The Typewriter at 1888.center

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It has been two years since The Typewriter: A Graphic History of the Beloved Machine was released into the world. It feels so very long ago! But when I think of all the books and magazines I've released in those months... 8 issues of UPPERCASE, plus Feed Sacks, Stitch*illo and Botanica... it is safe to say I've kept myself busy since then.

It was a book I felt compelled to create—not only from a personal interest in typewriters and, in particular, their associated memorabilia and ephemera—but because there wasn't yet a book that chronicled this graphic history of typewriters. Since 2015, there have been a number of typewriter-related books released, each with their own perspectives. There's also a new film called California Typewriter by Doug Nichol (currently playing at Toronto's Hot Docs) that features famed typewriter collector Tom Hanks, among others. (Although the director originally contacted me about being part of his film, his project took a different direction. Alas, I missed my one-and-only chance to be in a movie with Tom Hanks!)

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So even if my brush with Hanks and Hollywood didn't come to pass, there's a bit of my typewriter project living on in the vicinity: a selection of my vintage ads is currently on display at 1888.center, a creative community writing space, coffeehouse and bookshop in Orange, California.

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I'm happy to say that my book is still very unique its direction and the quality of its graphic design and production. And since the subject matter is already out-of-date, the ephemera collected within the book only get older and more interesting. (Like the rest of us, one hopes!)

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The exhibition is up through November. I was also interviewed by Jon-Barrett Ingels for the center's podcast: The How, The Why. Click here to listen as we chat typewriters and publishing, two things that go very well together!

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The Typewriter can be purchased in person at 1888.center, via my webshop if you're in North America and for folks overseas, it is available through Central Books. It makes a wonderful gift for writers, typewriter lovers and design history enthusiasts!

Photo by The Paper Trail Diary. Read their review of the book  here .

Photo by The Paper Trail Diary. Read their review of the book here.

1348 pages of content created in 2015!

The end of the year's always a time for reflection—and for making resolutions and plans! Please join me in looking at the past year at UPPERCASE... and find out how you can be in the magazine next year!

This has been one amazing year. It started with a lot of travel: In January I was in Austin, Texas to help judge hundreds of beautiful quilts in for QuiltCon. (That's me in a very cute fabric store in Austin.) It felt like I was barely home before I was on a 32-hour odyssey to Australia to speak at the Perth Writer's Festival and then the Creative Women's Circle in Melbourne. I spoke at the HOW conference in Chicago in May, I was in Toronto in June for the National Magazine Awards, onward to Portland in October... it's a wonder I got anything done this year with so much time away.

But now that I look at it all, it sure stacks up. UPPERCASE published a whopping 1348 printed pages of content in 2015. Thank you to all my amazing contributors—the writers and photographers and illustrators and crafters who make such inspiring content. Thank you to all the readers who submitted their work for inclusion. Thank you to Correy Baldwin for copy editing. Thank you to Chris Young at Prolific for handling the printing on all these projects (except for The Typewriter which was printed by Asia Pacific Offset). Thank you to my husband Glen Dresser for his assistance in writing The Compendium, his contributions to the magazine and for taking on customer service recently.

Let's see how all those pages add up:

UPPERCASE 24: January/February/March 2015  
116 pages  

If I were to play favourites, I'd have to say that issue 24 is mine—I love the illustration by Andrea D'Aquino and each of the 10,000 copies had a piece of antique feed sack fabric applied to the cover! The feed sack swatches were sent in by readers from all over and it was such fun to receive little bits of fabric in the mail. (This issue sold out quickly and will not be reprinted... however, a book project has emerged from this issue, it's in the very early stages and I look forward to sharing more! If you've got a feed sack collection, please get in touch!)

UPPERCASE 25: April/May/June 2015  
116 pages

This issue is dedicated to printmaking in all its forms. The cover is by Joey Hannaford. The Profiles in Printmaking section introduces dozens of talented readers who work in everything from monotypes to risograph to letterpress to collographs. Subscribers enjoyed a free printmaking sample inserted into their issues. Get issue 25 here. (Photo by stockist Tiny Feast.)

UPPERCASE 26: July/August/September 2015  
116 pages

I do love little bits of paper. And stamps? They tell such great stories. The cover is by Richard Benson and features fancy cancels. Subscribers were treated to a glassine envelope of vintage stamps inserted into their issue. Thank you to a dedicated group of stamp-sorting, envelope-stuffing philatelists who got thousands of envelopes ready for subscribers. Get issue 26 here.

UPPERCASE 27: October/November/December 2015  
116 pages

This issue has a focus on new illustration talent as well as articles about creative education, wonder and the secrets to longevity (in a creative field). Get issue 27 here (it's now listed as a back issue, so add it to your cart with other back issues and you'll pay less per issue.) Cover by Brian Hurst.

The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine
336 pages + 16-page insert

Of all the projects this year, this one was the toughest. I spent three years working on this epic visual history of typewriter ephemera. To say that I'm glad it's done is an understatement. The project certainly tested my stamina and "stick-to-it-iveness", but it got done! And now that I have a few months separating me and all the work, it feels even better. The book got a great full-page review in Canada's national newspaper. Purchase it here. (If you're in Europe, get the book through Central Books.)

The UPPERCASE Compendium of Craft & Creativity
384 pages

My most recent book project, it was exactly a year ago that this project began with a call for entries in my newsletter. Featuring 66 artisans, artists and craftspeople from around the world, the Compendium is look into what's happening in craft right now. I look forward to doing a second edition... maybe every couple of years? Order it here. (If you're in Europe, my distributor Central Books will have the book in about a month—ask your local bookseller to stock it through them.)

UPPERCASE 28: Jan/Feb/Mar 2016
116 pages

The new issue is mailing out to subscribers right now! It will be arriving in mailboxes in the next few weeks. This was the best year ever for Gift Subscriptions. Well done, Santa! Subscribe here. Cover of old bus tickets from the collection of Kindra Murphy.

UPPERCASE Creative Calendar 2016
32 pages

For subscribers as of December 17, you'll get a free insert of this fun and inspiring calendar. Keep your creativity on track everyday next year. (Subscribe here to be part of future subscriber-only benefits like this.) Cover by Tara Lilly.


With such a busy year behind me I'm really enjoying a holiday pace right now. I've been taking it slow and being crafty. My problem is that with more time to be contemplative and space to think... I keep coming up with new ideas! Three book ideas for 2016? The launch of Little U? Plus all the regular UPPERCASE magazine-y goodness? 

I can't wait to dive in!

2015 started out with quilts and fabric... and it has ended that way, too! With my very own collection with Windham Fabrics!!! Look for a sneak peek in issue 28.

I'm going to QuiltCon in February. Are you? I will be giving a 30-minute presentation... any suggestions? Want to meet up for an UPPERCASE event?

 

Calls for Submissions

There are two new open calls for the spring issue. I expect to get a lot of submissions on these topics, so the open call ends on January 15. 

Folded
Submit creative projects in which folds and folding are integral to its execution and design. Projects can be in any material, medium or scale. Submit here.

Book Arts
Book arts, unusual book designs, artist's books, intriguing book formats, books as sculpture, books that aren't books... projects in which the concept of a book is the starting point for creative exploration. Submit here.

Free shipping on The Typewriter this weekend!

The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine has received fine reviews in both the Globe and Mail and Toronto Star this weekend!  

As an independent publisher, it's exciting to see a relatively small project (and labour of love!) like this recognized in mainstream media. The drawback is that it is not so easy to get independently published books in bookstores! So if you've read the article and are new to UPPERCASE, here are the stores that carry The Typewriter. I've also got FREE SHIPPING on this book until Monday, wherever you may be in North America. (If you're outside of North America, contact Central Books in London to get your copy.)

CANADA

Vancouver Art Gallery Store, Vancouver, BC
Paper Ya, Vancouver, BC
Stepback, Vancouver, BC

Shelf Life Books, Calgary, AB
Owl's Nest Books, Calgary, AB
Gingko & Ink Atelier, Banff, AB

Soul Paper, Saskatoon, SK
Paper Umbrella, Regina, SK

Tiny Feast, Winnipeg, MB

Curiosity House Books, Creemore, ON
Mixed Media, Hamilton, ON

Inkwell Boutique, Halifax, NS
 

USA

Land / BuyOlympia.com, Portland, OR
Noun, Portland, OR
Reading Frenzy, Portland, OR

Hennessey + Ingalls, Los Angeles, CA
Seaside Paper, Coronado, CA

Moxy Modern Mercantile, Little Rock, AR

girl friday: Lindsay Lusby

A hand-sewn cover for traditional typewriter sized to fit Lindsay's 1950s Remington Rand manual typewriter. Constructed from fabric and thread found in a flea market.

A hand-sewn cover for traditional typewriter sized to fit Lindsay's 1950s Remington Rand manual typewriter. Constructed from fabric and thread found in a flea market.

When people love typewriters, it seems that they really love typewriters! Lindsay Lusby expresses this affection with handmade covers, keeping the old machines cozy and dust-free.

LINDSAY LUSBY

LINDSAY LUSBY

"My name is Lindsay Lusby and I am the mind and face and hands behind Thread Lock Press. I have many loves but chief among them are poetry, letterpress printing, bookbinding, hand-sewing, and typewriters. I love the machinery of words. The keys and springs and cranks and cast-iron metal of it. And I love the softness of handmade and mouldmade papers and fabrics with vintage patterns and imperfect hand-stitched threads. I see Thread Lock Press as a way to combine and celebrate all of these things in various manifestations.

When I adopted my typewriter Hildegard, I wanted to give her the best. She needed a cover but in my searching, all I could find were some ugly translucent plastic ones. I wanted something a bit more decorative for my typewriter, something cozier. My typewriter cozies keep the dust out of the keys and cogs, and add a bit of color and personality to any writing desk.

I first started printing with antique letterpress and bookbinding under Master Printer Mike Kaylor at Washington College in 2006. It was dirty, tedious, my hands always came away covered in a thick lead dust—and I loved it. I graduated with a BA in English and Creative Writing and a deep urge to make words into tactile things."

Visit Lindsay's Etsy shop Thread Lock Press for typewriter covers, letterpressed poetry and denim printer's aprons.

girl friday: Miss Millicent Woodward

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In the spirit of Olympic competition, this Girl Friday is Miss Millicent Woodward, Champion Speed Typist of Europe. Excelling at speed and accuracy was a desirable trait in a typist and competitions to highlight the best of the best were popular. Typewriter manufacturers used the opportunity to promote their own machines since the winners' talents were enabled by the fine mechanisms of their chosen machines. For the record, from the back of this postcard:

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Miss Millicent Woodward's Records

Dictation … 173 words per minute

Copying and carrying on a coversation at the same time … 152 words per minute

Dictation whilst blindfolded … 169 words per minute

Memorised Sentences … 239 words per minute

These are the latest records of Miss Millicent Woodward, and although she secured the Championship of Great Britain by means of her wonderful versatility, she was only able to create what are now recognised as THE RECORDS and become the European Champion by using the ROYAL MASTER MODEL TYPEWRITER.

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On Fridays I will be sharing an image from my typewriter ephemera collection. Specifically those depicting the typist. Though men were initially common typists and office assistants, the job of secretary became stereotyped as a woman's role.

The name 'Friday' comes from the novel Robinson Crusoe published in 1719 "whose shipwrecked hero named the young native who became his faithful companion for the day of the week when he found him." (Dictionary.com) The name 'man Friday' was often used to refer to one's best servant or right-hand man. In 1940, a Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell motion picture entitled "His Girl Friday" came to theatres popularizing the reference 'Girl Friday'. Invariably, since women secretaries worked for men— and to refer to a woman as a girl is not acceptable*—the term is now outdated.

And yet, when studying the history of the typewriter, one cannot escape the sexism of the era in which the machine was invented and later popularized. Though the typewriter brought women into the workforce and contributed to emancipation, in many respects it later tied women to limiting roles. 

For the purpose of these "girl friday" posts, I share these images with respect and admiration to the generations of women before us.

*In my first "real job" post-college, I had an older male boss who would often refer to me as 'girl'. Though I'm shy and soft-spoken by nature, I could not stand for this behaviour and I mustered my courage to correct him. "You may call me Janine or Ms Vangool," I remember saying, "but not girl." I got a raise. He slipped into his old ways a few times over the course of the next months, and each time I spoke up. By the end of those long nine months I stayed at the job, I had doubled my salary. But more importantly, I learned that just because I was shy, I still had confidence in my skills and self-worth. Since leaving that job some sixteen years ago, I've been my own boss ever since.