, the letterpress, and the dessert experience with us. Ray’s total time over the 23 days was 383 hours 28 minutes. There were 92 runs averaging 4 per poster, but some of them were doozies. “Endurance letterpress” at its most fun.

. . . S I X : July & August

We were invited to be the inaugural exhibition at the new gallery of the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in their new space. The 2-month exhibition included 48 of our Tour de Lead Graffiti posters from 2011 thru 2014. Special thanks to Jim Moran, director of the museum, for the invitation. I’m pretty sure Lead Graffiti got some new followers from the event.

. . . S E V E N : August

After watching it flounder along, Ray added some much needed energy into the VC/UD - Then & Now Facebook group for former students from the Graphic and Advertising Group and the Visual Communications Group, 1968 to the present. Not exactly letterpress, but an important part of Ray’s life, and we’ll sneak some letterpress in every so often.

. . . E I G H T : October

The national conference of the American Printing History Association, which both Ray & Jill attended, was focused on printing on the iron handpress. The conference injected some energy into our efforts to get our 2 iron handpresses finished. We bought one in 2007 and one in 2008, and had to have missing parts fabricated and things like bent bolts straightened or replaced. At the conference we experienced a new letterpress workshop based on the work of H.N. Werkmen (shorter time frame, for a good number of people, and loads of colorful, typographic fun). We used the workshop for our first VC homecoming reunion in November, which we’ve been wanting to do for a while. Everyone’s kids loved it and so did the adults. This also provoked a nice iron handpress workshop run by printer Steve Heaver from Baltimore. Also, see entry T E N.

. . . N I N E : October

From Crooked Crow Press, Rockville, Maryland, and on extended loan, we received a full 36-line Gutenberg Bible page composed of a reissue of Gutenberg D-K metal type cast by Mike Anderson. Additionally there are 2 job cases of the recast Gutenberg D-K type that we can use to set new pieces. We are hoping to start a new series of workshops on our iron handpresses with the type.

. . . T E N : December

In the process of renovating our Harrild & Sons Albion, bought from the Museum of Printing in North Andover, Massachusetts, we’ve discovered it has a significant provenance as part of the first fine press program at a major U.S. university, Carnegie Institute of Technology, back in the 1920s. One of a pair, it was purchased to print a significant 12-volume catalog for The Frick Collection.

Things still seem to be happening that are very exciting to us.

Studio projects Monday December 21 2015 03:24 pm

16″ handrolled, framed, letterpress monograms

We think this is a pretty nice idea that we got much to close to the time for holiday gift giving.

We’ve been wanting some big letters in Lead Graffiti, so we’ve been making 16-inch, linocut letters in the typeface Onyx and printing them as monograms.

The letters have been handrolled in black (Ray) and silver (Jill) with a bit of vigor, with some areas left open that blind deboss. They are printed on the same 300 gsm Somerset White Textured paper we use for our Tour de Lead Graffiti posters (our favorite and most used paper for our personal projects). The image above shows 8 letters in the 9.75″ x 20.5″ black frame version (also comes in white).

Offered on our Etsy site with the following description.

This lively, handrolled initial is ideal for injecting a bit of personalized energy into any gift-giving occasion.

Large scale, 16″ monogram printed slowly & patiently via letterpress. Prints are individually handrolled at our Lead Graffiti studio in black & silver ink on thick, acid-free, heavily textured paper.

Due to the handcrafted nature of these prints, there are slight variations between letters. The photograph is a general guide as to how your letterpress print will look.

Available in your choice of black or white wood frame with glass. Not available unframed.Outer frame dimensions are 9.75″ wide x 20.5″ tall x 1.375″ deep. Great one-size-fits-all gift for birthdays, weddings, children’s room, bedroom, mantle, office wall, etc.

$45 framed + shipping.

I’m not sure we can get them there before Christmas just in case you are as behind as we are.

So far we have 14 letters (A, B, C, E, G, H, J, L, N, P, R, S, T, Z) and an ampersand. We’ll keep grinding away at the rest of the letters. Next ones to print include K, M, W (wider than the others), D, Q, U, X, & ?.

Studio projects Friday December 04 2015 07:43 am

Drawing with caulk : printing via letterpress

I’ve always liked techniques that have some lack-of-control built into them.

I had been thinking for a while about alternative ways to do large scale drawings without having to resort to large plates, wood cuts, etc. In our Tour de Lead Graffiti posters we’ve often printed from bicycle chains so I was thinking about ways you could get a line drawing that was cheap and pretty easy to do. I suspect the better you can draw the more you might be able to use this technique.

I tried the first test (shown below) about a year ago. I needed our 4th piece for this year’s requirements for APA (Amalgamated Printers Association), so I printed it up with a description of the process.

The image below shows the caulk drawing (about 5″ wide) on the left and the resulting print on the right.

Over the year the caulk had dried a bit and perhaps has been beat up, being moved around a couple dozen times. You can see on the left that part of the caulk at the top has broken away. The print on the right shows it with about half of it broken away. I don’t think this would have happened if I had printed it fairly soon after doing the drawing.

Materials: tube of caulk (different caulks may produce different results), caulk gun, 0.75″ plywood base (MDF would work also), pane of 0.25″ plate glass (the bigger your image the more important that thickness is), WD40, & 4 pieces of large, new metal type

The Process: The metal type, places at the corners of the plywood base, acts as “glass bearers” to flatten the caulk to 0.918″. the trick is to balance the thickness of packing under the base and the bead thickness of the caulk (most often pretty difficult to control) to achieve the desired line width. We sprayed some WD40 on the glass as a release agent. Let the caulk dry completely before separating from the glass.

You can see from the print that the caulk tends to sage a bit in the middle of a line. I think it actually provides more dimension to the line. Right after I had done the original the caulk was dried, but softer. At this point a year later it was really had an I think I got more texture in the centers of the lines now than I did back within a day or two of laying the caulk down.

Worth noting that unless you use the right caulk that will literally never get hard (like bathroom caulk) I don’t think these drawings would last a while. I don’t remember the kind of caulk I used with this test. It was probably something that was just laying around.

Studio projects Friday November 27 2015 11:54 am

Setting up our Harrild & Sons Albion

Looking for advice setting up an Albion: | Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3: reconstruction order | Part 4: naming the Albion pieces

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We’ve been doing some work on our Harrild & Sons Albion. We’ve been trying to explain the problems we are having and trying to get suggestions for correcting them from other handpress owners. If you would like to see the process you can take a look.

An interesting new development is that we think 2 photos from Richard-Gabriel Rummonds’ book Printing on the Iron Handpress” are of our press and/or its brother.

We originally bought ours from the Museum of Printing in North Andover, MA back in 2008. There were two identical presses. The serial number of ours is 8112. As best I can tell from the one photo that shows it on the other one ended in “113″ (cannot read the 8).

Here are the two photos.

Above: This one shows the press feet/legs to the cheeks so we have a much better idea that the photo matches our press. The caption in Rummonds’ book reads…

Photo 13: Pressmen printing The Catalogue of the Frick Collection on two Albion presses back to back. Laboratory Press, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, PA, 1949. (Photo courtesy of Cary Graphic Arts Collection, RIT.)

Above: Photo 14: Pressmen printing The Catalogue of the Frick Collection on a Harrild Albion Press. Laboratory Press, Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, PA, 1949. (Reprinted, by permission, from American Printer, March 1950.)

Paul Ritscher of Devil’s Tail Press, through the iron handpress listserv where we’ve been getting the advice for our Albion setup, offered this bit of information about the presses.

“In a glance at Porter Garnett: Philosophical Writings on the Ideal Book, Book Club of California 1994 (a book that should be in every hand-press library), Porter Garnett describes the purchase of the two presses specifically for the purpose of printing the Catalogue of the Frick Collection for the Museum of Modern Art, a project begun in 1928, and not completed until after he left Carnegie in 1935 by Bruce Rogers.”

After bit of online searching we found that the University of Delaware (just down the street) has a copy of the catalog of the Frick Collection. The colophon from volume 1, “The printing … was begun in 1929 by Porter Garnett who designed the basic format of the text, and who printed the sheets through page 168 … The work was laid aside in 1932. Printing was begun again in the spring of 1949 under the direction of Bruce Rogers, who designed the two volumes of illustrations, and the title page, section headings, and accessory pages for the volume of text. The sheets of text were completed on the hand-presses of the University of Pittsburgh … One hundred and seventy-five sets have been made”–Colophon of v. 1.

The story just keeps getting better.”

Information on PORTER GARNETT who may have been the first purchaser of our press (until we know better we are going to start giving the date of construction of our press as the 1920s)

Variously a playwright, critic, editor, librarian, teacher, and printer, Porter Garnett (1871-1951) was born in San Francisco and was for many years an active figure in the Bay Area literary scene. A member of the Bohemian Club for many years beginning in the 1890s, he wrote and produced plays and masques for the Club, whose members included his good friends Jack London and George Sterling. Like many members of the Club, he was involved in journalism, working as a newspaper critic and editor. With Gelett Burgess, he founded the magazine The Lark in 1895. From 1907 to 1912, he served as an assistant curator at the Bancroft Library at the University of California at Berkeley. In 1922, he became professor of graphic arts at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There, he founded the Laboratory Press, where he taught and practiced fine printing until the press closed in 1935.

Studio projects Friday November 13 2015 04:23 pm

The Society of Typographic Arts / keynote address

Jill and I have been invited by The Society of Typographic Arts in Chicago to deliver the keynote address at their 23rd annual Design Inspiration Weekend, entitled “Dearly Discarded,” a retreat and forum on design. Our talk will be on Friday, January 12, 2016. We’ve been asked to talk about our Tour de Lead Graffiti project. Sounds like a fun weekend.

We think we are going to be able to do 2 workshops on Thursday. One will involved our recent interest in the work of H.N. Werkman and the other would be a bookmaking workshop. Hopefully one in the morning and one in the afternoon will work into the schedule.

Worth noting to any of our Chicago friends that the talk is not open to the public.

Studio projects Tuesday November 10 2015 01:33 pm

Letterpress workshop based on the work of H.N. Werkman

At the 2015 national conference of the American Printing History Association, Ray took part in a design-on-the-fly letterpress workshop at the Rochester Arts Center. The hands-on activity was centered around the pre-WWII work of H.N. Werkman.

The conference workshop suggested some interesting possibilities, so we’ve started working on our own Lead Graffiti version. You can read the description of our two Werkman workshop events and see photos of the final results. One of the nice things is that it seems to work well with children, at least down to the age of 8. Could be a great experience for mothers/daughters or fathers/sons.

View the descriptions and photos below. Email Ray if you’d like to join in a future Werkman workshop.

Studio projects Tuesday November 10 2015 12:54 pm

Recast D-K type for the 36-line Bible ready for handsetting at Lead Graffiti

A number of years ago, a letterpress and typography friend, Mike Anderson, was researching the typographic history of the Bible. Mike had the casting equipment and know-how to produce his own metal type for printing via letterpress. Working from the 36-line Bamberg Bible, he produced what I believe is a full character set of approximately 250 characters.

Gutenberg type from 36-line Bamberg Bible

Another good friend, Chris Manson, has come into possession of all of the Bamberg Bible type Mike cast. It includes a full-page lock-up of a page of the 36-line Bible, plus 2 full California job cases of additional characters. Chris has placed the type on indefinite loan to Lead Graffiti. We are keeping the lock-up intact, but plan on trying to do some composing with the extra type.

We are developing a workshop utilizing the type that would interest librarians, historians, writers, designers, and typographers. A somewhat major problem is the vast number of characters, many with subtle differences in design and spacing and then distributing them back into the job cases. Keeping the sorts organized is both difficult and a critical must.

. . .

The Bamberg Bible is the second printed Bible and it was created with what was probably the earliest moveable type produced by Johann Gutenberg. Larger and somewhat cruder than the type used in the more famous 42-line Bible of c. 1455, this type was first used to print a Latin grammar book, called a “Donatus” (c. 1452-1453), and a pamphlet called the “Turken Kalendar” (c. 1455). This Bamberg Bible type is known as the “D-K” or “36-line Bible” type.

This was possibly the only type left in Gutenberg’s possession after the lawsuit by his business partner, Johann Fust, in 1455, and it is not known if he sold the type to another printer, who then went on to produce the 36-line Bible, or if he was involved in the printing of that work himself.

To get more of the story and a really nice photo of the type, please click here.

Studio projects & Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015 Tuesday September 22 2015 10:00 am

Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015: The family portrait

There is the lag time from the end of the Tour de France each year to the moment we have the “clamshell” family portrait photo that represents the edition.

While we believe we feel good, both physically and mentally, when doing the posters for the final stages, when that daily ritual has ended, our desire to work pretty much evaporates. After 23 days (and a good deal of work right before those days actually start) the 17 hour days and the regimen seem to be come part of our DNA. I suspect there has to be some similarity to what the riders feel and we love the idea of sharing that feeling to some degree. Our constantly evolving peloton of collaborators, technical strategy adjustments, crashes (we don’t get the road rash or broken bones, though), feeding stations, and the shared responsibilities of domestiques makes this annual project the greatest project we’ve ever done.

Trying to figure out a plan for the pastepaper we’ll use on the clamshell box is always difficult. We want it to look different, unlike other pastepapers we’ve seen, and somehow visually connected to the Tour and our poster journal.

The first thing we always do once we have this image to represent the edition is to have our postcard sets printed. These are printed offset and we typically get 1,000 made. We love giving them out at talks, to students who visit and/or take workshops, and generally have them for keepsakes to share with people interested in Lead Graffiti or letterpress.

Settling on the final posters to highlight in the photo is also very difficult and there are usually a dozen who are in play for their story, color, technique, experimental nature, just plain different…

Below are links to those 4 posters (clockwise starting at 9:00) and our blog entry about the pastepaper.

          Cummings : Pinot : Bardet / Rolland : Vuillermoz : pastepaper

Studio projects Tuesday September 15 2015 12:58 pm

APHA / Chesapeake Chapter 2016 calendar

Jill and I are participating in a collaborative 2016 calendar project for the Chesapeake Chapter of the American Printing History Association and I thought a black & white photo would work nicely to show the production of my July effort.

Working on the Stage 4 and Rest Day #1 posters for Tour de Lead Graffiti this summer we had experimented with disengaging the crescent which drives the vibrator roller causing it to move left and right, replenish and evening out the ink across the form rollers. With the vibrator roller in a single position the ink stays put as you can see in the image below.

The 7″ x 11″ sheet is fed from the left side.

Here are a few additional photo of the process.

Above: Removing the crescent. There is also a lock screw hidden in the shadow in the side of the vibrator that needs to be loosened with a hex wrench.

Above: Jill laying out the colors. We cut thin strips of bookboard to apply the ink.

Above: We made a jig so we could easily replenish any colors that needed it.

Above: Just after engaging the rollers.

Above. This is just after we had moved the vibrator left and right about 1/8″ a couple of times just to spread the thick center blob of ink a bit and to allow the colors to touch each other.

It took about 4 hours to set everything up and print the 100 sheets for the calendar.

Studio projects Monday August 10 2015 07:34 am

The 2015 TdLG clamshell box pastepaper

As the final part of our Tour de Lead Graffiti project, we collect the following into a clamshell box portfolio.

  • the 23 daily posters paralleling the 21 stages and 2 rest days of the 2015 Tour de France
  • a composite print of all 92 runs of those posters
  • 3 additional posters, along with postcards trimmed from makeready sheets, and
  • a printed set of 7 postcards with the images of each daily poster with descriptions of the events and how they influenced the poster design

This year, like last year, it is a double-walled clamshell box wrapped with pastepaper specially produced for the occasion.

We are prepared to produce 26 of the clamshell boxes. We haven’t sold out a set of any edition at this point, but are hoping to promote all 5 as a special deal to libraries and interested collectors.

For 2015 the idea for this year’s pastepaper to cover the clamshell box came from a piece done by Ray in one of our pastepaper play sessions. The image to the left shows what the pastepaper area of the front of one of the clamshell boxes will look like.

The visual idea of the pastepaper is the helicopter view we would often see of the colorful jerseys in the peloton. To try to maintain some continuity to the look and feel of the pastepaper sheets, Ray applied the acrylic-colored paste and Jill pulled the squeegee in the vibrating motion across the paper. We spent 1 day experimenting with the process, allowing us to use all of the colors, and avoiding the fairly constant problem with the acrylic paint-colored paste staining the paper and then showing after we’ve drawn the squeege across the sheet to product the pattern. We wanted the squeegee to take us back to white paper.

The image below shows the experimental piece that led us to the idea we used. You can see the staining that occurred in the areas where the squeegee essentially had removed all of the paste.

Studio projects Thursday July 30 2015 04:15 am

Hamilton Wood Type Museum Exhibition / July - August 2015

A selection of our Tour de Lead Graffiti 2011 - 2014 posters are in the new gallery space at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in Two Rivers, Wisconsin. We watch the daily broadcast of the Tour de France and then translate those events into a poster designed and printed the same day. Using handset wood & metal type & other objects, we print the old fashioned way via letterpress to create 23 posters in 23 days. We call it “endurance letterpress.”

We were very pleased and excited to display such a large quantity of our project and we thank museum director Jim Moran, for offering this honor to Lead Graffiti.

The new gallery has a 50′ wall which is perfect for hanging 42 posters very close together. You’ll see below that the exhibit looks kind of like a high-speed peloton on a long, flat stage across central France. Adding a special touch to the display, the museum included a nice 40-year-old racing bike to hang with the work.

Jill and I traveled to the Hamilton Wood Type Museum 10 years ago or so. They’ve since moved into a new space which we hope to get out and see. The museum represents a major component in the history of printing & typography and it is great that there is some serious effort at preserving it.

For this show, we built a new set of frames designed specifically to hold the tour posters, and painted them a  warm grey. The 14.5″ x 22.5″ posters are printed on Somerset Textured White 300 gsm paper, which is lush and sexy. The frame shown below is the wooden version which we have hanging in our studio. The frame slightly curves the poster which helps keep it locked in and also creates a slight change in angle which helps show the impression we get from letterpress. The posters are works on paper and we like them to feel like it.

All of the work (except for the date / stage / signature block in the lower left corner) is printed from handset wood and metal type. Many of the runs (Majka wink wink! above) are handrolled directly on the type to produce a more painterly quality.

Here are some photos from the exhibition taken by Lead Graffiti friend, photographer and letterpress lover, Lauren Rutten. A special thanks to Lauren for letting us share her photos.

Lauren Rutten with the opening panel of the exhibition.

A grouping of some of our favorite colorful posters from 2014. The labels explain how the events in the stage helped form the visuals for each poster.

Another group of favorite posters from 2013.

Yep, that’s the way Ray Nichols would suggest hanging the posters—a long line running at high speed. Looks like the museum did a great job of getting them straight, drafting one another just like a real peloton.

Another gallery view from a little less acute angle.

A closer look at the opening panel with our Lead Graffiti logo.

Studio projects & Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015 Tuesday June 30 2015 09:59 am

Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015 stage schedule

All dates are now spoken for. If you are interested in being put on a waiting list, send Ray an email.

Stage 1, Saturday, July 4th - Utrecht > Utrecht | 14 km (individual time trial)
. . . collaborator: Rebecca Johnson Melvin | manuscript librarian | ‘11, ‘12, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14

Stage 2, Sunday, July 5th - Utrecht > Zélande | 166 km
. . . collaborator: Kati Sowiak | graphic designer
. . . collaborator: Laura Jacoby | graphic designer

Stage 3, Monday, July 6th - Anvers > Huy | 154 km (4, 4, 4, 3)
. . . collaborator: Steve Harding | woodworker & cyclist

Stage 4, Tuesday, July 7th - Seraing > Cambrai | 221 km (cobblestones, 4)
. . . collaborator: Mark Deshon | graphic designer | ‘13, ‘14

Stage 5, Wednesday, July 8th - Arras > Amiens Métropole | 189 km

. . . collaborator: Don Starr / designer, educator, store owner | ‘14
. . . collaborator: Mel Parada | graduate student, designer

Stage 6, Thursday, July 9th - Abbeville > Le Havre | 191 km (4, 4, 4)
. . . collaborator: Lauren Emeritz | letterpress printer, designer | ‘14

Stage 7, Friday, July 10th - Livarot > Fougères | 190 km (4)
. . . collaborator: Robert Ivone | teacher
. . . collaborator: Melissa Ivone | designer

Stage 8, Saturday, July 11th - Rennes > Mûr de Bretagne | 179 km (4, 3)
. . . collaborator: Bonnie Feliciano
. . . collaborator: Meryl Arnold | Graphic designer, letterpres printer
. . . collaborator: Tim (the boyfriend)

Stage 9, Sunday, July 12th - Vannes > Plumelec | 28 km (team time trial)
. . . A kind of weird day to watch. Each team rides as one.
. . . collaborator: Carol Mauer | ‘12
. . . collaborator: Kelly Mauer

Rest day #1, Monday, July 13th - Pau
. . . collaborator: Diane Zatz | educator | ‘11, ‘12, ‘14
. . . collaborator: Belinda Haites | graphic designer | ‘14

Stage 10, Tuesday, July 14th - Tarbes > La Pierre-Saint-Martin / 167 km (4, 4, 4, HC) | mountain top finish
. . . collaborator: Bill Roberts | letterpress printer | ‘11, ‘11, ‘11, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14

Stage 11, Wednesday, July 15th - Pau > Cauterets - Vallée de Saint-Savin | 188 km (3, 4, 3, 1 HC, 3) | mountain top finish
. . . collaborator: Jessica Koman | graphic designer | ‘13, ‘14

Stage 12, Thursday, July 16th - Lannemezan > Plateau de Beille | 195 km (2, 1, 1, HC) | mountain top finish
. . . collaborator: Nick Prestileo | graphic designer
. . . collaborator: Ed McCann | user experience designer
. . . collaborator: Steve DeCusatis | graphic designer

Stage 13,  Friday, July 17th - Muret > Rodez | 200 km (3, 4, 4)
. . . collaborator: Glenn Stevens | art director

Stage 14, Saturday, July 18th - Rodez > Mende | 178 km (4, 2, 4, 2)
. . . collaborator: Joel Ouellette | graphic designer | ‘14

Stage 15, Sunday, July 19th - Mende > Valence | 182 km (3, 4, 4, 2)
. . . collaborator: Rachel Strickland | cyclist | ‘14

Stage 16, Monday, July 20th - Bourg-de-Péage > Gap | 201 km  (2, 2)
. . . collaborator: Aaron Capp
| display designer

Rest day #2, Tuesday, July 21st - Gap

. . . collaborators: Lindsay Schmittle | letterpress printer | ‘12, ‘13, ‘14
. . . collaborator: Rachel Davis | U of DE design student

Stage 17, Wednesday, July 22nd - Digne-les-Bains > Pra-Loup / 161 km (3, 3, 2, 1, 2)|  mountain top finish

Stage 18, Thursday, July 23rd - Gap > Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne / 185 km (2, 3, 3, 3, 2, HC, 2) | mountains
. . . collaborator: David Copestakes | Professor of Graphic Design | Arcadia University
. . . collaborator: Tiffany Zysk | graphic designer

Stage 19, Friday, July 24th - Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne > La Toussuire - Les Sybelles | 138 km (1, HC, 2, 1) / mountain top finish
. . . collaborator: Kieran Francke | letterpress kid | ‘11, ‘12, ‘13, ‘14
. . . collaborator: Hendrik-Jan Francke | dad of letterpress kid & web designer | ‘13, ‘14

Stage 20, Saturday, July 25th - Modane Valfréjus > Alpe-d’Huez / 110 km (1, HC, HC)|  mountain top finish

Stage 21, Sunday, July 26th - Sèvres - Grand Paris Seine Ouest > Paris Champs-Élysées | 107 km
. . . collaborator: Ann Lemon | art director, designer | ‘13, ‘14

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