My Idea Of Funby Will Self
Waterland by Graham Swift
Piracy, Turtles and Flying Foxes by William Dampier
Wrecking Ball by EmmyLou Harris
1000 Hurts by Shellac
Elephant by The White Stripes
Le Fumeur De Ciel by Julien Neto
Sounds From The Cave by Mr.Chop
Infra by Max Richter
From Lubbock To Laredo by Joe Ely
Steingarten by Pole
Broadcast And The Focus Group Investigate Witch Cults Of The Radio Age by Broadcast And The Focus Group
Humus by Emanuele Errante
As Good As Gone by Nudge
The English Cold by July Skies
Circles by Lori Scacco
East West by Bill Frisell
The Sleeper by The Leisure Society
A couple of years ago, top calligrapher Paul Antonio came to out college and gave a talk and demonstration. As part of this, he made a pen from a can of coke and produced some beautiful and exotic calligraphic linework. I was reminded of this as I was using my dip pens recently and decided to have a go myself.
Please note, that this is an excellent sponsorship opportunity…
Safety first; if you are going to do this yourself, please drink responsibly – I recommend the night before. I used ordinary scissors to cut open this can, but had to be careful as the edges are extremely sharp.
Not as sharp as the clean, crisp taste of Stella Artois. (See what I mean?)
After flattening out the curve, the can was cut into strips and folded in half, where I cut out my nib.
Using my Archimedes drill I drilled through the shaft of a paintbrush and poked corresponding holes into the nib.
Threaded with wire…
and tightly wrapped to secure it in place. I needed to shape the nib some more to bring the two sides together. I needed to do this three times in all because the aluminium kept splitting.
This one was no exception, but it was fairly high up from the tip so I pressed on regardless.
The pen is loaded by dipping into the ink. I used a watered down indian ink for this. The ink is drawn up in between the two sides by capillary action, and released as the nib is drawn across the paper.
After a little while I gained a bit more control, and discovered ways of holding the pen, and moving the nib to achieve particular qualities of line.
When I pressed on the side of the nib a small spray of ink was released…
By the time I had finished the nib looked just a tired old meat cleaver!
Although I did not produce anything of particular importance here, I am very encouraged by this and will make more. I would like to add these types of line quality to my asemic works alongside the more controlled stuff.
I have just been featured on THE NEW POST-LITERATE, a gallery of asemic writing by Michael Jacobson. I am quite excited about this as this site was one of the first places I found that helped me make sense of my secret obsession and recognise it as a legitimate form. Especially one that was being explored by others.
Go there now, and see some stuff of mine I haven’t posted here. Whilst you’re there, have a really good poke around – there are some excellent asemic writers and artists out there, like Dakota Crane, Tony Burhouse, George McKim and Cecil Touchon.
I’ve been back in the workshop recently, generally trying to get back into the habit again. I began by making moulds of a couple of pieces of metal type using Vynamold. Yes, I know that the image above looks like a couple of blocks of cheese.
It was difficult to get good quality images inside the moulds themselves (time for a new camera methinks!) but I think you get the idea – a £ and a $ symbol in 18pt Cooper Black. Mmm, nice!
I had to fill in the notch on the body of the type (temporarily) in order to make the mould or I would have not been able to get anything out. I intend to slipcast these in white stoneware, but I wanted to try out a new material we have called Jesmonite. It is a water-based resin material, mixed like plaster of paris and sets hard, but unlike plaster , it is durable and plastic, and can be worked further – sanded, drilled etc.
Again, not great images, but you get the idea. I need to get more of the air bubbles out though. These are still a little rough around the edges, and I will be tidying them up to see how the material holds up.
I also dug out a mould I made from an old boiler plate. I was a little eager to see this and tried to remove it from the mould before it had fully hardened…
This is just gratuitous typography.
This fragment reminds me of the rosetta stone…
I have also been experimenting with ceramics again. I have been considering some more ceramic book covers, as well as one or two other additional book related bits and pieces. For these I began by rolling out some slabs of white stoneware and letting them dry out to ‘leather hard.’
These were then liberally daubed with coloured slips and oxides and vigorously burnished with a highly specialised burnishing tool. A spoon. I continued to add little splashes of slip and re-burnishing to create this effect.
The odd thing is that the clay that appears brown here will be white when fired, so I really don’t know what these will look like. I didn’t record the process in detail here, but I am preparing another project that I will use the technique on and will feature it in more detail.
Some of these slabs were also used to explore some typographic ideas. Using letters from an incomplete fount of Univers Bold Condensed, I pressed in words on two smaller pieces.
These were then filled with coloured slip and allowed to dry, before carefully scraping the excess to reveal the letterforms beneath. These were then carefully burnished to flatten the surface.
This was not as easy as it sounded and was very easy to remove too much of the coloured slip. Another dab solved this though.
And everything gets a final burnish. With the spoon.
Although these are not clean and sharp ‘print’ quality letterforms, I like the relative sharpness and hope that the fired results add a little more to this finish.
I will post an update when this lot come out of the kiln…
I also began another 3D typographic piece, but I’ll save that for later.
Although I still have three other books to finish off, I sat and sewed a little fat book the other day. Not sure why, as I have been sketching out ideas for the others recently, but the mood took me to do something a little different from my regular format.
This is a thirteen section book measuring just 70 x 80mm and is 21mm thick! My usual format is either seven or nine sections and 140 x 85mm and about 10mm thick so this is quite a difference for me.
Because of the width of the spine I will need to’ round’ it and create a hollow so that the book will open when it is attached to it’s cover boards.
The extra width also shows off the sewing, especially the kettle stitch, which I’ve always thought of as being rather ugly.
I use a rotatrim guillotine to cut my sections to size and always test the quanitity of sheets I can cut to the point that it begins to tear. I like this effect; it allows me to cut the pages quite accurately whilst retaining a handmade feel. It also masks any minor inaccuracies too – with perfectly cut edges every tiny deviation can be seen. I have adopted this ‘tear cutting’ as my ‘house style.’
As I said at the start, this is a little book, and although I have stated the measurements, it’s always good to see the scale…
I have a few ideas where this may go, and of course, they will all end up here.
Inspired by the all the great ideas in those catalogues that get mailed to me sometimes, I decided to get creative for my fathers recent birthday. Rather than buy him an ‘easy to wear’ bib, or a charming horse clock to grace any wall in his home, I thought I would be creative and useful:
With an appropriate Banknote of the Realm neatly tucked inside, Dad’s birthday gift was easily taken care of!
These are digitally printed on a heavy watercolour paper, and will be available for purchasing on my website soon, along with a Fathers Day variant too!