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Monthly ArchiveFebruary 2011



workshops Sunday February 27 2011 01:11 pm

“Raining quotes” with the .918 Club

This was our second Creative Letterpress workshop in a week. This time it was with ten members of the .918 Club of Lancaster, PA. They operate a working letterpress museum at The Heritage Center Museum in Lancaster. We’ve volunteered a number of times, but lately have slacked off due to workload and Kalmar Nyckel obligations. To help pay them back we offered them one of our book workshops using letterpress.

This 16″ x 20″ piece is folded in quarters and torn along the folds to create an accordion-fold, caterpillar book. Here are their pages based on quotes related to printing.

In the printed piece every other row swaps top and bottom. We put everything in the same direction to make it easier to read.

We printed a few extras that maybe they can sell at their museum shop. It is a great example of letterpress.

Now to do some distributing of type.

workshops Monday February 21 2011 12:57 pm

“New Out / Old In” with the Art Institute of Philadelphia

Every design student in the country needs to do this letterpress workshop. They will forever feel the relationship between type and type size, understand what the word leading means, and should have their attention to detail nudged in the right direction. It isn’t bad that at the end of the day they walk out with a pretty impressive portfolio piece that gives them a good talking point at interviews.

This was an impressive effort by a group of second and third year typography students with Professor Diane Zatz at the Art Institute of Philadelphia on February 20th. We thought everyone did a great job of controlling the chaos of walking into our studio with 600 cases of wood & metal type, thousands of dingbats, learning about leading and spacing materials, composing sticks, California Job Cases and then pull this off in essentially 10 hours.

We’ve always wanted to count all of the pieces that go into making up one of these. So, wood & metal type, spacing, and leading totaled 1,422 pieces. This 16″ x 20″ piece is folded in quarters and torn along the folds to create an accordion-fold, caterpillar book. Here are their pages based on quotes related to creativity.

In the actual printed piece every other row is rotated 180 degrees We thought it would be better to let you read it so we’ve put all the bottoms at the bottom.

This is how the lockup looked.

Studio projects Saturday February 05 2011 12:36 pm

APHA National Annual Meeting program

Maybe as a joke on the new guy, Mike Denker volunteered Ray (the new president of the Chesapeake Chapter of the American Printing History Association) to print the program for APHA’s annual meeting held in January 2011 in New York City.

There are always ideas floating around Lead Graffiti that would be interesting to try and a project such as this provides a great forum for giving them a try. We wanted to do something different (we think our ideas of how we can use letterpress are often different from the normal letterpress you see around) for this particular group who are committed to the history of printing, so we designed the piece to include two of those ideas.

The first came to mind with our Boxcards. We print their backgrounds in opaque silver ink on packaged-goods boxes to let the printing on the package show through as the type. We though it might be interesting to handroll the paper beforehand and then overprint the silver to essentially trap the type the same way.

Above you can see a sample of Jill’s handrolling using three 3-inch brayers. We decided we needed to seal off the paper under the silver to try and keep the edges of the handrolled areas from showing, so this image is after we had printed two runs of transparent white. Because we had just done the handrolling and the ink was wet the color was coming off and contaminating the transparent white giving it that orange cast. This didn’t matter as we were going to be immediately overprinting with the opaque silver anyway. If you look hard you can see a hint of the type to come.

Below is the outcome after double printing the silver. In case you are wondering, Jill wanted to have some white show through in the type. When she was handrolling and completely covered the type area she thought the color looked too mechanical and she wanted there to be a sense of the handmade which we like in our work.

The second thing we wanted to try was printing right to the edge of the deckle-edged paper. That took a little extra packing as the very edge of the deckle is much thinner than the paper itself. We also had to use a sheet under every print as the ink printed off the edge and would print onto the tympan which would likely offset onto the back of the following print. This part worked great and added a nice touch to the piece as the edge had a nice knife-like quality and was quite stiff with the two layers of ink.

When we stacked the programs to be picked up by those attending the meeting, we put them in four separate stacks so everyone would see that the pieces were different. When we were thanked for our effort at the meeting they even asked for an explanation as to how it was printed. Several people confided in us that they had taken a couple extra for library collections or to show students. Hmmm. We like it.

You might compare it to this sample of handrolling for Columbia University that was finished the same week.

Studio projects Saturday February 05 2011 12:28 pm

Columbia University spring lecture series poster

We had the chance to produce the spring poster for a semester-long lecture series for Columbia University which we think came out quite well. Our friends at Columbia says “They make people smile.” We like that a lot.

The posters are 15″ x 22″ and were printed on Crane Lettra.

The area under the dates was handrolled before printing the type. The names were handrolled in three colors as a separate run. All of the type was printed from a photopolymer plate.

Click here to see the fall 2010 poster.