The 10 best moments of Lead Graffiti's 2017

BUT FIRST, LEAD GRAFFITI IS CELEBRATING its first 10 years from 2 - 6 on Saturday, February 17. Lots of drawings for free broadsides. If you register ahead of time you are also eligible for drawings for books. Check out our calendar for details.

5 new books

Five books constitute a bit more than a moment, but we didn't want to leave out other things below we wanted to mention.

We had a good year creatively with efforts more focused on the production of own books and more often with our own words. Electric Fire From the Clouds, a collaboration with Martha Carothers, was included in a competition sponsored by the College Book Arts Association and judged by some serious book people.

  1. Abecedaritype | info
  2. How Ink Writes Poetry | info
  3. Moments no. 4: Endurance Letterpress | info
  4. Electric Fire From the Clouds | lnfo
  5. Chesapeake Meander | lnfo

Women's March, pussy hats & Indivisible / January
March for Science / March


We took the Women's March as a letterpress opportunity and printed 1,200 small broadsides which we gave them away to anyone who looked interesting or seemed in need of a sign, though it be small. One young lady gave Jill the knit hat she is wearing above in trade.


We seem to be in a time that just begs for letterpress printers and typographic playfulness. We've been involved with Indivisible and have been producing postcards via letterpress which we send to each U.S. Senator and some favorites in the news media that are important to us every 3 weeks or so.  

Special thanks to Rose DiSanto who provided us with proper head gear after the event.


Manhattan Book Fair / March

 Talking with Mark Dimunation of Rare Books at the Library of Congress

Talking with Mark Dimunation of Rare Books at the Library of Congress

In March we celebrated our third venture with the Manhattan Book Fair sponsored by the Fine Press Book Association. We had our best sales total of any such gathering to date. Wonderful to just be in the same space as the other bookmakers and printers.


Waldorf School of Philadelphia 2017 diplomas / May


We spent part of May printing the diplomas and building the portfolios for the 8th grade graduating class from the Waldorf School of Philadelphia. We started this project in 2012 with a group of 8, and in 2017 they graduated 18, the largest class for us so far.

Based on the form of the Nobel Peace Prize we love the opportunity to bring the students to the studio to print the main diploma text using photopolymer plates, but then hand setting THEIR names in metal type and having the students print them on THEIR diplomas.

In a Lead Graffiti workshop we took to the school this year, the students made the paste papers which we used to wrap the folder. Also included is an original piece of collaborative art work by the classmates. Honestly, a dream project for Lead Graffiti. Read the whole story.


Stephen Frykholm + picnic poster exhibition


Stephen Frykholm, one of Ray's long-time designer heroes, spoke to AIGA Philadelphia in May. Rose DiSanto, a long-time favorite former student, invited Ray to introduce Stephen. That gave Ray an excellent opportunity to fess up to Stephen about how influential he had been to Ray as both a designer and teacher. Read more and the text of Ray's introduction.


Following the talk, we loaned our complete collection of Herman Miller Picnic Posters to AIGA which was exhibited during September.

Just because we can, here is a poster of the banner utilizing the watermelon picnic poster image we hung on the front of The Annex in Visual Communications at the University of Delaware when Stephen first came to speak back in the early 1980s.


Appalachian Trail meeting with Lindsay Schmittle, sharing a few miles on her "Printed Walk"


Our good friend and letterpress printer, Lindsay Schmittle, of Gingerly Press, undertook a grand project entitled "The Printed Walk," a solo hike of the 2,200 mile Appalachian Trail. We wanted to show our support with some feet-on-the-trail effort, so we got organized to estimate an accurate position, drove to Harper's Ferry, West Virginia, and walked out a few of miles, met her on the trail, and walked her back into town. Ray only fell once, but it was a good one.

Topping everything off with a hot shower, a couple of good meals, a nice B&B night in a soft bed, an evening of stories, and everyone went on their way the next day by car or on foot.

Can hardly wait to see the posters that she is producing via letterpress, 1 for each 100 miles transversed. Enviable project. Click here to see her successful Kickstarter story.


Lancaster Printers Fair


Here we are in September at the Lancaster Printers' Fair, sponsored by the .918 Club where Ray is an active member of the club's Board of Directors.

On the far left is Chris Fritton, the Itinerant Printer, traveling the entire U.S. visiting shops (he spent a week with Lead Graffiti back in February of 2016, On the far right is Jim Sheridan from Hatch Show Print. Always great to share time with other letterpress printers. Especially the good ones.


A nice aside : There previous year when we sold practically nothing at this show the most fun we had was talking to students who often seek us out because of our more off-the-norm way of using letterpress.

One of those people ended up contracting with us to do an edition of 6 clamshells for print editions for Anne Arundel Community College. Jill created a wonderful paste paper which was used to wrap the edges of the trays. This project made up for everything.


Hamilton Wood Type Museum Wayzgoose


We were invited to speak at the 9th annual Hamilton Wood Type Museum Wayzgoose in November. Our talk centered on our Tour de Lead Graffiti project which had been featured at an exhibition at Hamilton 2 years ago.

We also ran two of our H.N. Werkman workshops. We had a great reception and met a boatload of exciting new people. A great buy & swap session at the end added a substantial bundle of new samples to our collection to show at our workshops in Newark, DE.

Even with the long drive to Two Rivers, Wisconsin, we would happily do it again.




We were invited to participate in a great project in the middle of November from a group described below, and it feels like a feel-good project.

[HAS HEART] is a Michigan-based, registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit, nonpartisan organization founded in 2011 as “Fashion Has Heart” by 8-year U.S. Veteran, Michael Hyacinthe, and artist/designer, Tyler Way. United over a cup of coffee in 2010, they quickly discovered the disconnect between their two worlds.

Read the longer story and then keep in touch as we finalize our part of the project.


New Lead Graffiti website, blog, et all


Over a frustrating 6 months, we completely rewrote and rebuilt our Lead Graffiti website using Squarespace. I just don't think my brain works very well in a template mode as I always want it to be doing something outside the normal boundries of what the original designer of the template seemed to want.

For better or worse, it is done except for the 22,349 small details which will take up the next 4 years of our lives. Over those 4 years, we anticipate a new 8,122 small details to crop up. 

Oh, well.


Want to be in touch, email us with any desires, thoughts, constructive discontent, suggestions, etc.

Please pass this along to any friends you think might enjoy some talk about life, design, typography, letterpress, books and everything that surrounds those things.