This newsletter describes two creative workshops offered by Lead Graffiti for large groups interested in letterpress, the centuries-old process of printing from a raised surface. Located in Newark, Delaware, our 2,200 square- foot studio space gives participants plenty of room to work hands-on with our vast collection of wood & metal type, along with access to a variety of models of presses and other equipment, including an Intertype hot metal linecaster.

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F YOU TEACH graphic design, history, writing or WORK in an environment that could use a creative bonding blast for your fellow workers, Lead Graffiti offers 2 unique creative letterpress workshops, designed to work with larger groups (from 4 to 15 people, depending on the chosen workshop). The workshops provide a creative contemporary, first-hand experience with the materials and equipment related to letterpress design and printing. Results from the workshops can be used as design elements for an in-class project or a completed, portfolio piece that will garner 2 great lines on a student résumé.

Be sure to let us know if you need your workshop to focus on a theme or include specific interests. Neither workshop requires previous letterpress experience. All materials are supplied and everyone gets to take something home from the experience.

Creative Letterpress #1 / two-color meander book

COST: $85 for each participant. All tools, materials and lunch provided. No previous experience required. Allow 8 to 9 hours.

REGISTRATION: Maximum of 14 people (including a working instructor), minimum of 6

This all-day workshop results in each participant walking away with a finished, 2-color, 14-page hard cover book that requires no sewing or gluing. The book form itself is adaptable to other purposes and alone is worth the workshop. Participants can expect a brief tour and presentation of historical and contemporary letterpress artifacts and work.

Each participant will design and handset one page of a 14-page book (outside cover, inside title page, and 12 interior pages). After printing covers and text pages (using both handcranked and automatic presses), participants will complete 1 of the books during the workshop and take home the pieces necessary to build 2 additional copies.

The steps to making the meander book include:

• quickly positioning and locking up wood & metal type for an initial cap that will be printed in the 1st color
• positioning and locking up wood & metal type for the 2nd color to complete the layout
• printing the 3 covers for their books using paste paper made at Lead Graffiti
• printing the 3 sheets which will make up the text block of their 3 copies
• building the covers (7 interlocking pieces) using no glue and no sewing
• folding and tearing the broadside to produce the text block of the 16-page, accordion-fold book
• putting the cover and text block together to produce the finished book.

During the workshop each student will keyboard and cast a line of hot metal type on our Intertype C4 linecaster which will be used for the book's colophon.

As a creative letterpress workshop, once the book has been completed participants are free to leave. Lead Graffiti will redistribute all type and handle cleanup.

Lead Graffiti will supply a copy of the book to the Rare Books division of the Library of Congress, and a copy to Special Collections at the Univeristy of Delaware, both of whom maintain complete collections of these workshop books, which is currently about 60. We will also supply a complimentary copy to the library at the school any student group comes from. This provides students and others with some interesting lines in their résumé.

Additionally, Lead Graffiti will make accessible a high resolution image showing the lockup of the 2nd-color run along with a complete broadside of the finished printing of the text block (shown below).

Creative letterpress #2 / H.N. Werkman

COST: $60 for each participant. All tools and materials provided. No previous experience required. Includes studio tour if desired. Allow 3 to 4 hours.

REGISTRATION: Maximum of 15 (including a working instructor), minimum of 4

This 3- to 4-hour workshop is based on the printing work of H.N. Werkman, a WWII Dutch designer and publisher. This creative letterpress workshop is a great beginning typography experience because it focuses on the shape of letterforms and not letters as part of language. The Werkman-style process also provides a great retreat / bonding experience for professional offices, organizations, and faculty.

Produced in a very different-from-normal process using standard letterpress equipment and wood type and ornaments, the results are one-off pieces.

The basic process is as follows:

• a handheld piece of wood type is inked with a roller in one or more colors
• paper is placed on the press
• the wood type is carefully placed onto the paper
• press is operated in its normal manner
• the wood type is then carefully lifted (shown below).

This is a great workshop for kids: even those as young as 6 usually require very little adult help. We've often found the issue isn't getting them to do it; it is getting them to stop doing it.

Whether you're a kid or adult, this printing process is all about personal creativity, experimentation and instant gratification. There's no tedious measuring or press lock-up involved. Work can be printed on any of 5 differently operated presses, so there is little or no waiting for an open press. And all type redistribution and clean up is handled by Lead Graffiti.

4-hour workshop includes: short walk through of the facility and our wood & metal type collection, explanation of various presses (handpresses, Vandercook & platens), paper cutters and board shears, demo of Intertype linecasting, presentation of the letterpress process with historical artifacts, and a presentation of contemporary work from our collection. That leaves about 3 hours devoted to the hands-on part of the Werkman workshop. Students should be able to get 6 - 8 pieces to take home. Consider connecting the workshop results to a class assignment where students must use one of their final pieces.

3-hour workshop focuses only on the Werkman workshop printing component.


Schools or organizations can either pay the full cost of the workshop or pay part of the fee, letting the students pay the balance of the fee online. Either way, we prefer that participants register online so we have an exact count of the expected attendees.

More workshops: Additionally Lead Graffiti also offers technical training workshops on Vandercook, iron handpresses, and Chandler & Price platens, along with a wide variety of bookmaking and clamshell box workshops. Press rentals are available to those who have taken the appropriate workshop or who can provide proof of their proficiency.

Lead Graffiti is a letterpress studio located in Newark, Delaware. We think this 550 year-old printing process offers some interesting first-hand experiences for today's students. The 3 studio principals (Ray Nichols, Jill Cypher, and Tray NIchols) have 65+ collective years of design work, 35 years of university-level teaching, and over a dozen years together in letterpress. We have shared some extraordinary experiences with over 1,250 design professionals, faculty and student attendees at our workshops.

Our 2,200 square foot studio is located at 120A Sandy Drive, just off Otts Chapel Road, inside the city limits of Newark. If the information above feels like it might be useful, drop us an email. Don't always let your students get it off the Internet; let them do it with their fingertips.

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YOU ARE ON OUR CONTACT LIST BECAUSE you are a teacher, or we've connected with you on a project, workshop, email communication, swapped business cards, membership in American Printing History Association (APHA) or Delaware Bibliophiles, or you were linked in some way by Ray's teaching in the Visual Communications Group at the University of Delaware.