Friday, February 10, 2012
The Fragility of Tactile Mediums
It was in the 80's while attending Otis that I discovered the art of the handmade book and letterpress. There were no clues in my conscious past that I would fall in love with these mediums. Well, perhaps my attention to detail and meticulous, patient nature was a clue.
Back then, when Otis was still in downtown LA, students would head over to LA Type Founders for whatever was needed. Harley Bell would be there to assist us with all our needs whether it was purchase a font, ornaments or getting some linotype (a line of type) set. Although I was aware that I was working in a very old medium I didn't quite realize that thirty years down the road it would be close to extinction.
Much of the metal and wood type, ornaments, printing paraphernalia I own was hunted down in the 80s in LA, NYC and Argentina. Ben has brought over much of John Neuharts vast collection, which is quite amazing. I am still missing a some basic fonts and would also really like to have a Vandercook flat bed press to work with. Still kicking myself for having sold the TWO I once owned, ugh!
I've been going through organizing little pieces of type and sifting through some of Johns boxes filled with odds and ends that conjure up stories I wish I could hear him tell.
As the raw materials to make natural perfume continue to escalate in price or become almost impossible to obtain, like true Mysore sandalwood, I'm realizing the parallels in the two art forms. These old crafts that require hands and nature have their own specific niche market that appreciates them. The patrons along with the artisans working in these tactile mediums are an interconnected team with the ability to keep them alive and in our consciousness.
I'll leave you with this new trailer titled "Linotype, The Film"