it seems ridiculous that, as a person who has always wanted to try potato stamp printing, i’ve never done it. but the fact is, i never have gotten around to it, so when spencer cross announced kernspiracy was putting together this typography joyride event, partnering with machine project, echo park film center and cinema speakeasy, i signed up right away.
the evening consisted of a brief talk on type, instructions on how to carve potatoes [with supplemental backwards alphabets on the tables for inspiration], the actual carving, and then final printing in the form of ransom notes. concluding the workshop portion, we went next door to view a screening of typeface, a documentary about the history of wood type for letterpress and the hamilton wood type museum.
awhile back, my mom gave me some of her wood carving tools, so i brought those along for precision potato carving. we picked our letter assignments from a bowl and got started. some people like to jump in and carve right away, but our table all sat and sketched our letters ahead of time to make sure we liked them. designers!
once we had a few of each letter, some ligatures, numbers, and such, people got to printing. since this typeface consists of unmatched characters, it’s technically a ransom note face, so we were encouraged to compose ransom notes of our own. this was super fun!
the documentary was very interesting, first & foremost to see so many gorgeous carved wood blocks of standard and intricate display faces. coming from a city like los angeles, it’s hard to wrap your head around the idea that this wood type factory pretty much made two rivers, wisconsin—though their other claim to fame is inventing the ice cream sundae. the visiting artists shown in the film were making amazing prints as well, it really made me want to figure out how to spend some kind of residency there.
typeface will screen in various cities for the next few months, and it’s available on limited edition dvd [with a wood type print jacket] or from itunes.