01 February 2010

Starting work at the Dawson Room

Calligrapher, illustrator and Albion wrangler Jack McMaster and I drove into Halifax tonight to lend a hand at the Dawson Printshop, which is housed at the Nova Scotia College or Art and Design. There was a good number in attendance for this the second meeting of the loose association of letterpress folk and Dawson Printshop supporters. Type designer Rod McDonald kicked things off by showing off his copy of the beautiful of portfolio Wood Type of the Angelica Press, published in an edition of 200 copies by the The Angelica Press of New York in 1976.

So inspired, we set to work. The collection has been in a bit of disarray since its move from the care of one university to another. There are many galleys of type to sort and distribute, and much reorganization to undertake. The hard part with a job this large is just knowing where to begin.

While others sorted cuts and furniture, Jack McMaster and I started into the galleys of mismatched sorts and pied fonts of wooden type, trying to reunite lost letters with their kinfolk. Jack took on a saintly glow standing under the low fluorescent lighting of the type cellar.

Rod and I discovered an unopened package of 30 point Helvetica Medium foundry type, direct from Stempel in Germany. Everywhere I looked my suspicions about this collection’s interest, utility and overall value to the college and the community were further confirmed.


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