Shani Avni

Workshop Instructor with Lynne Avadenka

Join us on a Hebrew/Yiddish printing journey and experience the Cary’s Hebrew wood type collection. The RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection is one of the world’s premier rare book library and archive on graphic communication history and practices. Focused on telling the history of printing through original artifacts, the Cary acquired a collection of about forty fonts of Hebrew/Yiddish wood type in 2014. This collection has been carefully cleaned, restored, and cataloged in accordance with established archival practices, and serves its purpose as an accessible historical resource at RIT and online. To supplement this rare collection and accommodate additional printing, the Cary has commissioned new sets of Hebrew/Yiddish typefaces to be cut based on historical patterns. In this workshop, you will have the opportunity to print with these wood typefaces, along with selected Hamilton Latin wood type.

We will begin with talking about the unique story of the Cary’s Hebrew/Yiddish fonts: following the development of immigrant presses in the US and their profound cultural influence on the local population; the story of the Jewish communities and the development of the Hebrew and Yiddish languages; the Hebrew script and its transformation into movable type and the many constraints this entailed. After the presentation and discussion, there will be ample time to work with the type (compose and print) in the Hamilton Print Studio to explore the visual qualities of the Hebrew alphabet.

Knowledge of Hebrew/Yiddish not necessary.

Shani Avni

Shani Avni is the Ismar David Visiting Assistant Curator at the RIT Cary Graphic Arts Collection since 2020. She holds a BA in Graphic Design from Shenkar College, Israel and an MA in Typeface Design from the University of Reading, UK. For her thesis she researched The David Hebrew typeface family and, since receiving her degree, continues to do so. She designs, researches, teaches, consults, writes and lectures on Jewish typography and perseveres in her efforts to make historical information accessible in order to strengthen the connections between the academic and practical spheres.