Below is the result of our afternoon’s diversion for the 449th birthday of Shakespeare with a nod to the events of the Boston Marathon. It ended up taking 9 hours including a Taco Bell run.

We will add a closeup of Shakespeare’s name, which to us looked really fabulous. We were experimenting with printing ink on paper and then offsetting it back to the type and printing it.

The poster is 14.5″ x 22.5″, printed on Somerset 250 gsm and 300 gsm, in 10 runs through our Vandercook Universal III.

The number of runs required had a lot to do with not having enough characters in some typefaces. The large type at the top is Bradley (wood type) and Caslon Italic (metal type). The Bradleyh was our first shot a couple of years ago at making wood type and the first time we’ve used it where it was dominant. We could only find 1 “O” so we had to print the main quote over three runs. “All’s Well that Ends Well” is printed in 54 point Satanik and we only had four “L”s so that took two runs. The colophon was cast in 12 point Palatino on our Intertype C4 with a dingbat from our collection.

“Shakespeare” was the star of the day. We’ve been bouncing around in our heads about the possibility of printing and then using the printing as a plate, so we tried it. Shakespeare was printed using our 12 line Clarendon on a very hard, smooth stock with very little pressure using our handrolling “typeart’ technique. This was done twice, once with the grey and once with the red-orange. Then we repositioned the wood type and used the just-printed sheets to ink the type. Then the type was printed onto the Somerset stock. So to get “Shakespeare” took 4 runs. You cannot tell much from the poster image as the scanner just doesn’t show the impression of the type. Look below the poster for a better image of how that type looked.

The offset in the position of the type originally and then after provided that area of blind debossing which we suspect would confuse anyone fairly well versed in letterpress technique.

The colophon reads “An afternoon’s diversion by Ray Nichols, Jill Cypher, Tray Nichols, and Bill Roberts remembering and considering the lives of those disrupted by misguided beliefs and the deeds that follow them. Printed slowly & patiently via letterpress at Lead Graffiti, Newark, Delaware, April 23, 2013 on the 449th anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth.”

. . .

Below is the offer we made just in case anyone wanted to join in.

We don’t know the exact date of his birth, but William Shakespeare was baptized on 26 April, 1564. Usually you subtract 3 days from the baptism date, so we generally celebrate his birthday as 23 April. He also died on 23 April in 1616. The same date.

Hmmm. Next year will likely be his 450th birthday. Should start planning on something special. Maybe approach the Folger Library with a project. Might be a good place to send this poster when we get it finished.

Anyway, to celebrate a bit of Shakespeare today, we are doing a “Lead Graffiti Afternoon Diversion” based somehow on Shakespeare which gives us a good excuse to put some ink to paper as we have nothing else critical or binding to do at the moment.

Are you one of the people who has been saying they want to do a bit of letterpress? You a student with too much to do? Perfect. Cut class and come join in. Don’t email and say you are doing it. Don’t call and say you are doing it. Just come and do it. Starting at 1pm in our studio after a nice, quiet lunch. If you want to come for lunch (you’ll need to pay your own way), you can meet at the studio at 11:30. We will be eating at the Glass Kitchen on Route 40.

Sometime between now and tomorrow around 11am we’ll figure a topic. Maybe a sonnet. Maybe a quote. Maybe celebrate the lives that have been disrupted by the Boston event. Currently thinking about “Love all, trust a few, do wrong to none.” from All’s Well That Ends Well, Act 1 Scene 1. I’ve got what might be an interesting way to do his name which would be a good visual way of reflecting on Boston using our typeart technique that would use both of our Vandercooks and requiring three passes for the final print.

So, 1pm if you are interested. Not sure how long it will take. 5 hours or so at least. You’ll get 2 copies.