Thursday, 23 April 2009


Just had a great day at St Brides Library on the first day of their annual conference - Revival. Very much up our street, with speakers talking about reviving craft skills in design and typography, and the merging/mashing of the traditional and digital ages - or even the post-digital age.

Alan Powers waxed lyrical on modernism, post-modernism, Curwen and craft to 'recapture authenticity'. I loved Harold Curwen's leaflet encouraging customers to 'have your printing done cheerily' and talk of 'the revival of print is not in the type but the spaces between' - oooo. I was also thrilled to discover that Alan is the man behind Judd Street Gallery, with a decided penchant for pattern papers. I purchased one of his papers only last month - the Harold Jones for 'The Compass Points North' in blue from Shepherds (who have taken over Falkiner Fine Papers).

Eleanor Crow gave us a brilliant insight into the world of book jackets and the revivalist trend. The set of poetry books to be published on May 7th by Faber & Faber and designed by Miriam Rosenbloom (who was also there) are stunning - and such a great example of the revival of illustration. Have a look at the Creative Review blog. One of the illustrators, Joe McLaren, was described by the next speaker, David Pearson, as his 'Reynolds Stone'. He's a big fan of his scraperboard board work and has used him for several projects already - before he gets so big he can't afford him! David was responsible for the 'Great Ideas' series at Penguin, and now designs for his own publishing house, White's.

Alongside these, and several more illuminating talks, were some real live demonstrations. Helen Ingham was printing - I rolled in the flatbed and pulled the arm across the press to print the little flyer above. Phil Surey was demonstrating signwriting. What I loved best was his painter's box,  made for a friend of his by his father in 1949, used by him until 1997 then passed on to Phil. Lovely - and moving. Phil said he was quite choked up when he gave it to him.

More tomorrow...