When I was out in Colorado a few weeks ago, I had the chance to really explore the downtown area of Denver, specifically the LoDo District (Lower Downtown Denver). I noticed that there were a ton of buildings, mostly brick, with historic hand-painted signs in various states of legibility. I tried to photograph as many as I could. There are much more, but it was a steamy 89 degrees that particular afternoon. I hope to get back there on the next trip out and keep updating this album!
LoDo is the oldest part of Denver and was where the city was originally settled. (General William Larimer placed some logs in LoDo in 1858 and that got the ball rolling.) It's recognized as a historic district, citing historical, architectural, and economic impact, and I was glad to see so many of the old signs preserved (not painted over). You can tell that the neighborhood has significant historical importance just by checking out the buildings. There are impressive Art Deco, Gothic Revival and Chicago Commercial style buildings alongside what were apparently saloons and brothels in the area in the mid-twentieth century. A checkered past always makes a neighborhood more visually interesting.
The hand-painted signs were great reminders of the neighborhood's former identity, and I found it fascinating to compare the styles of lettering and the hierarchy within the business names. I like the stories of things, and seeing history out there in the open on a building had me imagining farmers of the past ordering from the seed companies, bottles clinking at the milk company, and the combination of smells that must have wafted out from the chocolate company and mixed with the horses passing by. The evolution of advertising, lettering and architecture is plainly seen in this historic neighborhood of Denver, and with the current revival of hand-lettering and hand-painted typography, I wonder if more folks on their way to the brewery or to catch a ball game will notice the faded letters way up there on that building.
Check out lodo.org for more info about the district.
Got my samples today for my spore prints! CJ and I trekked into the woods to find some late-season specimens and they are currently spore printing as I type this. The prints I make will eventually find their way to my final bookmaking/letterpress book project. Fingers crossed for a successful batch...
Man oh man have things gotten busier! I'm currently enrolled in the Graphic Design Certificate Program at MassArt, and this semester my classes include Typography and Artist Books on the Vandercook Press. No that last one isn't precisely part of the program, but I had room in my schedule and honestly I couldn't concoct a better class if I tried.
The class is being taught jointly by Sarah Smith and Peter Madden, so they alternate weeks of book-making and letterpress instruction. It's a great format and I am learning so much. It's especially nice to be taking Typography at the same time I'm learning about setting type on a Vandercook. Leading makes perfect sense—as I leave the Vandercook class with hands smelling of lead type slugs and to see all of the work involved with manually justifying/aligning text...well I have a much better appreciation for setting type now. I'll update with letterpress work as I get to printing my final project, but for now here is a sweet Hardcover Pamphlet I made per Peter's instructions:
The book is covered with beige book cloth and a decorative cover paper I fell in love with at Kate's Paperie.
The pamphlet is sewn in the center with a 5-stitch binding, including a paper hinge at the back of the signature. The hinge is then glued to the inside of the book board before the book cloth is glued on over it. The signature contains folded and sewn sheets of white paper and colored end papers on the outside.
The orange decorative end paper (wrong side facing out) is pasted down over the edges of the cover paper, hiding all edges and seams. The brown end paper (right side facing the right side of the orange paper) then acts as the signature cover inside of the pamphlet, with the white pages inside.
Accent wall finally done! And we have new bed linens - the pillowcases are white and yellow dots (Droplets from the Martha Stewart Collection) and a new blanket for the summer (in Shitake from the Martha Stewart Collection too). The only remaining task is to paint the other 3 walls with a new coat of white paint now that the temperature has warmed up and we can open the windows to air out the room. I'm trying to keep Ivy off of the blanket so she doesn't snag it...but sadly I haven't been very successful. The colors of this room have turned out to be avocado on the accent wall, light yellow, and browns. Still trying to figure out what color rug will work best.
So uh, anyone looking for a mural? Shoot me an email for nurseries, bedrooms, playrooms and anything else you're thinking!