typeHigh wrap-up

UPDATE Perhaps I should state the following reminder: these posts are my thoughts, not those of typeHigh or my business partner or anyone else. Aesthetic commentary aside, we certainly benefited from participating in the sale and I could have been more gracious about that. Also, I should have made clear the "Iraqi" comment below referenced a story in the Times that day that made a point about fluorescent lights.

At the risk of being tedious: a quick overview fr om the sale. TypeHigh managed a respectable showing at the Center for Book Arts sale despite the fact we were out of our element aesthetically. Thanks to Doug's ingenious handiwork we had a professional display rack and many of the trappings of a real business. Most importantly, people (strangers, even!) will be writing and sending our cards. Amazing.

The tenor of the event was more clogs and rainbows than I'm comfortable with and the room, a ragged loft space awash in fluorescent light, said to me 'Iraqi detention center' a lot more than 'Happy Holidays.' We were made acutely aware of the need to find the correct audience.

Our "Lucky" magnets--vintage wooden Bingo pieces-- were a surprise hit. (Though when people asked why they were lucky I was tempted to just say "'cause I said so." They're Bingo pieces, people, they won't help you get a new job). The type on the tag was hand set in a great metal face from the Bowne collection called
Samoa. Its got a quasi-"oriental"/Art Nouveau flourish to it. A little Googling finds that Samoa became a US territory in 1900, and I'm guessing the type was issued around then.

Trying to catch a cab after the show on Twenty-seventh and Broadway was far more dicey than I would have imagined. Clusters of what in another decade might have been termed hoodlums gathered in darkened doorways. A guy selling garish pink and blue fur pelts was talk-yelling animatedly. Was it heavily accented english? Something else entirely? Raised voices could have meant people having a good time or a fight about to break, and there was no easy way to tell.

A highlight of the evening was a chance to see Robert (Warner's) basement workshop in the Village (There's Robert in the mirror, above, left). Though there was a little hesitation on his part-- too many people? delicate sensibilities likely to be offended? embarrassing things left in view? rat poison? -- we prevailed. Down the stairs, through a door, along a narrow dilapidated corridor, right, through another door, out into a small rear courtyard and to the left, by the wooden stairs. We all crowded into the workshop past jars of lamp black and springs, boxes marked "marbles" or "better photographs", piles of papers, Howdy Doody heads, books, toy eyeglasses, drawers open and quietly exploding, and an ample sprinkling of glitter.

When we'd taken in all we could, we went back, around, up and out for some Pan Asian cuisine
at a sprightly little restaurant in the shadow of the Jefferson Market clock tower.


David Bourgeois said...

We love our TypeHigh cards. They're excellent. Thanks! Dave, Nes, Bal

Anonymous said...

Hi Angela,

I work at the Center, and am one of the people there that worked very hard this year (and many previous) to produce an event for artists working in letterpress and book arts to have a venue to sell their work, make some income, gain an audience, and connect with other people in the field. Most years, the Center breaks even on the event- it functions mainly as a community-building event and a marketing opportunity for us. It looks like you guys sold some work and benefited from the experience. So I'm disappointed, to say the least, to read the phrase "Iraqui detention center" which is so inflammatory I can't ignore it. If the Center isn't your cup of tea, then don't come back next year- I'm sure you can find another venue for your work, and I know that that is a really important part of starting a business. But can you avoid the gratuitous insults? It's ungracious, to say the least.
I thought there was a wider range of work this year than in years past- young printmakers and conceptual bookmakers, new letterpress designers, including yourself. I was happy with the mix. I work at the Center, by the way, because I know that while I may be a hip young thing letterpress printer at the moment, I will eventually be a middle-aged woman working in a craft tradition, and therefore rendered completely culturally irrelevant. I'd like to do what I can to reverse that effect.

Thanks for not helping!
Sarah Nicholls
Program Manager
The Center for Book Arts

angela said...


I apologize for comments you may have found unfeeling or insulting
(and these postings are my thoughts, not those of typeHigh or my business partner). Of course it isn't my intent to offend.

I should acknowledge the work and effort the Center puts into the Sale, and that we did indeed benefit.

I've updated the entry with a statement.


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