Learning typography can be tough sometimes because it is a lot of structure and rules. I try and break up my curriculum with some hands on and more expressive ways of handling type. This year I decided to try cutting letterforms out of sweet potatoes and using them as stamps on fabric. The students had an in-depth look at the letterform they were carving and had to consider every detail and curve.
It's that time of year again. The leaves on the trees are changing color and my students are learning the basics of typography using the letterpress. Each student collects several large leaves and presses them in a book. In the meantime they construct sentences about design that follow the format "Design is ________, but is not _________." They build type forms with our collection of lead type and learn all about kerning and leading by hand. Finally we take their pressed leaves and print the sentences on top.
My fellow design colleague, Lauren Meranda, and I were invited to speak at TypeCon this year in Seattle, WA. We presented about the Art & Design Creative Retreat that we lead at Judson University. It was two firsts for me: My first time being in Seattle and my first time attending TypeCon. Both were wonderful and enlightening experiences. The first day of the conference was for all of the typography educators and we had a really diverse and interesting bunch with many thought-provoking and inspiring presentations. It was an honor to be part of this group. The following days were more focused on the nitty-gritty details of typography and it was a fascinating world to step into! Working around the conference schedule, Lauren and I managed to see a good bit of the city, visiting the Public Library, riding a ferry boat, and taking long walks to different restaurants and parks. It was a great experience and a top notch conference, I hope to go again in future years to come.
My husband grew up in Indonesia until he was 14 and then his parents moved back to the States. Indonesian culture and visuals plays an influential role in my husbands design sensibilities, growing up in such a colorful and different world than my typical American upbringing. We recently had a friend (who we met at our weekly Indonesian language class at the Indonesian Cultural Center in Chicago) come back from a summer taking an intensive language class in Indonesia. It happened to be Indonesia's Independence Day so we thought would be fun to meet at an Indonesian restaurant. She brought us bright and lively Batik fabric and met us for some traditional Indonesian food at Chicago's Rickshaw Republic. The restaurant itself is decorated with beauty and color that tries to transport you to living in Indonesia.
After a lovely visit with my family my husband met me in Chicago upon my arrival to Union station. We wanted to see each other, so we met up before he headed off to work for the day at the downtown Intelligensia Coffee. We sat down for two iced coffees on a hot summer day and were pleasantly greeted with these beautiful glasses that resemble aluminum soda/beer cans. We recently found out they are a limited edition and am wishing we had bought some when we had a chance.
I teach letterpress at the university I work at and I am always on the hunt for supplies and type pieces we can add to our growing letterpress studio. I was lucky enough this year to get some additionally funding to buy a new wood type set. In my searches online I stumbled upon a wood type making company called Virgin Wood Type and to my surprise and delight they were located about a fifteen minute drive from my parents house.
I planned a trip home to visit my parents and coordinated a visit and tour to Virgin Wood Type's studio in Brighton, NY. I met with owner, Geri McCormick, who was kind enough to walk my dad and I through her process of making wood type. I had already ordered a 15 line version of Franklin Gothic for her so I had the privilege of seeing her start to craft the type pieces we now have at Judson University! If you are interested in her work, take a look at their Web site: http://www.virginwoodtype.com/
Over the summer I had the pleasure of being part of the Chicago Design Museum's Paper Exhibition, "Unfolded." It was a beautiful show with so many talented artists and designers from all over the world who value the tactility and versatility of using paper in their design work. I had the honor of showing my graduate thesis posters on craft in the show and have now donated them to become part of the permanent collection at the museum. The Chicago Design Museum, which is fairly new to Chicago has many new and exciting upcoming shows, check out their Web site: https://chidm.com/
I'm really excited because we were able to secure funding this year at Judson University for me to purchase a brand new wood typeface collection for my students. The company who is making it is called Virgin Wood Type and they are located in my home city of Rochester, New York. I'm going to visit my family in 2 weeks and will be picking up the collection myself and getting a tour of their process. Get ready, Judson students, for a 15 Line (almost 3 inch tall) set of Franklin Gothic wood type to work with! Oh the possibilities!
This past weekend my husband and I took my parents to Door County, Wisconsin. We stayed in a cottage on Green Bay, located in Brussels. I took morning bike rides and walks through the farm country surrounding the cottage neighborhood. Living in Chicago, it is quite a change to not hear any traffic, people, or dogs barking. I needed that to hear myself think again.
Design is wonderful, but sometimes you need a break. This summer I've started a Jane Austen Book Club with a few friends, we are currently reading Mansfield Park. Of course the books I purchased had to be designed well, so I was delighted to find the beautifully crafted Jane Austen novels sold at Anthropologie. I love the hand painting, patterning, and color here. Just beautiful!
We recently had the third meeting of our summer bookbinding workshop. Member, Kristin Best, took the liberty of hosting this week and invited us over to her new house. Lucky for us it was hot that day and she now has a pool. Using Kathy Abbott's "Bookbinding: A step by step guide" we learned how to make a paper covered single section binding. The theme this week was sound. I went to the paper source to find some interesting paper for my cover and ended up choosing one with gold barnyard animals. I figured that animals make very specific sounds and why not make a book about them? :)
I grew up in Rochester, New York to two wonderful parents who are both librarians. My dad more specifically focuses on being an archivist and historian for the city of Rochester. In his line of work he comes across many books in pretty rough shape where the pages have deteriorated and separated from the binding. My parents recently visited my husband and I at our home in Chicago and my dad gave me a workshop on how to repair book binding in his line of work. He brought me a an old broken copy of the "Wizard of Oz" to work on.
This weeks bookbinding workshop is themed "space." I decided to interpret this idea by dipping thread in paint and dragging it along blank paper to create lines. At the end of the lines I hand painted dots to create constellations and star patterns. I had some letterpress type sitting around so I hand stamped the word "stars" and "space" throughout the book. And finally, to create contrast between the pages I used a napkin and my leftover ink and paint to create a galaxy-looking texture on top of gray paper.
My designer friend, Alice Lee, and I wanted to take a bookbinding workshop but it was too expensive. After sifting through some well-made YouTube tutorials and ordering many books from the library we decided that we could hold our own bookbinding workshop. So each week we get together with a few friends and each member hosts a meeting and teaches the group a particular binding. Our first meeting my husband and I hosted. We learned how to do the "coptic stitch." Another element of the bookbinding workshop was to assign a theme, to see how we would all interpret it differently. The first week the theme was "gray."
This early June, my colleague Lauren Meranda and I, were invited to speak at the AIGA Design Educator's Conference: Nuts + Bolts in Bowling Green, Ohio. The conference focused on tightening up classroom fundamentals, reinforcing careers, and constructing the future of the discipline. We saw some really motivating and interesting presentations focusing on the place for empathy in the classroom. Lauren and I gave a presentation about the Creative Retreat we lead with our students at Judson University. Our retreat takes place annually at Camp Wandawega in Elkhorn Wisconsin. The students spent the weekend connecting with nature and building installations out of found objects. The experience takes them out of the traditional classroom and opens up their minds to new ideas of creation.
This past winter I went on a field trip with some of my design students from Judson University and my colleague and fellow design professor, Lauren Meranda, to the Hamilton Type Museum. We got a tour of the museum and got to take part in a letterpress workshop. I finally had the time to scan in some of my iterations, which are posted below. At the workshop we were asked to start by working with one work, I chose "Wanderlust." After that I grab the alphabet in Helvetica Neue Condensed Bold and tried different techniques of layering different colored inks on top of one another. I had SO much fun.
I want to learn more about bookbinding and since the internet and books are so easy to come by to learn, my fellow designer friend, Alice Lee, and I decided to start a bookbinding workshop amongst some of our designer friends. We have planned to meet each week with a new bind to learn and completed pages that follow a theme. Together we will open some books, pop on some videos, and lay down some stitches. Making some books together and learning in unison. We are so excited! Our first workshop is on Tuesday. More to come after our meeting!
In early May my husband (industrial designer) and I (graphic designer) took a trip to South Korea, to visit a graphic designer friend we met in graduate school as well as check out the countryside of South Korea and design scene in Seoul. As you can imagine we met so many wonderful people and saw many beautiful and culturally rich sights. It changed and inspired our design sensibilities and motivated us in new ways to explore ourselves as designers and human beings. Below are just a few photos I'll share about some of the design highlights of our trip.
I am proud to have had my thesis posters on craft chosen to be part of the Chicago Design Museum's newest show "Unfolded." The show runs from April to the end of July 2016. There are works from around the world of incredibly talented creatives and I am honored to have my work shown alongside theirs. The Chicago Design Museum has free admission so stop by before the end of July if you get a chance! The opening reception had a huge turn out and I had a great time visiting with friends and fellow designers. For more information about the Chicago Design Museum visit their Web site here: https://www.chidm.com/
My husband continues to fill our house with plants. He spends Sunday mornings at the Garfield Park Conservatory, using it as a way to find nature and relaxation in the cold winters of Chicago but I think also compiling a list of plants to collect and grow in our 2 bedroom apartment. We recently went to the Chicago Botanical Garden with some friends who are members and took us for the morning. Zack and I had never been and we were very impressed. There is something about the connection with nature and removing myself from the city that gives life to me and fills my mind with motivation and inspiration.