I went to visit our sister (museum).
If you don't have a sister you've been deprived of something/someone very special. Sisters take care of you, sisters make sure you have enough to eat, sisters show you crannies of the universe you didn't know existed. This is the case with Hamilton Wood Type's sister museum, Tipoteca Italiana, located north of Venice, Italy, in the charming town of Cornuda.
Since 2013 Hamilton and Tipoteca have enjoyed a cross-Atlantic collaboration as family members in the world of printing museums. Hosting classes, showcasing speakers, selling merchandise and, of course, printing for each other.
The latest family reunion took place in late June 2017 when I spent a 10 day residency at Tipoteca, exploring their wood type wonders, leading a printing workshop and making insects out of typography. Call it a working vacation.
Tipoteca is hosted by the gracious Sandro Berra, Michela Antiga, Daniele Fachin, Leonardo Fachin, Laura Casagrande and Lucio Bottoselle. This band of merry typesters treat every guest of the museum like a long-lost relative. And when you're a blood relative you get the deluxe treatment.
Like Hamilton Wood Type, Tipoteca hosts a jaw-dropping collection of wood type from the 1860s to the 1950s. Their special focus on Art Nouveau and Art Deco fonts make for a rich visual feast. They also offer a half dozen cylinder and platten presses that printers can use to bring those fonts to life.
Since 1999 I have explored a hybrid of insects and typography that I call Letterbugs. I believe that type and bugs are long-lost cousins who just need to get reaquainted. And Tipoteca's stunning geometry of modernist fonts provided the fertile ground for this reunion.
Below are some snapshots from the trip.
The Venetian island of Burano provided color inspiration for ink choices.
Tipoteca's immaculately organized wood type collection can be found in the heart of the museum.
The biggest challenge: which fonts to choose?
I was lucky to have the help of letterpress friends Eva DeLa Rocha, Clara DePaúl, Ferena Lenzi and Sandro Berra.
Tipoteca's Futurist fonts made for some unexpected letterform combinations. These glyphs will
form the bodies of new Letterbugs. Heads and legs for the bugs will be added later using Hamilton's collection
of wood type.
& then, there's this . . .
Don't forget to break for dinner and note taking.
Back to printing!
More inspiration from local signage.
Washing up the press between color changes.
Thanks to Eva and Clara for good color suggestions!
My brothers in print, Sandro Berra and Daniele Fachin. Grazie mille!