September 20, 2016

Wisconsin love: Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum

Modern use of old-style type: layers and playful letterforms topped with white ink (fun!)

Friends, I have been on the email list for Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum for years. Once I realized we were going to be in town seeing their museum was on my "must" list! My peoples did not agree and spent the same hours at the laundromat and the library. Hee. I was happy to go by myself anyway.

A set of woodtype
This image is GIANT! Like 4 feet tall and it was carved in one huge piece of wood.
For someone like myself with a background in graphic design, an education in typography, an interest in history, and a delight in visual inspiration this place was a playground! I was so pleased to have time to wander and study at my leisure. The only thing that would have made it better was if the timing had been right for me to take part in one of their day-long workshops. I hope to make it to one someday!

This display gives you a rough idea how printing works.
There is a plate for each individual ink color. In this case, they are carved out of wood.
Printed one at a time on top of each other results in the final image.
Not only has the museum done an amazing job of showcasing, documenting, and preserving the history of Hamilton (check out the videos on YouTube!) but they've taken steps to be quite forward thinking as well. They host workshops, they have on-site artists and interns, and they continue to expand their collection of wood type as they accept and slowly organize enormous donations of wood type from other locations (one such donation was 6 semi-truck loads full!). There is some amazing work being done by some very passionate people.

I have multiple photos of these images displaying available border designs. I am a bit obsessed.
I can't wait to sit down with my sketchbook and play with these.

First off – the giant number 5! Awesome. Second, metallic ink – ooh la la!

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