Friday, April 29, 2011

Osmosis :: Erik Spiekermann

Osmosis: // What do Spiekermann, Hobo and Schwinn have in common?
I stumbled upon this video on Erik Spiekermann while doing research on my own German lever press and its origins (and it seems pretty conclusive that it's a Hohner Hobo). Hobo bringing to mind the 1960's Schwinn bike "Slick Chick" re-painted in a VW Moon Silver after I restored it. Hohner Hobo also being a counterpart to the American C&P press. That's what I got so far.

Other designer's work, travel and reading prove to be Spiekermann's greatest sources of inspiration and then re-interpreted into his own work. He goes on to say that designers are influencing each other's work and are tremendously "in tune" and speak "visual dialects". Metaphorical references are made between words and music--space and rhythm, "and just as in music, that makes it exciting!" he says, and I wholeheartedly agree.

His work includes transforming the BVG (Berlin transit passenger communication system) and Corporate Identity systems type Audi, Nokia and AT&T. I was most struck in the interview by his distinction between advertising agencies primary focus and function on the campaign compared to that of a designer's focus on communication
(openess-accessibilty-clarity). Insomma, we need a better educated culture of clients who aren't just interested in the "wow" factor.

Words, he believes, fuction as signs and proliferators of knowledge. He took for instance the internet encouraging people to read more than ever in our history. Varrying cultures of languge (be it internet, i-pad, twitter, etc...) continue to grow. His message was a positive and inspirational one that we can do things that have a profound change on the people we live with and the community we live in through visual culture. What a way to start the weekend...

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My pretty little black press

So, I'm back and have been back for a few days. I was so anxious to get the remainder of my supplies (more to come) and still, quite honestly, roaming the Austrian Alps in my mind (those cows and not to mention awesome architecture which left me awe struck) I had yet to leave a post.

And so, I got it. I got my pretty little black press. And she's waiting there for me to try her on. But, and as I was saying, suppliers are far and in between here. But, damn if I'm not that irksome American girl... and honestly, today is like no other day, and all is well that ends well.

Pictures sent after restoration: Mechanic's workshop in Saarland, Germany

Friday, April 22, 2011

Passione [pas-sió-ne]

So, Easter weekend has arrived and I'm off to trample through four countries before coming back Easter Monday with the "Black Corsair". Funny, if not extreme, what passion makes one do. Happy Easter!

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Black Corsair (Pt. 2)

Image Via Basler Papiermuhle

So, I got the word last week that my Hohner lever press is ready. Now, all I have to do is go and get it, which I'm arranging to do over Easter weekend. The trip will take a scenic route through Switzerland, where there is a working printing/paper museum in Basel. Hoping to arrive just on time to get some handmade paper from the mill there!

Then, off towards Germany for the night in Saarbrucken. This area of Germany has a long history with France and shows it in their assimilation of French culture. I'm excited about trying some new dishes, and apparently they do some inventive things with the potato and serve most things with crunchy bread (like the French). Living in the north of Italy, near the Langhe hills I've come to appreciate food on an almost obsessive nature (we are slowfood nation here), but I'll leave that for other posts.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Mad Men :: House Industries
images by House Industries

I thought PLINC was a sound made when you dropped a quarter in a glass, but instead it is an acronym for Photo-Lettering Inc. There was a once upon a time when Madison Avenue had its romance with Murray Hill. New York Advertising Agencies had in mind how to make it brilliant, but the other people in the know were the lettering artists in white lab coats and behind dark rimmed glasses. Now House Industries have taken a historical interest in reviving these classic letters and making them public. Thumbs up House Industries.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

estuvo aquí // i was here

estuvo aquí//i was here

I consider conceiving the most fun part of creating,as it entails imagination and there are no limits to it. But then there is the the grimy part, which is sometimes almost impossible to do depending on where you live, resources and support available to you.
So, before the press in hand, I've created this blog and name along with it. I've even got business cards which I printed at the workshop, but no press...or letters...or ink, but ideas are flowing.

Pirouette is a state of mind. It was obvious to me that I needed a name that could be pronounced by Americans and Italians (given that's where I live), and French and Spanish too. Then there was the double sidedness to the reel, to turn, to spin. I imagine my little press (to be) as a dancer on their toes doing something pretty.

Then, perhaps just as difficult as obtaining my first press (yes they exist in Europe),because they are expensive to transport (many in Germany and England), in need of repair, language barriers... is learning to communicate on this blog on a personal level. The blogging sphere is meant for this. It's easier for me to speak about art or the abstract then talking about myself. But, as I've come to understand that is what I like about other letterpress blogs (and food and interior design blogs too). The writer shares their troubles, frustrations and inspirations along the way, and you can see how things develop and grow with later posts.

It's the grime that leave its mark after all.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Workshop In Paris // Extra Edge Dutch

Extra Edge Dutch could be the name of a new ice-cream, but instead it was some experimental printing by Thomas Gravemaker (my instructor extraordinaire) during my weekend letterpress workshop in Paris, and people he had worked with in Amsterdam.

His own teacher (and master printer) had once told him you can print anything, hence the cabbage on an earlier post.

-Linocut image and vertical leading-