By AIGA Charlotte guest blogger Cecilia Payseur
We’ve all experienced it; it’s 2 a.m., there are fifteen tabs open on your web browser, a galaxy of links from your favorite design blogs. You’re running the gamut of emotions. Reading, bookmarking, absorbing, being inspired, fighting slight tinges of envy, wondering if you should apply for all the design jobs listed on AIGA.org because you could totally see yourself living in Idaho being the rock star in-house designer for a modular homes manufacturer.
In this late night frenzy is how I came across a Fast Co. Design article which brought me to the website for Movable Type, a traveling letterpress truck run by Portland, Oregon’s Kyle Durrie. After perusing a bit, I noticed Movable Type was coming through Virginia and North Carolina. Instead of begging Kyle to come through town myself, I thought she would be more likely to stop by if AIGA were involved.
Six months later I find out that not only is Miss Movable Type herself visiting our city, but that AIGA Charlotte has decided to pull out all the stops by throwing together a weeklong Letterpress Fest. Dream come true? You bet! And not only for me; five minutes is all it took for the three available Movable Type workshops to sell out, and I was fortunate enough to gain a space in one of them.
On a chilly Tuesday morning I met Kyle in her now-infamous truck parked outside of the k2forma design offices in NoDa. The class included fellow designer Meghan Mills and myself. We also encountered multiple visitors including AIGA members, Jim Sherraden from the Nashville institution Hatch Show Print, and local news Channel 36.
Kyle introduced Meghan and I to her home and workspace, built from the ground up with sturdy drawers to house beautifully worn wooden blocks of alphabets and filigree. Plastic snap cases heavy with 14-point Futura and tiny ornamental shapes were exciting to (delicately) rifle through. The countertops display her two presses, an 1837 Golding Official No. 3 tabletop platen press, and a Showcard sign press (the latter was generously donated to her by the Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum).
After giving us a printing tutorial, Kyle set us loose on the presses. Meghan printed her whimsical “Peanut Butter & Jelly” design on the Showcard press, while I used the tabletop press to print my name with decorative ornaments. I was amazed by how little ink it took to print at least 75 pieces which, by utilizing different sized papers with a single simple design, I was able to create business cards, recipe cards, personalized stationery, and bookmarks.
In between fielding questions from the newscaster and dodging cameras, Meghan and I were able to create our own individual projects that we were proud of. The delight garnered from being immersed in Kyle’s letterpress world is one not only understood by designers, but by any person with an admiration for working and creating with their hands.
The satisfaction of having constructed these items ourselves was exactly the experience many designers live for. I imagine it is a mere fraction of the satisfaction Kyle Durrie feels for taking her wonderfully creative and inspirational Movable Type project on the road.
Please visit type-truck.com for a tour date near you!
Cecilia Payseur, AIGA Charlotte Guest Blogger