Re:Play

Re:Play, an exhibition of new work from Sydney Book Art Group, opens this week. Please join us at the opening, or drop in and say hello any time over the next couple of weeks.

SydneyBAG is also hosting two public events to accompany Re:Play. The first is a panel discussion in the gallery on Sunday 1 July, when four guest book artists will come together to discuss what makes an Artists’ Book. The second event is a workshop, on Wednesday 4 July. Two SydneyBAG artists will lead participants in an evening of playful paper folding and construction.

SydneyBAG artists meet regularly and collaborate and exhibit when the opportunity arises. While not exclusively book artists, it is books, and the love of books, that unites the group.

Public library

I have been into this building many times, but it is only this week, while gathering a few more images for my upcoming book Type Town, that I took proper notice of the words. I never knew it said ‘public library’! I knew there were words, I know this is a library, but I know it as the State Library—which is what the sign around the corner on Macquarie St says. I also discovered that this section of the street is called Shakespeare Place. One thing I am still unsure about, however, is the architectural term for the part of the building where the text appears. Above is the pediment and cornice, below is the architrave—but the section in between—I think it is the frieze, but I’m not sure. Perhaps I could find the answer inside, on the library shelves.

Rosella

Ghost signs are the faded remnants of old hand-painted advertising signs. You usually see them on the side brick wall of a building. Sometimes the state of their preservation is quite remarkable, and the sign is clear and legible. Other times just a hint of worn and weathered lettering remains. This one was uncovered by a restaurant in Cabarita when they removed some tiles in the process of renovating. It is from an advertisement for Rosella, best known for its tomato soup and tomato sauce, and while I can’t make out much of the text, I can clearly see the trademark bird and appreciate the beautiful patina.

5522

The book I am currently working on is called Type Town, which, as the title suggests, looks at the typography of my surroundings. When I first started planning it I knew that the signage and street art in my neighbourhood was rich with possibility, but during the last few months of closer scrutiny it has proved to be even more interesting and engaging that I originally anticipated. These beautiful numbers are from a boarded up butcher’s shop window in Rozelle.

Paper string

There’s a lot going on in my studio. I am working away at my book—my book to be published, that is, not my artists’ book (it gets confusing!)—and at the same time I’m preparing for three exhibitions. Today I’m focussing on the first of those exhibitions: a show called Re:Play, featuring new work from my book group, Sydney Book Art Group. This is a detail from a piece I have just finished. I used a discarded cover from a book called What Would Google Do? and made paper string from Encyclopedia Britannica pages. The string is woven and then sewn onto the cover. It’s fiddly and challenging making all that paper string, but I’ll be making more of it today for my next piece!

Condemned

I am currently working on a project that is taking me in a slightly different direction to usual. For many years I have worked as a book designer for publishing houses as well as, more recently, for individuals. I am now taking the leap into publishing my own book: a full-colour photographic volume exploring the rich typographic landscape of my neighbourhood. My photos focus on signage and street art I find either beautiful or unusual, rendered through my own personal aesthetic. This stencilled sign hangs on a tree which is, as it announces, condemned (by roadworks). I will be posting more photographs of my typographic neighbourhood in the coming months.

Diacritical marks

A diacritical mark is a sign that is written above or below a letter to indicate a difference in pronunciation, tone or stress from the same letter when unmarked. Umlauts, macrons, cedillas, dots, breves, accents and graves are examples of diacritical marks. Whether it’s because I didn’t learn French at school, or because I have a tendency to confuse left and right, I get accents and graves mixed up. I know that one goes to the left and one goes to the right, and that they appear above vowels, but I don’t actually know how or when to use them. If I ever have to type the word cafe, for example, I either leave the mark off altogether, because the word is still recognisable, or rely on the spellchecker! Macrons (a horizontal line above the letter) and umlauts (the double dot) don’t cause me nearly as much angst.

Eames Frames

Eames Century Modern is a font family of eighteen weights from House Industries. It is a slab serif with smooth brackets, a style known as Clarendon but also sometimes referred to as Ionic. The family contains stencil, bold, regular, book, light and thin weights. It is a beautiful typeface, but what really catches my eye and makes it a standout are the extras, particularly Eames Frames, which I like just for their own sake.

Monday

It’s Monday, which means it is blog day, and this week I find myself devoid of inspiration. I’m currently working on several major projects that, even though they are progressing apace, are at a stage where they’re forming a major confluence in my headspace, and there’s just no room for anything else. Despite the fact that all these projects involve aspects of typography, I’m finding it difficult to drag my thoughts clear enough away. But yes—it’s obvious: a typeface called Monday! There is a particularly lovely serif typeface, with several weights, designed by Henrik Kubel of London-based A2-Type, but I don’t have it to use. I do have the Monday you see here, an internet font which I doubt I will ever use. I have Lemon Tuesday too, which I am also including because I’m running late and it’s almost tomorrow.

Shopping bags

Shopping bags are wonderful things. They come in a myriad of shapes and sizes, they are plain or patterned, and useful for many purposes. I am not the only one who likes them: I have seen whole exhibitions dedicated to their design, function and aesthetic appeal. These days there are fewer disposable plastic bags around, and an abundance of multi-use bags made from that weird polypropylene material (it’s still plastic). (Of course, now more people buy plastic bin liners instead of using the bag their groceries came in!) Here is a plastic bag I haven’t been able to part with. I already know that I won’t throw it away, but I haven’t found the right use for it yet. It’s not the plastic-ness I like, though: it’s the logo! I like the handwritten style, the simple line, the self-containment, the black and white.