A Review by David Wolske
In his foreword to the 2010 Liber Apertus Press reissue of Rob Roy Kelly’s American Wood Type 1828–1900, David Shields wrote:
Forty years on, Kelly’s seminal work remains a giant on whose shoulders we stand. He wrote American Wood Type because it needed to be written and in doing so laid the foundation for a new wave of scholarship.
Alphabets of Wood is the most recent and arguably the most beautiful addition to the new wave of wood type scholarship. It is also important because it is the first publication to seriously examine the historical and cultural significance of Italian wood type manufacturers.
In the first part of the book, James Clough calligrapher, writer provides a broad historical overview of wood block printing, from fourteenth- and fifteenth-century hand carved imagery and text through the nineteenth-century American origins of moveable wooden type. In “Chapter 6” Clough introduces us to Luigi Melchiori, a skilled designer and manufacturer of wood type, active during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the Veneto Region of Italy. Through beautifully paced layouts, sumptuous photography, and a richly textured typographic palette, Melchiori’s life, work, and legacy are situated in the context of other Italian wood type manufacturers.
In the second part of Alphabets of Wood, Chiara Scattolin digs deep into the archive of wood type fonts, specimen books, tools, and documents held by Tipoteca Italiana. Detailed testimonies from peers help to humanize “the Bodoni of wood type,” making it easy for contemporary typographers, graphic designers, letterpress printers, and artists to recognize themselves in the pride and craftsmanship Melchiori brought to his work.
Every chapter of the book is illustrated with stunningly handsome antique wood type specimens. Two eight-page letterpress inserts on a toothy, soft-white paper stock provide an arrestingly modern counterpoint. The Stamperia of Tipoteca Italiana printed all sixteen frame-worthy pages using original wood type from Tipoteca’s Wood Type Archive.
Typographically the book echoes the best of Italian design, finding a harmonious balance between industrial sharpness and sensuous fluidity. Minion, for the body text and annotation, pairs nicely with image captions and folios set in FF Balance. The graceful geometry of chapter titles set in Mark Simonson’s keenly appropriate Mostra Nuova perfectly compliments the brute Latin Wide chapter numerals.
Alphabets of Wood shines a spotlight on the remarkable efforts of working museums like Tipoteca Italiana and Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum to educate and inspire new generations of practitioners and scholars. Its contemporary design aesthetic and a chapter devoted to “Wood Type in the Digital Age” boldly declare that wood type and letterpress printing, while rooted in the past, play an important role in current and future design, craft, and art discourse.
Alphabets of Wood: Luigi Melchiori & the history of Italian wood type
James Clough and Chiara Scattolin
Tipoteca Italiana, Cornuda – Italy
David is a letterpress artist, typographer, book designer, educator, and frequent collaborator with Moore Wood Type and Virgin Wood Type. In 2010 he founded the letterpress and wood type blog LetterpressDaily.com
something else that I will explain in comments
tocky the ticky taffee
--Signed, newbie cat slave
(La la la, I mean, I'm totally editing the fic I post in under a week. Yeah, that.)
One of the things that it made me think about is who the mainstream listens to for different communities that are trying to lift themselves up. I don't believe it's a coincidence that Marvelyn is young, cisgendered and photogenic or that she contracted HIV through a monogamous, heterosexual relationship. Respectability politics are often at play here and I think that applies to Marvelyn Brown just as it once did to Rosa Parks. (That takes nothing away from these women's contributions to the struggle - it's an indictment of the audience, not the speakers.)
This was a quick and interesting read. If you're surprised to hear that African-Americans represent the largest growing group of new HIV infections than I suggest you read it. With that being said the book maintains a positive, upbeat tone throughout.
You can see my full review here.
I applied, and was accepted, to the one-week Advanced Icelandic Vocabulary and Reading course in charming, cosmopolitan Suðureyri. This involved painstakingly writing out a 100-word personal statement in Icelandic over several days after procrastinating for several weeks. The course is a CEFR B2 level and my powers of expression in Icelandic are nowhere near B2 (neither are my powers of reading, honestly - more a B1+), so naturally I'd expected to be rejected out of hand. Even though I'm sure the main criteria for acceptance are "do you want to improve your reading knowledge of Icelandic in charming, cosmopolitan Suðureyri?" and "do you have 300 Euro that you would like to give us?" (The course fee includes materials, five days of lunch, and transport to and from the airport which is a good twenty minutes away, so really rather reasonable.)
My itinerary looks as follows:
• Flying from Birmingham to Keflavik, a nice short hop in the afternoon.
• Late evening flight the same day from Reykjavik to Akureyri.
• A whole full day in Akureyri. Might do this tour if I'm feeling energetic.
• Then all day on a coach back to Reykjavik - sort of the point of the whole jaunt as it's right across the deserts of the highlands, which I've always wanted to see.
• Evening flight the following day up to the Westfjords for my course. Study; peace, quiet and fresh air; and a hot tub with lovely views of the snowcapped mountains. I even have a private room for this week. Luxury I tell you.
• A week later, back to Reykjavik and a couple of days relaxing there before I fly back to the UK.
I think it looks good! I need to check tomorrow if I've missed any nights in the process of stitching together my itinerary as it's sometimes difficult to keep track of the days of the week...
If it's anything as good as last year's trip it will be very good indeed!
Which cover design???
something else I will specify in comments
tacky ticky techie
This is for an ebook collection of the flash fairy tales, The Fox's Tower & Other Tales. I can't decide which of these two cover designs works better. Votes?
(And OMG, I still cannot get over what a fantastic job the cover illustrator, Mariya Olshevska, did. Worth every penny.)