Next broadside entry : Roland Hoover thank you


Ripple by the Grateful Dead

Letterpress grooves

LEAD GRAFFITI OFFERED A STUDIO TOUR to the local Newark Arts Alliance for their annual funding auction. Rebecca, the wife of a UD English graduate student, won the auction as a gift for her husband, Jordan, who was scheduled to take a class at the Rare Book School (RBS) in Charlottesville, VA. She thought the tour would resonate with his interests and generate some extra excitement for his upcoming class.

Having experienced the RBS ourselves, we wanted to make sure Jordan got a great send off.

Q : "Do you have a favorite line from a favorite song?"

A : "'Ripple in still water' from Ripple by the Grateful Dead."

On the spot, the tour morphed into an Afternoon Diversion printing project. We each took the line and set it in 3 sizes of metal type. Jordan took the larger type, and Ray tackled the smaller. Bending some leading formed the framework for the expanding and lessening ripples. That also made the hand-setting less tricky and made for an interesting lock up for curved type on the press.

Good vibrations

We printed 20 or so broadsides before turning the paper 180° and printing it again to echo the ripples. And then we got to thinking about the colophon.

In a further nod to the Dead, what could be better than a cycling skeleton by José Guadalupe Posada (1852 - 1913)? That dingbat is a cheerful reminder of a fun day spent at the Library of Congress perusing the inventive and humorous work of the prolific Mexican newspaper illustrator and printmaker. Ray snapped photos of a number of the lively skeletons, which were a recurring motif in Posada's quirky art, and we had several favorites made into small copperplates for letterpress.

From tour to Afternoon Diversion, the whole day became a memorable experience for all of us, as well as a great preamble to Jordan's RBS class. Not bad for a simple ripple in letterpress printing.

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LETTERPRESS BROADSIDE : Ripple by  the Grateful Dead

To purchase one of these prints, use the cart below.

  • Designed and handset in ______ metal type
  • Printed via letterpress in black on a Vandercook Universal III
  • Limited edition of 20 prints
  • Size 14.5" x 22.5" on acid-free Somerset Textured white, 300 gsm, with deckled edges at top & bottom

Next broadside entry : Roland Hoover thank you