Wednesday, 6 October 2010

I Can Type!

Well ok, I can't - not on a typewriter anyway. I recently freecycled for a typewriter and got a fantastic 1980s gem. I stab the keys with my index fingers, then when I realise haven't pounded them hard enough I backspace and stab again! I over-type with xxxx when I make a mistake or simply slam the correct key over the top of the typo without a care. There is something very beautiful about having all your mistakes on show, etched indelibly into the paper like tattoos. The uneven, unpredictable quality of the lettering is unique to the typewriter and the typist and personalises the writing almost as surely as handwriting.

Recently I have been thinking that the medieval style of a lot of our packaging wasn't really working with some of the work I've been producing recently. I've been working with vintage fabric and buttons and have been deliberately choosing materials for the story they can tell, marks, holes, wear and tear, a manufacturer's mark on a discarded selvedge and I felt the packaging needed be a better continuation of the idea.

I love to use rubber stamps, especially lettering, our usual cards show the font from our Wychbury logo, it's called Scythe. It's flowing, inky and renaissance and the stamped version takes on a woodcut feel. It's such a strong look that even when I added 'England' in what would seem to be a completely incompatible 1950s font from the John Bull set, it still keeps the 'I should be sold from a basket of straw' vibe. It's perfect for Tudor clips and herb garden earrings but wasn't hitting the spot for my button pieces.

So, I've come up with new cards that use a combination of letters from my John Bull printing outfit, typed text and a button graphic from my own linocut. I've stitched through the stamped buttons with thread to finish them off. The results are still unpredictable, the typewriter is temperamental and the rubber letters of the stamp are old and cracked but inked on to clean, cut card seems to work perfectly with my new pieces.
I have no clue about fonts, I'm deciding what's aesthetically pleasing through what equipment I have available, trying it out and screwing up my eyes to see if the look works. If I'm honest I wouldn't know an era-appropriate typeface if I was served one in an envelope with a portcullis on it and I really don't know why I choose the lettering I do (she says, changing body of blog into verdana as usual!). So I am very excited about the imminent new book by Simon Garfield, 'Just My Type'. You can read the introduction to the book on Simon's website and my picture of the John Bull set is going to be in it - Wychbury stamp and all!

I think my fascination with lettering will accelerate when this book is released but in the meantime I've started wearing it! This BACK SPACE typewriter key ring is from Zincwhite and it's temporarily adorning my wedding finger, make of that what you will!

Paula x


Anonymous said...

There's a touch of Neil Gaiman about your new cards, which makes me *heart* them even more. Love the ring as well - and where you're wearing it.

Wychbury said...

Aww thanks lovely :) pxxxx

Claire Wellesley-Smith said...

they look great. lovely post. xxx

Wychbury said...

Thank you Claire...I thought I might do a small post about a nice present I got for my birthday and link to another fabulous blog I read recently next ;) love pxxx