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Category ArchiveStudio

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.

Studio Sunday January 27 2013 05:01 pm

What we will do for 10″

We’ve done a number of workshops for 12 - 14 people and things can get a bit crowded in the middle at times, even with all of the space we’ve got. We have two  rows of back-to-back cabinets, 5 cabinets wide. The space between them is often a bit too tight as design students will sometimes sit on the floor and look at the lower cases. I think we had about 3′6″ between them which is easily enough when it is only the three of us, but add us to 12 students and throw in a faculty member and it is a bit of bottle neck.

Well, we finally just bit the bullet and moved the front row of cabinets 10″ to give us more space.

This shows us with the front 5 cabinets emptied. The 2 on the left have been moved the 10″ we wanted to add between the 2 rows. Figuring 35 pounds a case on average, that is means we had to move about 2.25 tons of type, then move the cabinets, then move 2.25 tons of cases back into the cabinets.

That comes out to about 875 pounds per inch of space improvement. The gap in the rubber mats shows how much the space was opened up, so we might need to get new rubber mats. We’ve also decided to allow for more flat working surfaces on those cabinets on the right which previously had two double slant tops on them. Our large creative letterpress workshops often have the students working in a galley instead of a composing stick so flat space is important.

APA & Histories of Newark: 1758-2008 & Studio & Studio projects & Visual Communications / UD & events & film & honors, awards, media & news & important equipment & inventory / collection & inventory / important type & inventory / miscellaneous & inventory / presses & personal & photo projects / hand-drawn type & printing tricks / advice / help & trips & type & Lettering & uncategorized & workshops Tuesday November 30 1999 12:00 am

Craig Cutler at Lead Graffiti

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Craig Cutler, noted New York photographer, is near completion of a year-long series of weekly personal projects entitled CC52. The 49th in the series are photographs taken at Lead Graffiti.

Click on Craig’s image of some of our 96 point foundry metal Caslon below and take a look.