Archives for posts with tag: type

In the same way that we go through our days and lives integrating all kinds of stimuli, verbal and non-verbal information, to create a whole picture, I want to integrate my writing and my printmaking. It’s hard to make sense of the whole that is presenting itself at any given time without getting input from many senses and sources in our lives.

In that way, I’m experimenting with typing onto my prints. I have some lead type used for letterpress, and I arranged a word, ink it up by hand (no pun intended), and stamp it onto the print.

Here’s an example, using one of the large hand images that I printed a while ago.

Just as eyes are an access point into our inner selves, hands are an access point inside-out – they are a versatile appendage that can feel and grasp and hold and take – and give. Hands possess, and they show our possession to others. Fingers are binary digits, but are so sensitive that they can convey unlimited levels of interaction.

Close up of the type added to the print. I like being able to integrate small bits as I feel moved to.

[Note: I have a backlog of posts that I didn’t publish – I’m backdating the post to around the time that I worked on the print. Current date: 9-2015]

Writing with a pen is one thing, writing by piecing together tiny individual bits of lead type is quite another. But in a strange way, it is exactly what I strive for when I create – the meshing together of verbal and non-verbal stimuli with the same juxtaposed outcome.

I did my first letterpress workshop this summer, through the Naropa Summer Writing Program (an experience in itself), with instructor Karen Randall, one awesomely creative letterpress maven. The best part was doing the workshop with my best friend, Kathleen. The worst part was packing our entire house one night to prepare for evacuation from a wildfire above our home in the foothills, and then unpack (thankfully) the next day. But, of course, we kept on printing throughout the whole thing…

First, you write a poem. Then you set the type. Upside down. And backwards. It’s awkward – and it completely separates you from the verbal aspect of writing, which is important, because then you can actually concentrate on the design of the layout.

Typesetting workstation

Mosey on up to the workstation, pull out the font of type that you’d like to work with (Times New Roman, 14 pt, for example), and get to work. I found the process relaxing (except when I was thinking about the fire) and strangely rhythmic. If you look closely, you can see that there is a lot of filler surrounding the type, to get it to sit just right.

The type is set upside down and backwards.

When you’re done, set the type into the bed of the press and lock it in. This is Kathleen locking her form (setting her poem).

Locking in the type

Then you ink the type (trip), set the paper, and run it through.

Finished product

The hands-on form of writing through letterpress is abstract and methodical, allowing you to slow down, focus on the primary elements of your form and words – the result is pure and beautiful to touch, as well as read.

The process of creating through the tremendous stress and anxiety of my home potentially burning down (which it did not) was quite another experience, but somehow strangely related. It took all of my inner resources to stay present in the moment, both for the ability to participate in the class, knowing there was nothing I could do (once our belongings were packed into our cars), and also to allow myself to see beyond the crisis. All I could do was watch and accept and release. Sort of like making art.

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I love the NY Times as a resource, and while I’m going to try not to lean too heavily on it, I’m also not going to avoid its obvious intelligence and depth. This morning, they ran an amazing video on the history of Op-Ed (opposite the editorial page) Art, check it out! I find several components interesting:

First, the intersection of graphic design, art, and writing in Op-Art. This combination is beauty – visuals and type convey many messages, whether you are listening or not. What type do you see around you? What do you not see?

Second, the video discusses a bit of history that I’d like to pursue further – the arrival of many Russian illustrators to the United States, during and after the Cold War. I’m curious about the recent decades of Art History, and I’ll investigate more of that in this blog. What do we call the current Art movement(s)? What are the recent events and thought patterns in art that have led up to today? What about the Kowalskis?