Friday, April 29, 2011

The Childrens' Books of Arvydas Každailis

The children's book Kai žemė patekės (When the Earth Rises), was illustrated by Lithuanian designer and illustrator Arvydas Každailis in 1967. Každailis (b. 1939) was very much influenced by modern design, abstract Surrealism and artists such as Klee and Miro. Lithuania was still a Soviet bloc country in the 1960s and designers of that era would often take to illustrating childrens' books as they offered a refuge from censorship. In an interview with art critic Giedrė Jankevičiūtė, he explained that the text of Vytautas Rudokas was permeated with Soviet ideology, while the pictures have nothing to do with it. 
       Below is Arvydas Každailis' cover design for Mykolas Sluckis' tale Ačiū šelmiui akmenėliui (Thanks to the Prankish Little Stone), published in 1963.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

DIY Platen Press

Built with steel, oak, bamboo, cork, rope, ink, a small barrel and a great deal of ingenuity by Oakland artist and craftsman Shawn HibmaCronan. Commissioned by Compass Books, The Press will sit in their bookstore at Terminal 2 in the San Francisco Airport until 2021. Read more about it at Craftzine.

Smart Tags

Known by a variety of pen names in New Orleans such as The Bookman, The Reader, Booker and Mr. Read, the message is always the same. Spreading the literary gospel word: READ.
:: Via Anthony Turducken

Bookplate Looking for Owner

Decorative script C. Comes with fancy cap. Available within.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Typewriter Portraiture

As the news today of the last typewriter manufacturer calling it quits, I want to stop for a moment to champion the typewriters' analog charms—such as the noise it makes, the monospaced characters it imprints on paper, and the many ways it can be manually manipulated with a bit of dexterity—and no one does this better than British artist Nadine Faye James. I first became acquainted with Nadine's type-infused artworks about 5 years ago after finding full page color illustrations of her work in the British magazine, Waitrose Food Illustrated. Her work was littered with letters. Typewriter o's, would become snowfall or a fruit bowl, an italic cap B might be a real cap on someone's head, and a D could be a pot of soup when on it's face. Charming stuff.    
        Recently Nadine was on my radar again when I discovered she occasionally did typewriter portraits while-you-wait. I made mention of this last December in another post, but have since learned more about Nadine and her ascii artwork. She is very much an analog artist and believes in using the post office to send mail. I recently received the most wonderful package from her which made my heart sing. Inside was a handwritten note with 4 small books—2 very sweet notebooks and 2 more filled with typewriter portraits she had illustrated from willing patrons. Nadine tells me she began doing the typewriter portraits in 2000 when she was working on her MA in Communication Art and Design at the Royal College of Art in London. She began typing things like crocodiles and bears and eventually her friends until she realized she had a knack for it. Later she would set up an old school desk and electric typewriter at various artist book fairs and type on a duplicate till roll so she could give one copy to her sitter and keep the other. As this other half of the till roll continued to grow, she would use it to make books of portraits. These days Nadine tells me she has taken to painting and drawing landscapes and considers herself "an amateur watercolourist". With some upcoming exhibitions in the works, she promised we can expect to see an updated website of new work soon. I suspect if she ever wanted to set up her typewriter again somewhere, she would find a long line of very willing type sitters to be her loyal subjects. Or perhaps the Royal newlyweds should become Nadines' next subjects. Surely they will need an official Royal typewriter portrait. Long live the typewriter <:^)

Nadine's typewriter till roll above. From Lee Shearman.
Nadine at her typewriter. From Lee Shearman.

The 3 images above from Waitrose Food Illustrated.

On The Road in Barcelona

Occasionally I have friends who send me photos of Letterological things they see. This week my old friend Patrick Reagh from Northern California sent me these photos he encountered on a recent visit to Barcelona. Patrick is a master letterpressman and typographer and has a keen eye for all things type and printing. He found this metal plate embedded in the street which celebrates workers' trades. The printer trade is recognized with an ink brayer and letters and the bookbinder is prominently identified with a book. Further on, Patrick peeked in the front window of a gift store, and discovered a platen press and several cabinets of type sitting next to long shelves of knick-knacks and curios. Patrick found this rather puzzling, but the storefront was closed so he couldn't inquire. Perhaps it was the local Shop-n-Print. Buy some glassware and order some printing while you wait-and-wait-and-wait.

Practice Safe Coloring

:: 1940s Milton Bradley ABC pencil case from Christian Montone. Someone can't read very well.

Monday, April 25, 2011

An A to Z of HairDo's and Don'ts

A is for Afro, B is for Bouffant, C is for Comb Over...and Z is for Zombie.
Dan Rule's comical Compendium of Coiffure via Flickr.

Thirst for Penguin

From the Remo General Store.

Gilding Demonstation

Last week my student Zach Self demonstrated how to gild the edges of 220lb. business cards. I can't wait to gild everything now.

Stack of business cards bookended with barrier paper on top and bottom.

Fit with a tight clamp just below edge of surface to be gilded. 
Clamps fit tightly on either side and paint with adhesive sizing. 
Product placement: Liquid adhesive sizing.

After applying sizing, press cards onto leafing material.

Lightly burnish with finger and apply pressure to adhere leafing to stack.

Burnishing leaf with bone folder.

Brushing off excess leaf from edges.

Voila! First side done.

Nevena Stoeva tries her hand at it.

Painting sizing on next edge.

Zach sets timer to 3 to 5 minutes for sizing to dry. It should be tacky to touch.

Applying glued edge onto gold leaf.

Applying pressure with finger to adhere foil.

Burnish lightly with bone folder.

2nd side completed!
Zach demonstrates how to separate cards by pulling down and out.