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Monthly ArchiveJanuary 2014

Studio projects Friday January 31 2014 01:22 pm

Jill has started an Etsy site

Jill has started an Etsy site. The plan is to make things for which she is the main producer available there that are not available on our Lead Graffiti online store. To start she will have Lead Graffiti paste papers, picture frames covered with paste papers and handmade books. All things she can spend the better part of a day doing.

Link to the main Lead Graffiti Etsy site.

Link to paste papers.

Link to picture frames.

workshops Wednesday January 22 2014 12:01 pm

Lead Graffiti letterpress & bookmaking workshops

January - June 2014

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

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

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Creative letterpress (OPEN registration)
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.

  • . . . Sunday, January 12, 9am - 6pm
  • . . . Sunday, February 16, 9am - 6pm
  • Saturday, March 22, 9am - 6pm (restricted enrollment)
  • Sunday, April 5, 9am - 6pm (new workshop)
  • Sunday, April 27, 9am - 6pm
  • Sunday, June 1, 9am - 6pm

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.

  • . . . Sunday, January 19, 10am - 6pm
  • . . . Sunday, February 23, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, March 30, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, May 4, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, June 8, 10m - 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.

  • . . . Saturday, February 1, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, April 13, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, June 22, 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.

  • Sunday, March 9, 10am - 6pm
  • Sunday, May 18, 10am - 6pm

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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.

  • . . . Saturday, January 18, 10am - 6pm
  • . . . Saturday, February 22, 10am - 6pm
  • Saturday, March 29, 10am - 6pm
  • Saturday, May 10, 10am - 6pm
  • Saturday, June 14, 10am - 6pm

Coptic stitch binding (2 evenings)

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.

  • . . . Tuesday, January 7 - 8, 6pm - 9pm
  • Tuesday, May 13 - 14, 6pm - 9pm

Pamphlet-stitched books (2 evenings)

6 working hours, all materials included : $100
Two consecutive evenings from 6 - 9pm working with simple pamphlet stitching. Great for a parent and child to share together or for a younger person to learn some handskills and pride in craftsmanship

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.

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.

Studio projects Saturday January 18 2014 08:42 am

Afternoon diversion / Edgar Allan Poe’s 165th birthday / January 19th

Edgar Allan Poe birthday 'Nevermore'






Back when Ray was working with Raven Press at the University of Delaware, we produced a small book of Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven in 2004 and a broadside of his poem El Dorado in 2006. We would give about 200 copies to the Deer Park Tavern who would distribute them to all that ate there on January 19th, Poe’s birthday. We liked that printing via letterpress gave us the ability to produce something in multiples that had a keepsake value.

Meredith Langer emailed us about doing an ‘afternoon’s diversion’ on the 17th it seemed appropriate to do it for Poe. Meredith had taken one of our Creative Letterpress workshops the previous weekend and we offer these ‘afternoon diversions’ to workshop participants to help us on Lead Graffiti personal projects and to give them a bit more information about printing via letterpress.

Ray had been wanting to try something he remembered seeing by letterpress printer Alan Kitching for a wine label. Ray couldn’t find the image and in the end misremembered what it actually looked like. Fortunately, we couldn’t find the image before we started whih was all the better as we were forced to experiment more.

The idea for the diversion was to produce the word ‘nevermore’ in 6 runs, each progressively darker, while hiding, but not destroying the readability of the word. The other letters were constantly being printed to completely fill the area under the word ‘more.’

Here is Kitching’s wonderful work for Matallana that we finally found, fortunately after the diversion.

One problem we need to solve is how to register accurately when the gripper edge is the deckled edge of the paper. We think we could put down a couple pieces of removable Scotch tape to protect the soft surface of the Somerset Textured White 300 gsm stock we were using. Then tape a new leading edge of some kind of other paper with a cut edge to that removable tape to fit in the grippers. May run out to the studio today and give it a try. It caused a bit of jiggle, which Meredith quite liked, to the 6 layers of ink.

One more point, it was nice to bring the poster home and have Jill look at it for about 5 seconds and say, “I like the backwards E.” The second E was lost in the overlaping letters. What started as a mistake, ended up being a nice bit of typographic play.

We’ll run out to State Line Liquors today to see if they have the wine for our letterpress label collection. We currently have two done by Hatch Show Print. We would love to do a wine label (or a dozen), so if you are reading this and own a vineyard or know someone who does, get in touch with us.

workshops Sunday January 12 2014 06:00 am

Creative Letterpress workshop / January 12, 2014

This is the 2nd color lockup and complete broadside from a Lead Graffiti Creative Letterpress workshop workshop that had quite a nice outcome. A really fun group with lots of questions and we love lots of questions.

Every other row of pages in the printed image on the right has been rotated to make the pages easier to read. The lockup shows the second color (greenish brown). In this instance the number of people at the workshop allowed everyone to work on a spread. With more people they might be limited to a single page.

Participants got to cast their names for the colophon using our Intertype C4, which is usually a pretty thrilling surprise to see working.

Click the image to see it double sized.

Starting upper left on the broadside

  • Cover (not shown): Four Onces +2
  • Title page: The Stories Always Start
  • Spread 1: Once upon a time I wrote this rhyme
  • Spread 2: Once upon a time walk the line
  • Spread 3: Once upon a time I was a blank slate.
  • Spread 4: Once upon a time I woke up in bed
  • Spread 5: Once upon a time it all came… Once upon a time it all came… Once upon a time it all came together.
  • Spread 6: Once upon a time I yearned to kern type at Lead Graffiti (copperplate of logo).
  • Colophon

Studio & Studio projects & events Wednesday January 01 2014 12:01 pm

Top 10 moments of 2013 at Lead Graffiti

Several of our top 10 moments (though some stretch way past moments) of 2013 are annual events, which is quite nice.

Tour de Lead Graffiti, our month-long ‘endurance letterpress’ project, followed and translated the daily events of the 2013 Tour de France into ink on soft, sexy paper. This, our 3rd year, had us wondering if we could find new ways to visually talk about similar kinds of moments. After 23 more new posters it appears that there are indeed different ways to handle them.

This year’s event was highlighted in the December 16th issue of Sports Illustrated’s “Year in Media” issue. How cool is that?

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Lead Graffiti was approached about contributing the binding of a remembrance folio for the family of our good friend and fellow letterpress printer, Mike Denker, who passed away. Mike collected wood type, so we did the cover with an alphabet made up of 26 different wood type faces. Chris Manson supplied the printing on the inside pages and a wonderful woodcut illustration of Mike.


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We’ve long admired the work of Henry Morris of Bird & Bull Press. We heard he was giving up his precious studio and were asked to join local letterpress newbie Lindsay Schmittle to go with her to talk about buying his type and C&P 10 x 15 press. Henry made us an offer to buy his Miehle V50, which we couldn’t refuse. He threw in a most wonderful turtle (a massive cart on wheels). Here are Tray and Henry  helping us understand the press. Stop by and see the turtle and get a demo on the Miehle. They are really cool and seriously industrial.

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The Waldorf School of Philadelphia invited us to develop diplomas for their 8th grade class in 2012. This is one of those “Now that you started, how could you possibly quit?” We are already scheduled for a repeat in 2014. What we need now is another Sierra. This is the photo of the first year’s diplomas.

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So many things that end up being some of our best creative work stem from a tiny spark of interest. Daily, early morning RSS feeds, awoke us to the fact that it was Shakespeare’s birthday. The national news was still caught up with the Boston Marathon bombing, so the notion of joining those 2 events started things off for an ‘afternoon diversion.’ It was also our first shot at our ‘offprinting’ technique you can see in the word Shakespeare.

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We love doing our Creative Letterpress workshops with design students. We can show them so much first hand about the history of typography and printing in a technology that has all but passed away. The chance to handset and lock-up wood and metal type, to sit at our Intertype C4 and push molten type metal into typographic molds, and print a wonderful collaborative book in one day is wonderful. On top of that the books end up in Special Collections at the University of Delaware and the Library of Congress. It is so nice to see teachers who will push their students beyond the classroom into what was 3 workshops covering all of their Advanced Typography students. We wish we had a dozen schools like Philadelphia University. Here is one of the smiling groups at the end of the day.

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We wanted to produce a Lead Graffiti version of the meander book form (same as in the photo above) we use in our Creative Letterpress workshops. Bill Roberts of Bottle of Smoke Press, another Delaware letterpress printer, introduced us to John Dorsey, an Ohio-based poet. John wrote 12 autobiographical poems for Boxcar Poems 1 - 12. Simply a blast working via letterpress with his words.

The clamshell version shown above also includes the metal slug of the first line of the Boxcar Poem bearing that same number designation. The slugs were cast on our Intertype C4 and the clamshell also includes one of Ray’s photos of a seriously old boxcar.

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We were invited to give the keynote address on our Tour de Lead Graffiti project during the AIGA of Central Pennsylvania Annual Portfolio Review. It was wonderful to look out into the dark and not see faces aglow with the light from cellphones. Thanks to Adam Delmarcelle for the invitation. This is a photo of students signing the Lead Graffiti poster we printed via letterpress to promote the portfolio review. The poster was given to us as a thank you which was a very nice touch and you can see it hanging on the wall of our studio.

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We love it when things seem to just flow together. Ann Lemon’s birthday is ‘May the Fourth’ and she wanted to do a Star Wars-based Creative Letterpress workshop for a group of special friends. As fortune would have it, our son, Tray, is heavily involved with a Star Wars professional costuming group. The day just worked out perfect like a Tatoouine sunrise.

Just for the record the photo was shot in our studio. Tray is the Stormtrooper on the right. Yes, that is Darth Vader. And of course Ann Lemon as the Emperor (without nearly the wrinkles and a much nicer smile).

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We had a great workshop with our first Boy Scout troop. They came for the day, did our Creative Letterpress workshop, and ended up with a nice book of the 12 rules of scouting to remind them to help make this a better world. Below is the group gathered around Tray and our Intertype C4 linecaster. They even got to cast their names, which we used to print the colophon for the book.

And they got their Graphic Arts Merit Badge for the effort.