Tour de Lead Graffiti news…

… O N E

Our Tour de Lead Graffiti 2015 starts today. This will be our fifth edition. 23 posters in 23 days paralleling the stages & rest days of the Tour de France. July 4th through July 26th. We will be posting the poster from each day on our website with a description of the stage and how the design / printing came to be. We plan on posting a number of photos from each day showing production shots, lockups, etc.

The posters are 14.5” x 22.5” with deckle edges at the top and bottom. The paper is Somerset Textured White 300 gsm.

The posters are produced the same day as the Tour de France stage they represent. Most days we have outside collaborators which have ranged from 10 years old and up; have come from Dallas, Indianapolis, and Vermont (we are in Delaware); most have no interest to start in the Tour de France; about 60% have at least some letterpress experience.

The signature block, date, to / from, and distance in the lower left is printed from photopolymer plates. All the rest of the poster is printed from handset wood & metal type and various found objects (i.e. bicycle chain).

Click the link below to add it to your bookmarks and follow along.

… T W O

The Hamilton Wood Type Museum will be hosting a display of about 40 posters of our Tour de Lead Graffiti editions from 2011 through 2014. The exhibition will run from July 11 through August 31, 2015.

A photo of the exhibition is also shown below.

… T H R E E

The 4 images below are pretty high favorites from each of the 4 previous years to give you a bit of the flavor.

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We are through 9 of our 23 stages of our Tour de Lead Graffiti project.

We have been trying to provide some informative documentation of our techniques for lockups and printing with lots of pictures that are at the bottoms of each stage page.

Three things that might interest you are

1) running a split fountain on our Vandercook Universal III (Stage 4) along with a tricky use of a paint brush instead of using the tapes. This Vandercook is automatic with the tower and tapes. We actually did two split fountain runs of this print each using 5 or 6 different colors and different lockups which provided a nice intertwining of the colors.

2) setting type in a circle using embroidery hoops (Stage 5 & 7)

3) locking up wood type without furniture just using double-stick tape (Stage 9 which is shown below)

The link to Stage 1 is

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We are through the first 2 weeks of our Tour de Lead Graffiti project, 23 posters in 23 days paralleling the events of the Tour de France.

A reminder of the exhibition at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum of our TdLG posters going on through the end of August.

Here are three interesting posters that letterpress printers might be interested in. There are usually lots of photos of the lockups and printing techniques we’ve been experimenting with. You can see the photos of the 3 posters below

Rest Day #1 - printing directly from a spiral made of 5 bike chains.

Stage 10 - Nice bit of our handrolling and setting type in a circle using an embroidery hoop.

Stage 14 - Nice handrolling and using a split fountain to print two colors at the same time.

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We made it through our 2015 Tour de Lead Graffiti project, producing 23 posters in 23 days, while following the Tour de France.

Another reminder that our exhibition of posters from the 2011 thru 2014 is on at the Hamilton Wood Type Museum in two Rivers, Wisconsin through the end of August 31.

This note covers stages 15 thru 21 and one rest day.

Rest Day #2 has some more information about using the embroidery hoops for setting type in a circle. This time using parts of 2 different hoops to make a double circle.

Stage 18 is a wild piece where we took a sheet of MDF, covered it with double-stick tape and strips of masonite to create a mountain-side drawing of a Col du Glandon. The photos at the bottom of the page do a good job of showing how the image was created. It is also a pretty wild bit of handrolling to add some sense of visual structure to the mountain.

Stage 20 is another long bike chain piece using hot glue to adhere the chain to a piece of MDF. Interspersing the type down through the chain was fun.

Stage 21 was an attempt to create a halftoned image using some Handy Box dots along with 4 sizes of oak dowels cut to 0.918”. “Why would you do that?” you ask. “Just having some fun” we would answer.

Composite print - Each year we’ve run about 30 copies of a composite print which is every run of every poster. We only include these in the clamshell boxes containing the entire project. Once we did Stage 18 the texture of the piece became quite wonderful and this is the most visually pleasing one of the 5 years we’ve been doing this project.

We’ve now produced 115 posters in the series, giving us lots of opportunities to experiment, bring in collaborators (this year we had others with us on every poster except for 2). Many get involved with us who have no experience with letterpress and most have little interest in the Tour itself.

Thanks for keeping up with the project. I would love to hear anything you have to say about favorites or questions about the production of any of the posters.

If you know of anyone that might be interested we would love to exhibit the posters and present talks about the project.

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