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Monthly ArchiveApril 2015

Studio projects Tuesday April 28 2015 12:02 pm

George Mason Creative Letterpress workshop / April 25, 2015

Our talk at George Mason University back in January seems to have resulted in a great group of students traveling 2 hours to do one of our Creative Letterpress workshops.

Project always has an amazing amount of work collected into a compact piece. It is nice to see that so much of the work done in composing the wood & metal type actually shows in the end. Great fun to have the students cast their own names in hot metal for the books’ colophon.

You can click the image and see the image double-sized.

The size of the broadside is 16″ x 20″ with a final book size of 4″ wide x 5″ high, printed in 2 colors on Mohawk Superfine Eggshell 80# on our Vandercook Universal III. The book cover is Lead Graffiti pastepaper and is printed in 1 color on our Vandercook SP15. The spine is printed in 1 color on various colors of French Papers.

Jill always gathers a few students with an interest in color to choose the color combination. This time it was an interesting choice using fluorescent pink for the first run. The hot color provided a visual contrast to the maroon used as the 2nd color.

Copies of the books will be included in Special Collections at the University of Delaware Library, the Rare Book & Special Collections at the Library of Congress who both maintain complete collections of these books, and in Special Collections & Archives at the George Mason University Library.

Special thanks to Professor Don Starr and Ann, who nicely didn’t disappoint.

Studio projects Thursday April 09 2015 01:16 pm

Book no. 2: Moments Carved in Paper


Book no. 2: Selfie!

I do like the typographic treatment to the title of this book, EIFLES! I hope I can do things like this with every book.

This is the idea that actually started this whole Moments Carved in Paper book series thing rolling. Book no. 2 captures my favorite story about each of my parents. I got the chance to use my favorite photo showing them absolutely in love. I’ve got no idea when the photo was taken, but doing a book like this has shown me that I needed to have spent 500 hours more than I did asking questions of my parents.

As an aside, in doing some genealogy work on our family’s history, an uncle told me that my father once revealed that he had painted the artist’s concept of the atomic bomb. My father was in the military at the right time. He was stationed in about the right place. He was an artist. But he never told me that story. What a story to know! And yet I’ve not been able to find out any more about it from the government or several museums devoted to the history of the Manhattan Project. The moral of this story is that you should start thinking about how you would do this book with your parents.

Anyway, that atomic bomb story isn’t even part of this book, but I thought it might make a good point about getting things down on paper before it is too late.

One good question to ask your own parents is, “Tell me 2 dozen things about you that I don’t know.” Might be nice to get a small recorder and record it. Throw the tape in a box so you can pull it out some later time.

. . .

Back to you VC graduates and a list of topics to think about: our Bulldog day with Peter Woods or how about our 2-day sit-in at Peter Woods’ office at Ogilvy working on the One Club’s “Vietnam as a destination” ad campaign, the day every sophomore made a white (the horror!) T-shirt that said something on it (cannot remember right now, but I’m sure I can find a photo), junior parties for the seniors after the Year End Shows, lustful acts on a seamless in the photo studio, breaking into the building when it was locked so you could get to the good desks to do some work for class, most interesting speakers or field trips, maybe you were a grad that hosted a group of us at some design studio or advertising agency. . . .

See? I’ve kind of run out so I need some new things to think about. Help jog my memory and send me an email before I forget anything else.

Studio projects Thursday April 09 2015 12:34 pm

Book no. 1: Moments Carved in Paper

The Librarian Made Us Do It!

Book no. 1: Moments Carved in Paper

I’ve always had lots of stories to tell. After years of thinking & talking about it, Jill & I are going to be giving a run to a series of small books entitled Moments Carved in Paper. Each book connects various stories that lead to a “moment” that we carve in paper via letterpress. The title of our first book is “The Librarian Made Us Do It!” The title page reads “Librarian?” I love the idea that the inside page would question the outside page.

Book no. 1 opens with a photo of the millennium issue of Life Magazine which listed the printing of the Gutenberg Bible as the #1 moment of the past 1,000 years. Former student Craig Cutler shot the photo. “The Librarian Made Us Do It!” details the path that ended up with us working in Lead Graffiti with about 20 tons of presses & metal type, making books and other things by printing via letterpress, and having a blast doing it.

A few stepping stones mentioned in book no. 1 include:

• • • Life Magazine’s premonition.

• • • Starting VCUK and our study abroad trips to London.

• • • Connecting the dots from Nigel Kent to Alan Kitching, and then Nigel Roche to Ian Mortimer.

We were hooked.

Printed via letterpress & bound by hand as a flutter book (printed as spreads on thick, lush paper and then glued only along the fore-edge of the sheets), the books, while short, are also nicely thick. Each book will have a wrap-around cover. There will be pages that center on a photograph, often with tip-ins to help show the story, maybe some handrolled ink and probably some playing with type.

. . .

IF YOU ARE A FORMER VC STUDENT DURING MY TIME, there may be a number of occasions in these books you could have something to add that will help tell these stories. Stay up-to-date with the books we have planned. Lead Graffiti is attempting to do about 1 a month for a year to start. Then we’ll see what happens.

The next book will likely be about some of my favorite projects in the VC program, but not always ones I gave. Another important topic to me is the three different grading systems I designed and used over the years–dots, shelves & tennis tournament grading. I don’t remember exactly when I started using those and would love to know if it was during your time. I would also be interested in your positive opinions and how you feel they may have impacted your career or creative experiences since then.

Help me add to my list: DEViCes, VC Family Album pages, 9-foot invitation to the Year End Show, best field trips & site visits, Alans Kitching & Fletcher, portfolio review at Fallon in Minneapolis, William Caslon & Eric Gill’s grave sites, our overnight stay at the Hope & Glory with Bill Westbrook, the day of the London bombing, sandcasting at the Type Museum, Eric Michelson’s talk, Stephen Frykholm’s talk, banners hanging on the Annex, catching up to missed bus trips to NYC, Helmut Krone, Art Directors Club portfolio reviews, important exhibitions, One Club student shows, my 60th birthday party and Doves Press present, “Think Small. Again.” poster, other Year End Show posters, Friday sessions, working with the Advertising Club of Delaware, Bob Gill, Wimbledon, Michael Johnson. That should be enough to get you started thinking.

If you have a great memory about your time in VC PLEASE drop me an email. I’d like to try to merge the collection into a larger story. I’ve got dozens of them jotted down, but there must be hundreds more and different viewpoints would add more wonderful and personal detail.

Help spread the word about these books to other VC grads and people we connected with back in the day. Thanks!

Studio projects Wednesday April 08 2015 12:00 pm

Book no. 0: Moments Carved in Paper

The Prospectus

This is a photo of the prospectus we did for our upcoming series of autobiographical books related to Ray’s teaching, family, and our printing slowly & patiently via letterpress.

The books were intended to show the flutter book format we were going to use for the book series. Each spread is printed individually, scored & folded, and then glued along the fore-edge. Each book will have a wrap-around cover.

The intent of the series is to get some of Ray’s stories in print and to help celebrate some wonderful moments in our lives. The prospect was sent to approximately 130 major libraries to promote interest in the series. We hope to have some typographic fun along with some letterpress experimentation over the course of what we hope to be at least 10 books. Each book will come out roughly every month. We’ll see how it goes.