28 September 2010
26 September 2010
25 September 2010
(all over the world, tonight)
I’ve been hearing from folks around the globe about their promotion of and preparations re: contributing to Mother Tongue, INDIGO’s cross-cultural platform for exchange regarding original languages and the significant role these play in how we understand ourselves and others.
Two days ago, I was happy to be able to give a half-hour introduction regarding Mother Tongue (via a Skype Q&A) to a group of 80 or so graphic design students at the Royal Academy of Fine Arts, ARTESIS Hogeschool in Antwerp, Belgium. Thanks to longtime friend and design colleague Frank Andries for this opportunity… I very much look forward to what these students will submit (participating in Mother Tongue forms a part of their coursework this semester).
(Submission deadline is 1 December 2010).
24 September 2010
I have loved Gulliver’s Travels ever since I first encountered the satirical classic when I was a child. The cautionary part of the tale is that, ultimately, it was the love of travel that was to be Gulliver’s downfall… (how timely, somehow).
“Fish did not discover water.”
—Marshall McLuhan (among others)
23 September 2010
equinox late 14c., from O.Fr. equinoce (12c.) or directly from M.L. equinoxium “equality of night (and day),” from L. aequinoctium “the equinoxes,” from aequus “equal” (see equal) + nox (gen. noctis) “night.” The O.E. translation was efnniht. Related: Equinoctial.
Seasonal change is definitely in the air (together with tens and tens of thousands of Canada geese massing for migration—as I noted this morning en route to work), on this special twice-a-year day on which the day’s minutes of daylight equal the minutes of darkness everywhere on our wee planet.
Autumnal up here in the North, Vernal down under… regardless, best equinoctial wishes to dear friends and colleagues far and near!
22 September 2010
21 September 2010
Correctly English in Hundred Days by Min Hou and Lin Youtong (eds.), Shanghai: English Translation Advancement Society, Correctly English Society, 1934… ‘This book is prepared for the Chinese young man who wishes to served for the foreign firms. It divided nealy hundred and ninety pages. It contains full of ordinary speak and write language. This book is clearly, easily, to the Chinese young man or scholar. If it is quite understood, that will be satisfaction.”
(Thanks to Ada Nordkvist for the card featuring this book cover that arrived in the mail today… with a thoughtful followup note re: an interview I had with her last week).
20 September 2010
I’ve spent the better part of the weekend (with invaluable help from Ev and Simon Statkewich—thanks!) transporting a ton or so of letterpress display type, along with a number of proof presses and assorted letterpress paraphernalia (that I’ve just purchased from colleague Susan McWatt FitzGerald) out to my place in the woods. (Sue, real type fiend, had acquired the entire contents of a letterpress showcard/poster shop from a retired printer some years ago, with full intentions of setting up a viable printing operation in her garage… and that’s where the materiel has languished until now. Her pending move to Newfoundland at the end of this month triggered her offer to sell).
Fonts range in size from around 48 point (mostly lead in sizes under one inch) to about 7 inches in wood, with lots of interstitial sizes including some very condensed faces. Of the dozens of dusty type cases and racks (featuring a wide variety of serif, sans serif, and vintage display faces) most need cleaning and sorting—much of the type was literally “out of sorts” in buckets, crates, boxes, and bags… so it appears that I’ll have plenty of winter-evening activity in the months ahead. Truth be said, I love letterpress typography, and I can hardly wait to sort this all out, clean it all up, and start those presses rolling—lots of poster and card ideas already percolating.
Images above: a sampling of the letterpress display type now in my posession; the proof presses range from about a small DIN A5 size to something like 2′ x 3′; not shown—assorted furniture, quoins, brayers, lots of leading, and hundreds of type-high printer’s cuts and etched illustrations (weighing hundreds of pounds). An online search for the patent number exhibited on the larger press brought up this PDF from 1933.
I’ll post better photos of complete alphabets once I have the chance to clean and sort the type. As I’m very keen to find out the specific names of the fonts I’ve just acquired (all without documentation), I’ll send anyone who can help me identify an actual font name and/or fabricator/origin a nice printers block (advert or editorial illustration) by post—I know there are more than a few typography aficionados who visit here from time to time.
19 September 2010
Many folks (myself included) have been remembering Jimi Hendrix over the past days—rock’s all-time greatest electric guitarist passed on 40 years ago at the tender age of 27. I vividly recall the first Hendrix song I ever heard (in 1968, outside a record store in Basel, Switzerland while waiting to change streetcars en route to school)… All Along the Watchtower from the Electric Ladyland album.
Only the young die good.