Friday, December 30, 2011

A Stitch in Time

Gregor, the calendar scarf for the wall, from German designer Patrick Frey. I suppose you could wear it until your year totally unravels. 

Thursday, December 29, 2011

The 3D CMYK Print

It was quite by accident that I stumbled into the cross-stitch design work of Evelin Kasikov after yesterday's post on the Manolo sisters and their embroidered type. All of these artists are based in London, but the only common thread between their work is embroidery.
      Evelin Kasikov has long had a fascination with typography and printed matter along with a love of craft, and decided to combine her interests by exploring cross-stitch as part of her academic studies at Central St. Martin's in 2008. 
She began by deconstructing the 4-color CMYK print composed of various sized dots and replaced each dot with hand embroidered cross-stitches. Where many CMYK prints might be made with a screen of 150 dots-per-inch, Kasikov can reduce her cross-stitched resolution to as little as 2 or 3 dots-per-inch. Just as the dot size in a print can effect tone and saturation, she varies the thickness of the thread in order to create subtleties of tone. To further imitate a 4-color print, she also adjusts the angle of each cross-stitched color. This is what I find so engaging about Kasikov's work—beauty of craft meets the science of color reproduction. She can methodically mirror a 4-color print with the precision of a pressman—but does so with the trained eye of a designer. A nice reminder that craft and design are not inseparable.
      Below is Kasikov's first fully handprinted alphabet of 26 lowercase san serif letterforms. They are 4-color CMYK made with 26,773 stitches. The challenge, Kasikov claims, was to construct a coherent character set with 10 cross-stitches per x-height. The screens for each color were set to a different angle and the combined blend of the stitched CMYK colors effectively result in a handmade Registration Black when viewed at a distance.

Below are images from Kasikov's Printed Matter project, created for her final MA project and based upon her cross-stitch technique. In the four different books, she explored craft and color in three-dimensional form within the context of graphic design.  

The images below are hand embroidered posters based on Gill Sans Light. They are examples of the blend of CMYK colors stitched in four different thread thicknesses. In addition to her website, you can find much more of her colorful work on Flickr and her blog Craft meets Graphic Design. Editioned prints and stitched originals are for sale here.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Sweater Letters

No need to work with cold type in the wintertime, when you can dress your letters in warm double-knit sweaters. This Sweater Letter set is designed by twin sisters, Maricor and Maricar Manolo of the small design studio Maricor/Maricar based in London. The sweater set was privately commissioned and hand embroidered with cotton floss thread on cotton fabric. Not recommended for warmer climates. In addition to their embroidery letters, the 2 sisters also mix it up with other print and web media, set design, album artwork and animation.

Embroidered illustration for ESPN magazine for their regular Go Play section. Below are more fine examples of their embroidered lettering work.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Season's Readings

This set of bogus books from the stacks at Letterology Library (with exception to this last gem from the NYPL Digital Gallery), are; spoiler alert; greeting cards posing as books. My most favorite is the one at top which is the first faux book-card I discovered years ago. After finding the next book-card at some forgotten post Christmas sale, this theme soon became a collection. The oldest in this series is the postcard shown directly above, and it is postmarked 1909. I find it rather odd that 3 out of 7 of the cards each have burning candles on their covers—a practice I would not recommend for books or cards.
      No matter the holiday celebration, sending greetings of joy is universal. I wish all of you a great Season's Readings and Joy, and I thank you for your continued support of Letterology; particularly over this past year. May you continue to stay inspired in whatever it is you do!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Winter Scenes of old Czechoslovakia

A set of 10 lithographed postcards from 1948 illustrated by Czech artist Karel Svolinský (1896-1986). I recently was doing a little online "me-commerce" when I discovered this set of postals at Antik Buddha's online site. Svolinský's work charmed me immediately just as his stamp designs have done so in the past. Anyone familiar with Czech postage stamps, banknotes or Czech art and painting after WWII, would at some time encounter Mr. Svolinský and his work. He was one of the most influential Czech artists of the last century. In the course of 40 years, he designed 210 stamp designs for the post of Czechoslovakia. He was also a teacher, a painter, a theater designer, an illustrator and a great designer of posters, ex libris and books.
      This set of folk art postals came packaged in a paper wrapper with an adorable snowman on the front (seen below). The 4-color original lithographed prints are titled Zima, or Winter in english, and illustrate some of the Czech folk art traditions of the Winter solstice holidays.