Last Friday I was lucky enough to spend the entire day at the New North Press in Hoxton with Graham Bignell and a few of my course mates working on our class letterpress project. Collectively we are a class of 52, which handily is 2 alphabets worth of people. The project is called Cockney Alphabet, each student is given a letter with a cockney phrase to go with it:
'A for 'orses'
'B for mutton'
'C for miles'
If you don't understand it then don't worry, neither did I at first. Took me a good few minutes to work it out by saying the examples over and over again. I was given the letter 'i' and went with the phrase 'I for looting'. Slightly more sophisticated than your average, it tried to subtly hint at it's meaning, avoiding anything too literal which wouldn't have worked as well and arrived at the final scan you can see above which I am really happy with. Setting type is something I had never done before and it was just amazing how technical it was and the sheer amount of stuff Graham had in his workshop. Thousands of tiny (and not so tiny) metal and wooden letters in hundreds of draws is quite daunting at first but once I was shown how to do it and got the hang of manoeuvring round the studio and found where everything it was dead easy & super fun.
At the end of this project the typographically best letters of the alphabet will be chosen by Graham and our tutor Nigel and then compiled into one Cockney Alphabet poster. This poster will then be printed and editioned to around 30 copies and be shown in the exhibition 'Reverting to Type' which will be running from the 10th till the 24th of December 2010 & 4th till the 22nd of January 2011 at the Standpoint Gallery in Hoxton. Now all that remains is to see if my letter makes it onto the poster!
Spent my Friday morning in Chelsea's wood workshop making this roughly A4 sized Times New Roman capital 'e' out of mdf. Essentially it was our hands on induction to the workshop and went amazingly well, I used a nice selection of bandsaws and sanders that could quite easily have taken my hand off but managed to avoid that happening thankfully. Next will be painting this white and bringing it in for a collaborative project with the rest of my class in December sometime. Till then however I am going to be making a (much) smaller version of this 'E' and finding an awesome way of destroying it.