Primary Tools & Materials:
BLOCK PRINTING, SEWING MACHINE
Additional Tools & Materials: linoleum block, carving tools, pencil, paper, ink pad, camera, Adobe Photoshop
This hand-printed, machine-sewn letter is inspired by the work of Australian typographer Dominique Falla. Dominique creates letters from every physical material imaginable, classifying her work as "Tactile Typography." This letter certainly qualifies - everything about it is tactile. My components for this study were analog printing and sewing machine.
I began by roughly sketching this Egyptian woodcut-style letter letter with pencil and paper, then transferred it face-down to a 4" linoleum block by rubbing the back of the paper with my pencil lead. This gave me a pattern (now backwards) to carve out my letter with Speedball linoleum cutting tools. Once the letter was carved, I finished by shaving down the excess negative space, creating the starburst pattern that radiates from the letter. This process took exactly one hour, as part of a live lettering competition at a design conference I attended recently.
When I returned home from this conference, I realized I had half a hybrid letter, and I needed to add a digital component for it to meet my qualifications. First, I stamped the letter again, but this time on fabric, rather than paper - to make it even more tactile. I then decided to highlight parts of the letter using my sewing machine to fulfill the technical design requirements. I found that my sewing machine's pre-loaded decorative stitches had two that I could combine to make a primitive flower motif, which I attempted to layer onto the existing printed floral shapes. The harder part was tracing the inside shape of the stroke and ball terminal with a straight stitch. The stroke outline came out alright, but the terminal is a disaster. I just don't have a steady enough hand on the sewing machine to steer it in such a tight circle.
Everything about this letter is tactile - from they way the letterform was carved, to the texture of the fabric and the fray at its edges, to the raised machine stitching. It's nowhere near as polished as most of Dominique Falla's work, but it's a start.