Top 10 Lead Graffiti moments of 2015 listed in chronological order
lthough, maybe not as great a year as in the recent past, we got our autobiographical "Moments Carved in Paper" started and perhaps have ended our "Tour de Lead Graffiti" on a good note and a nice number of editions of 5. It is clear that there are a lot of people whose opionions we value that have an active interest in our work. We didn't produce quite the same body of work as in a few recent years, but we've been trying to move away from working with clients to working more of what we want to print. We believe we are also in a position to start producing work on our iron handpresses after threatening to do it for the past 7 or 8 years. In addition and while not a single event, we added 155 workshop participants to our ist, bringing our total to 1,184. We plan on pushing workshops more this year as it is clear to us that more and more students need the experience we offer. Entry #8 below will mention a great, new workshop based on the work of H.N. Werkman. New first-time workshops groups included Art Conservation at the University of Delaware, Arcadia University, and James Mason University (where we also did a talk).
. . . O N E : March & April
We published the first 2 books of our personal story series, "Moments Carved in Paper." The Librarian Made Us Do It (Ray's "moment of clarity" for letterpress). Store.
eifleS! is the original idea for the series with Ray's 2 favorite stories about his parents that started us on the project. The photo of them in the upper left has always been Ray's favorite photo of them. Ray's dad was holding a camera, and back in those days you couldn't get the automatic focus, so the image is a bit soft. We don't know the date of the photo, but we think it is from before Ray was born. The architecture of the books is in the form of a flutter book, where each spread is printed separately and then glued to each other along the foredges. This way we can print on the thick Somerset Textured White 300gsm that we normally use and not worry both about the inability to bind with normal sewing or of printing both sides of the sheet which cancel each other out. The type is quite impressed into the thick paper.
The flutter book architecture we use for the "Moment" books allows room for some great fun and playfulness from one book to the next. Each one teaches us something we seem to be able to build into the next one. Store.
. . . T W O : April
We participated in the Manhattan Book Fair through the Fine Press Book Association. We were hoping to do enough business to pay for the booth, the drive to the city and parking, a nice hotel room, and an intimate Italian dinner. Dinner ended up being at Dopo East. We sold 4 times as much as the low end of our hopes. It is great fun telling our stories to anyone that would stop for a moment and look. We will also be doing the fair in April 2016. We may even try to do the same hotel and restaurant this year.
. . . T H R E E : May
Jill took two long-desired, leather binding workshops from Don Rash who operates the School for Formal Bookbinding. Jill ended up with 3 nice books to show for her 2-week effort. Don was the bookbinder who did the 12 leather-covered versions of our Histories of Newark: 1758 - 2008 back in 2007. He did an amazing job embedding a coin minted in 1758 with the head of King George II (he signed the charter for the city) so that you could see both sides of the coin. Don does really amazing work. German style.
. . . F O U R : June
We were invited to exhibit 35 Tour de Lead Graffiti posters from our 2011 - 2014 editions at the AIGA / SPACE Gallery in Philadelphia. We made some great new friends and, from the opening, pulled 7 great new collaborators who shared stages in our Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015.
. . . F I V E : July
Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015 - our 5th edition of our 23 posters in 23 days while following the Tour de France. We had 35 collaborators spread over 21 of the 23 days who shared the Tour, the letterpress, and the Glass Kitchen's dessert experiences with us. Ray's total time over the 23 days was 383 hours 28 minutes. There were 92 runs averaging 4 per poster, but some of them were doozies. "Endurance letterpress" at its most fun.
. . . S I X : July & August
We were invited to be the inaugural exhibition at the new gallery of the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in their new space. The 2-month exhibition included 48 of our Tour de Lead Graffiti posters from 2011 thru 2014. It was a great opportunity to see the frames we designed to hold our posters at work. We liken it to the peloton heading at high speed across the center of France. Special thanks to Jim Moran, director of the museum, for the invitation. I'm pretty sure Lead Graffiti got some new followers from the event.
. . . S E V E N : August
After watching it flounder along for a while, Ray added some energy into the VC/UD - Then & Now, a Facebook group for former students from the Graphic and Advertising Group and the Visual Communications Group at the University of Delaware, 1968 to the present. Not exactly letterpress, but an important part of Ray's life, and we'll sneak some letterpress in every so often.
. . . E I G H T : October
The national conference of the American Printing History Association, which both Ray & Jill attended, was focused on printing on the iron handpress. The conference injected some energy into our efforts to get our 2 iron handpresses (a 1928Albion and an 1868 Washington) finished. We bought the Washington in 2007 and Albion in 2008, and had to have missing parts fabricated and things like bent bolts straightened or replaced. Also turns out that getting the variables set correctly wasn't just a matter of turning some nuts with wrenches.
At the conference we experienced a new letterpress workshop based on the work of H.N. Werkmen (shorter time frame, for a good number of people, and loads of playful, colorful, typographic fun). We used the workshop for our first VC homecoming reunion in November, which we've been wanting to do for a while. Everyone's kids loved it and so did the adults.
This also provoked a nice iron handpress workshop run by printer Steve Heaver from Baltimore. Also, see entry T E N.
. . . N I N E : October
From Crooked Crow Press, Rockville, Maryland, and on extended loan, we received a typeset, full 36-line Gutenberg Bible page composed of a reissue of Gutenberg D-K metal type cast by Mike Anderson. Additionally there are 2 job cases of the recast Gutenberg D-K type that we can use to set new pieces. We are hoping to start a new series of workshops on our iron handpresses with the type. We would love to get some English, History and Material Culture programs involved in some hands-on experiences with printing history.
. . . T E N : December
Coupled with #8 above we finished the renovation of our Harrild & Sons Albion, bought from the Museum of Printing in North Andover, Massachusetts, back in 2008. Toward the end of renovation we discovered a photograph we believe to be of the press or its brother has a significant provenance as part of the first fine press program at a major U.S. university, Carnegie Institute of Technology, back in the 1920s. Purchased by Porter Garnett, director of the program, it was one of a pair of Albions purchased on a trip to London. The press was purchased to print a significant 12-volume catalog for The Frick Collection.
Things still seem to be happening that are very exciting to us.