I have been creatively restless for a while now, lots of ideas and no real way of being able to get them out and achieved. This is mostly because I have not had the time to really work out what I want to do, or how to start. It also proves even more difficult to be able to work from home, so many distractions and working from the house office or kitchen table drives my inane sense of order to distraction!

So I have been searching for an external workshop/office space where I can leave work spread out on tables, inks ready made up and walls covered in drawings and scribbles! I have found said place but (to my delight) there is a lovely lady who’s agreement runs out at the end of this month and she is retiring. She is a book binder and restorer of books belonging to the British library. She is leaving her equipment and furniture behind, so that I might possibly find a use for them .So it looks like I might have my own space at long last, it’s just the haggle of rents/rates and so forth.

I can’t tell you how excited I am, slightly daunted but so eager to finally feel like I am really going to get the press set up and really into use. Especially as I’ve been increasing my letterpress collection of recent.

There is a chap called Jamie in Covent Garden who on a Saturday and a Sunday, sells letterpress blocks for printing. I have spent a small fortune with him and whenever I’m in London, I always head there to see him. I’ve been on the look out for pirate themed blocks, also wedding styles and then anything else that takes my fancy! So if you happen to pass by, take a look and see what he has, there are some truly lovely blocks.

So whilst out and about on my travels I have been collecting  examples of type that I really liked or was drawn to. I thought I’d put them up on here. I hope you enjoy!

Oranges and Lemons

I have found a lovely website that sells some exquisite prints. New North Prints are based in Hoxton in London and if you get a chance check out their most excellent website. I happened to have found them whilst looking for another site called Herb Lester Associates who specialise in map making. I love their design style and felt it would be rude not purchase a map or two!

Zawga elaya

I am so excited to read this article from Dr. Chip Coakley, at Cambridge University. The double dot mark or ‘colon’ in modern English language, could have been an early question mark in Syriac texts. Syriac is an early middle Eastern language that has a large Christian literature, which fore dates Islam.


A new return

Gosh, I’ve been away for a terribly long time. A year so the blog tells me, much to my chagrin! Anyway, I’ve got a backlog of photos and snippets I’ve collected on my journey that I need to update here with. So once I get my flickr account fixed I should be good to go.

So as a way back to the mountain of a project I’ve set myself, I have done a quick google to find out what simple searches of ‘punctuation’ are bringing up and I found the link to ‘what punctuation mark are you?’ So it would be rude not to have a go and much to my amusement, I am a ‘Colon’. So the inner child of me sniggered and thought ‘Ha! I’m an arse hole’. Well I thought it was funny.


Searching for punctuation on twitter?

I spend an awful lot of time camping on twitter, where I have two accounts that merge into professional and social. I do at times forget which one I’m signed into and so often random unrelated links or comments appear via either account.  This has lead to several comments about what I do and has been a positive cross over between both typography and research and being ‘Bec’.

So about ten minutes ago I decided to use the search function of twitter and see how punctuation rated in the world. Surprisingly a lot of people mentioned it in their tweets, they like it, they still want it, they get very annoyed at people not using it and apparently a lot of people are pedantic about it. There is also an awful lot of myth and opinion and no one seems to really have an ‘authoritative’ voice on it. (Though I beg to differ!)

After spending so much time researching punctuation I still find it incredible how passionate people become about the use of it. Take this website and comments for example, the arguments that follow about the correct use of the comma become quite heated. Why is this so? Punctuation is not just a language or typography tool but has morphed and been absorbed into social interaction. This is why I love camping on twitter, I love to see how people around the world argue their usage as being right, with passion and gusto. Like they have an almost possessive need to guard their knowledge or assert their way as the ‘right’ way.

Since my last search twelve new tweets have appeared, some arguing that we change the name of the underscore to something less boring like ‘dashy—hang—low’ (which is frankly ridiculous!) So I think I’m going to propose changing the names of punctuation and see what ideas everyone comes up with?

Here are a few to start with:

Question mark — Inquiry

Exclamation mark — Interjection

Comma — direct

I think we can do better and these are very quick alternatives that my Chamber’s Thesaurus app on the ipad helped out with. It also proved quite difficult and wrong to rename the marks, like some deep seated rules of respect for something that must not be changed. So on that note, I need to go and rebel and find some new names!

The Crocodile and the Crown

Today’s work has been experimenting with various stock and inks. Plus the Adana is playing up a bit, so had to strip down the parts and re–oil. Thank goodness for WD40!

Anyway, whilst on my last visit to London I bought some beautiful little printing blocks from a guy in Covent Garden. (Who I recommend whole heartedly that you visit, he happens to be in the market stalls beyond the shops.)  As I was flying home I only bought 6 blocks but I could have gladly taken the whole stall! So today I’ve been tampering with getting the Adana to give  a clean impression (it’s improving) and then some hand printing using non toxic pigment ink.

I have two Crowns, a king and queen’s, a crocodile, hand scribe and some borders. I struggled before to get the ink balance right but after much preparation I managed to get going. So I’ve included some of the pictures, I love the clarity and vividity of black on the various stocks.However, the metallic inks always seem to struggle, especially when dried, they tend to still leave residue if you touch the print.

I’ve been using up some of the stockpile of Offenbach 40gsm I have left. Also a while ago I bought a sample book from Inspire me papers and have been printing on to various stock in the pack. (which had a very nice 2inch screw bolt!)

I’m going to start cutting out some of the prints and create cards and in the very near future, will have a shop of all my wares!

19th Century Rules

Today I have been reading a paper on the psychology of punctuation. I must admit, at first,  not having considered punctuation to have a psychological impact but actually it does. This is representative in eclipses used to omit words (you know this ‘…’) and exclamation marks and commas and so on. The paper briefly covers a look at colons used in the bible and how they have declined in use; this is very similar to my MA work where I counted punctuation marks over a large corpus and drew conclusions from the data. What has really intrigued me however, is the rules that apparently surround a colon, and what has even more intrigued me is the language and how these rules are not adhered to as much today.

So here goes:

E.L. Thorndike

Rule I — A colon should be put after a clause that is complete in itself, but is followed, without conjunction, by some remark, inference or illustration.

Rule II — When a sentence consists of two members which are united by a conjunction or an adverb, and either if them is divisible into clauses separated by semicolons, a colon should be used before the connecting word.

Rule III — A colon should be placed before a quotation, a speech, a course of reasoning, or a specification of articles or subjects when informally introduced.
So reading the above, even I’m confused but I love the richness of the language. So maybe the reason why people get in a pickle over the right way to punctuate is that the language is getting in the way? Can you remember what an adverb is or a conjunction without looking it up? Difficult isn’t it?

Maybe the problem then isn’t the little marks, but rather the language to use them isn’t being taught clearly.

Having taken a break…

Finally am back around to blogging and a much needed update for this website needs to follow soon. I have finally finished my MA and awaiting the results. Also I had my exhibition and it seemed to be fairly successful, so hopefully good things will come of the contacts made.

Anyway, I’m going to do a flurry of updates, of work done and that in progress. Currently I am experimenting with the Adana and trying to get an even impression. I also managed to buy a nipper press that was in pretty bad disrepair and have restored it! So pictures to follow soon!

I feel really proud at getting an old piece of machinery back to fantastic working order and have been using it to take quick impressions of the new type faces I’ve bought.

On another note: am still ploughing through research papers for references for my PhD. I can’t get my head around it, I know what I want to do but the words are still forming in my head, as crazy as that sounds!

Right back to work!

Inspiring blog find

I’m trying to sort my flickr widget out and at the same time as googling using the ‘compositor’s stick’, I stumbled across this blog from Justin Knopp. I was very excited to read about the Wharfedale he has (as I live in the town where they were invented and built!)

Also I have just moved all of my faces I’ve bought into their antique case. There is something quite satisfying about having everything organised, in its’ place and waiting. I can almost feel the trepidation every time I slide a drawer open! Sadly, my wooden blocks and furniture is having to live in recycled cardboard boxes until I find a suitable chest. The problem is the size, some being poster sized, others being a lot smaller but not belonging to a family. My collection consists mostly of punctuation I’ve found in my travels; the metal type is complete families though I only have one serif. Which I must rectify!