Sweet Potato Printing of Letterforms

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. 

Learning how to carve and print with sweet potatoes. A single print from each student in the class. 

Learning how to carve and print with sweet potatoes. A single print from each student in the class. 

Different patterns made from the sweet potato stamps hand-carved by my students. 

Different patterns made from the sweet potato stamps hand-carved by my students. 

Letterpress Leaf Print Time!

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. 

Some leaf prints from my Typography 1 class at Judson University hanging to dry in our letterpress studio. 

Some leaf prints from my Typography 1 class at Judson University hanging to dry in our letterpress studio. 

TypeCon in Seattle

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 design colleague, Lauren Meranda, and me presenting about the Judson University Art and Design Creative Retreat that we annually lead at TypeCon. 

My design colleague, Lauren Meranda, and me presenting about the Judson University Art and Design Creative Retreat that we annually lead at TypeCon. 

There were a lot of University of Illinois at Chicago graduates and faculty present at the conference, we all took a photo together on the TypeCon stage. 

There were a lot of University of Illinois at Chicago graduates and faculty present at the conference, we all took a photo together on the TypeCon stage. 

Lauren and I made a visit to the Seattle Public Library. 

Lauren and I made a visit to the Seattle Public Library. 

View from the plane on the way to Seattle. 

View from the plane on the way to Seattle. 

We took a ferry to Bainbridge island across the Puget Sound.

We took a ferry to Bainbridge island across the Puget Sound.

Indonesian Influences

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. 

Indonesian masks outside the restrooms. 

Indonesian masks outside the restrooms. 

Meeting up with our friend Elyssa upon her return from taking an intensive language class in Indonesia. 

Meeting up with our friend Elyssa upon her return from taking an intensive language class in Indonesia. 

Celebrating Indonesia's Independence Day with a "Happy Soda" and my first Kopi Luwak.

Celebrating Indonesia's Independence Day with a "Happy Soda" and my first Kopi Luwak.

Intelligensia Coffee = My happy place

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. 

Limited edition glasses for Intelligensia's iced coffee. 

Limited edition glasses for Intelligensia's iced coffee. 

Virgin Wood Type

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/
 

Owner of Virgin Wood Type, Geri McCormick, showing us how she cuts wood type from a pattern. 

Owner of Virgin Wood Type, Geri McCormick, showing us how she cuts wood type from a pattern. 

Unfolded Paper Exhibition Ended

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/

View from the inside of the Chicago Design Museum, located in Block 37 in downtown Chicago. Brand identity design by designer, Nick Adam.

View from the inside of the Chicago Design Museum, located in Block 37 in downtown Chicago. Brand identity design by designer, Nick Adam.

Me at the closing exhibition party in front of my graduate thesis project. Photo taken by my design colleague, Lauren Meranda.

Me at the closing exhibition party in front of my graduate thesis project. Photo taken by my design colleague, Lauren Meranda.

New Wood Type Purchase for Students

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! 

If you are interested in letterpress, check out this Rochester, NY based company that produces new wood typefaces: http://www.virginwoodtype.com/

If you are interested in letterpress, check out this Rochester, NY based company that produces new wood typefaces: http://www.virginwoodtype.com/

Peace and quiet = inspiration

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. 

The view from a morning walk with my dad in Door County, Wisconsin. 

The view from a morning walk with my dad in Door County, Wisconsin. 

My husband having a contemplative moment at our private entrance to Green Bay. 

My husband having a contemplative moment at our private entrance to Green Bay. 

Jane Austen Book Club

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!

Graphic artist Leanne Shapton's signature painterly patterns grace the covers of four classic Jane Austen novels. You can buy them here: https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/jane-austen-classic-novels

Graphic artist Leanne Shapton's signature painterly patterns grace the covers of four classic Jane Austen novels. You can buy them here: https://www.anthropologie.com/shop/jane-austen-classic-novels

Almost halfway through reading the life of Fanny Price. 

Almost halfway through reading the life of Fanny Price. 

Book binding Workshop + Swimming Party

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? :) 

This bookbinding workshop was hosted by member, Kristin Best, who lucky for us has a pool! We learned how to stitch a paper covered single section binding with a theme of "sound."

This bookbinding workshop was hosted by member, Kristin Best, who lucky for us has a pool! We learned how to stitch a paper covered single section binding with a theme of "sound."

Learning Book Repair

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. 

My dad brought an old copy of the "Wizard of Oz" for us to repair the binding together. 

My dad brought an old copy of the "Wizard of Oz" for us to repair the binding together. 

My dad showing me how to repair the binding of a book. 

My dad showing me how to repair the binding of a book. 

Prepping for "space" themed bookbinding workshop

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.

Creating "constellation" lines using thread dipped in paint. 

Creating "constellation" lines using thread dipped in paint. 

Finished composition of star constellations. For the final book I cut this page down into 3.5"x5.5" pages. 

Finished composition of star constellations. For the final book I cut this page down into 3.5"x5.5" pages. 

Hand stamping with letterpress type to make cover for my book on "space."

Hand stamping with letterpress type to make cover for my book on "space."

Bookbinding Workshop 1: Coptic Stitch

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." 

Kristin Best and Zack Filbert working on their coptic stitch bound books on our living room floor. 

Kristin Best and Zack Filbert working on their coptic stitch bound books on our living room floor. 

Anna Filbert, Lauren Meranda, and Alice Lee working on their bookbinding coptic stitch books at our living room coffee table and carpet. 

Anna Filbert, Lauren Meranda, and Alice Lee working on their bookbinding coptic stitch books at our living room coffee table and carpet. 

Our finished books bound by coptic stitch. Paul Rudd felt it neccesary to be present for the final unveling. 

Our finished books bound by coptic stitch. Paul Rudd felt it neccesary to be present for the final unveling. 

AIGA DEC Nuts + Bolts Conference

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. 

Lauren and I giving a presentation at the AIGA DEC Nuts + Bolts Conference at Bowling Green State University about the Creative Retreat we lead at Judson University. 

Lauren and I giving a presentation at the AIGA DEC Nuts + Bolts Conference at Bowling Green State University about the Creative Retreat we lead at Judson University. 

Students brainstorming group installation project ideas on the dock at Camp Wandawega. 

Students brainstorming group installation project ideas on the dock at Camp Wandawega. 

Sunset at Camp Wandawega.

Sunset at Camp Wandawega.

Critique in the woods on one of the student groups final installation projects. 

Critique in the woods on one of the student groups final installation projects. 

The conference hosted a screen-printing event where we got to print on our conference bags with the help of the student workers. 

The conference hosted a screen-printing event where we got to print on our conference bags with the help of the student workers. 

This is the conference bag I printed myself!

This is the conference bag I printed myself!

Hamilton Type Museum Letterpress Workshop

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. 

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

Letterpress experiments by Anna Filbert

A few friends and some book binding supplies

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! 

My husband and I at Blick Art Supply, looking through their speciality paper samples. Preparing for our upcoming book workshop! The theme is gray...

My husband and I at Blick Art Supply, looking through their speciality paper samples. Preparing for our upcoming book workshop! The theme is gray...

I took water color paper and hand-dipped it in gray dye. With the theme "gray" for our next bookbinding meeting, I wanted to experiment with layers of gray ink. 

I took water color paper and hand-dipped it in gray dye. With the theme "gray" for our next bookbinding meeting, I wanted to experiment with layers of gray ink. 

Design in South Korea

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. 

"We love pattern!" My husband and I at the Gyeongbokgung Palace enjoying the incredibly detailed and colorful ceilings. 

"We love pattern!" My husband and I at the Gyeongbokgung Palace enjoying the incredibly detailed and colorful ceilings. 

My husband and our graphic designer friend, Kahon Hong whom we met in graduate school at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She took us to the Jogyesa Temple in Seoul for Buddha's Birthday celebration where they hang hundreds of lanterns with people's wishes on them. 

My husband and our graphic designer friend, Kahon Hong whom we met in graduate school at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She took us to the Jogyesa Temple in Seoul for Buddha's Birthday celebration where they hang hundreds of lanterns with people's wishes on them. 

Zack and I visited a Hanji paper store, the traditional hand-made paper of South Korea. We bought some to bring home with us to the States!

Zack and I visited a Hanji paper store, the traditional hand-made paper of South Korea. We bought some to bring home with us to the States!

A stunning combination of nature and typography. 

A stunning combination of nature and typography. 

We visited this wonderful letterpress and book bindery shop called "Portfolio" located in Seoul's Insadong. The owners gave us a tour of their studio and equipment and ran us through some samples of their work. They were very genuine and kind and it was a visit we will never forget. 

We visited this wonderful letterpress and book bindery shop called "Portfolio" located in Seoul's Insadong. The owners gave us a tour of their studio and equipment and ran us through some samples of their work. They were very genuine and kind and it was a visit we will never forget. 

We were given a tour of the art gallery at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul. Here is an example of the many uses of Hanji, South Korea's traditional hand-made paper. It can be rolled up and woven into baskets. 

We were given a tour of the art gallery at Sookmyung Women's University in Seoul. Here is an example of the many uses of Hanji, South Korea's traditional hand-made paper. It can be rolled up and woven into baskets. 

"Unfolded" Opening Reception at Chicago Design Museum

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/

The "Unfolded" exhibition. Image taken from the Chicago Design Museum's Web site. 

The "Unfolded" exhibition. Image taken from the Chicago Design Museum's Web site. 

My friend Katy and I in front of my thesis posters. 

My friend Katy and I in front of my thesis posters. 

My husband Zack and I in front of a really fun piece of work by another designer at the "Unfolded" opening reception. 

My husband Zack and I in front of a really fun piece of work by another designer at the "Unfolded" opening reception. 

My colleague Lauren Meranda and I in between my thesis posters and another designer's work, who made these beautiful cut paper orbs.

My colleague Lauren Meranda and I in between my thesis posters and another designer's work, who made these beautiful cut paper orbs.

Pictured here with fellow designers, Lauren Meranda and Alice Lee, in front of a giant tube of shredded dollars at the "Unfolded" exhibition. 

Pictured here with fellow designers, Lauren Meranda and Alice Lee, in front of a giant tube of shredded dollars at the "Unfolded" exhibition. 

Chicago Botanical Garden: Source of Inspiration?

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.