flea fun: typewriters & tea cups

Paige's lucky table! 

Paige's lucky table! 

I purchased this toy machine. It will polish up nicely for inclusion in The Typewriter book. 

I purchased this toy machine. It will polish up nicely for inclusion in The Typewriter book. 

I'm having a terrific weekend for typewriter sightings! My friend Paige and I combed the aisles of the St Laurence flea market here in Toronto this morning. I always enjoy going to flea markets with Paige. We both love old stuff, but she's also a great companion because we're each on the lookout for different things, so we're not competing for the ultimate find!

Visit my Instagram feed to see more vintage finds (all of which stayed behind at the tables).

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I'm willing to suffer new shoe discomforts for a glimpse downward at my new striped sandals.

I'm willing to suffer new shoe discomforts for a glimpse downward at my new striped sandals.

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The Typewriter: goal reached!

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You did it! Thanks to your generosity, the funding goal of $25,000 for The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine has been met. The amount will be used towards production and print costs for this forthcoming book.

Now it is my turn to get the book finished!

The production schedule has been delayed—having to find a new studio really put a wrench into my plans and out of necessity I had to put the project aside for a few months. But rest assured that this book will be available just as soon as it can be. I'm very excited to start sharing images from the book with you.

Thank you to everyone for your continued support of my publishing endeavours. I am very grateful and motivated by your enthusiasm.

(If you'd like to preorder the book, you can do so right here at "The Standard" level. I will leave the perks up for a few more days before taking them off the site.)

type tuesday: Jonathan Boyd

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Upon discovering Jonathan Boyd's work through Flow Gallery's current exhibiition, I'm at a loss for words. wow.

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"Jonathan’s work deals with the strange and complex relationships that exist between object, written language and the body. Interested in how language can shape thoughts about an object and its context, his works often being inspired by the text’s narrative."

I believe that some of the letterforms are from typewriters and apparently he has designed a typewriter to type out his own handwriting.

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guy friday: typewriter show and tell with Smokeproof Press

Brad's collection of typewriters are housed in their cases on a shelving system he devised.

Brad's collection of typewriters are housed in their cases on a shelving system he devised.

During my last few hours in Boulder, I was happily surprised with an invitation to visit Brad O'Sullivan's letterpress studio. (We featured Smokeproof Press back in issue #8's Letterpress Sampler. Copies are still available for sale in our shop.)

Thank you to Allison of Bird Dog Press for making this happen and for my Crafting Content partner-in-crime Heide Murray of All Good Wishes who also drove me to the airport after our visit. (Check out Heide's amazing felt creatures.)

Brad shows us one of his many machines. 

Brad shows us one of his many machines. 

A gorgeous "Floating Shift" key.

A gorgeous "Floating Shift" key.

Allison and Heide admire the details.

Allison and Heide admire the details.

An Italian Olivetti art deco-era in mint condition.

An Italian Olivetti art deco-era in mint condition.

An Hermes Rocket in hot orange.

An Hermes Rocket in hot orange.

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A later model Hermes Rocket is workhorse grey.

A later model Hermes Rocket is workhorse grey.

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For me, the ephemera of typewriters are part of the appeal.

For me, the ephemera of typewriters are part of the appeal.

An Odell Typewriter wooden box.

An Odell Typewriter wooden box.

Thanks, Brad, for climbing up and retrieving one amazing machine after another.

Thanks, Brad, for climbing up and retrieving one amazing machine after another.

A cursive model.

A cursive model.

Brad saves ink samples in old film cannisters, with typewritten labels of course.

Brad saves ink samples in old film cannisters, with typewritten labels of course.

In addition to the typewriter collection, there were plenty of things to keep an eye happy at Smokeproof Press.

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Note the collection of UPPERCASE magazines on the upper shelves!

Note the collection of UPPERCASE magazines on the upper shelves!

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Thanks again, Brad, Allison and Heide for your hospitality.

typewriter update

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The Typewriter: a Graphic History of the Beloved Machine is just about at our goal! We're just $1,690 away.... please pledge to one of the various levels of support and get the book plus a project perk. Or simply preorder the book for $45 (we would need to sell 38 preordered copies, for example.) It would be great to see this reach 100% this week!

There's an interesting article on the Dell website about our project and the challenges of crowdfunding outside of the popular Kickstarter platform.

girl friday: toutes les filles veulent êtres secrétaire

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A French romantic comedy set in the high-stakes world of typewriting competitions? Mais oui! C'est Populaire!

Spring, 1958. 21-year-old Rose Pamphyle lives with her grouchy widower father who runs the village store. Engaged to the son of the local mechanic, she seems destined for the quiet, drudgery-filled life of a housewife. But that's not the life Rose longs for. When she travels to Lisieux in Normandy, where charismatic insurance agency boss Louis Echard is advertising for a secretary, the ensuing interview is a disaster. But Rose reveals a special gift—she can type at extraordinary speed. Unwittingly, the young woman awakens the dormant sports fan in Louis. If she wants the job she'll have to compete in a speed typing competition. Whatever sacrifices Rose must make to reach the top, Louis declares himself her trainer. He'll turn her into the fastest girl not only in the country, but in the world! But a love of sport doesn't always mix well with love itself ... IMDB

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Ridiculous concept? oui.
Sexist? oui.
Amazing locations, costumes and period detail? oui.
Do I want to test my rusty grade school French immersion skills? oui.
Do I want to see it? mais, oui!

typewriter fun with florals

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If you follow me on Instagram, you'd have seen a flurry of floral typewriter pictures this afternoon. I was experimenting with photos (digital camera, Polaroid, Instagram) for some the Typewriter Notecard collaboration with Chronicle Books.

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TYPEWRITER NOTECARDS is a boxed set of 20 notecards and envelopes featuring photographs of vintage typewriters, taken by UPPERCASE readers. It will combine our love of this outdated-but-not-forgotten icon into beautiful notecards suitable for a variety of occasions.

There's still time to get your photographic submissions in! Full details are right here.

Girl Friday: Jessica Brilli

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I received a submission this week to share with you. I had already bookmarked Jessica's paintings before but they definitely merit posting on the blog!

Jessica Brilli explores the beauty in artifacts that have withstood a radical transition of function—from practical use to design inspiration and decor. These artifacts have an immediate and lasting appeal, now captured in Brilli’s paintings. 

Although many of the objects—vintage typewriters, cameras, and radios—are not widely used anymore, they still have a place in our lives, for admiring and remembering more than using. Brilli investigates our cultural fascination with near-obsolete commodities. Will today’s technological devices have a similar effect in the future, or will their impression be fleeting because of their transient nature?

Jessica is a graphic designer/painter living in Quincy, MA. She works at The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. "I design by day, and paint by night," she writes.

love or no love?

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LOVE LOVE LOVE by UPPERCASE The poster I designed in 2009 and sold via my website. It was designed by typing the word love with various pressures on my Royal typewriter and then scanning and enlarging the results. See the original blog post here.

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LOVE LOVE LOVE by The Gap This week, Eleanor came to work wearing this shirt. This isn't a new shirt, she recalls purchasing it maybe three years ago which would place both designs to the same time period (and right when my posters were making the blog rounds). This design from The Gap uses various weights of the font Trixie. 

What do you think? Creative coincidence or lazy knockoff? Love or no love for The Gap?

However this tshirt came to be, it is old news now. And that's the thing... it is so difficult to police your designs once they are out on the web and in the world. If Eleanor hadn't worn the shirt to work, I would have never seen this design so very similar to my own. In the course of design career, my work has been copied and blatantly ripped off a few times. Unfortunately, there has been a case quite recently where I could very obviously trace the path from my work directly to some other company's product. In fact, I could overlay their design onto my original and trace the similarities in fonts, angles and placement of elements—let alone that the overall impression of the design was that it looked like it was by UPPERCASE. I sent polite but firm letters to the offenders, consulted with a lawyer and was very disappointed with my lack of choices to see the wrongs made right. Ultimately, I decided that I could not commit the time, emotional energy or funds to pursue it and I had to just "let it go". But the disappointment lingers and I wonder how the infringement will affect my income. It is very hard to let it go.

NOT LETTING GO: ANOTHER TSHIRT TALE

Modern Dog is a Seattle-based design firm who is standing up to the big guys in another case of infringement on a tshirt. They have chosen to fight, at considerable expense and effort. In order to offset the costs, they have set up a website which accepts donations to help in their legal bills. I made a small donation to show my support. 

Modern Dog writes: "Compelled to make things right, we entered into a lawsuit that is now a year in the making. If anyone had asked me a year ago if I thought this case would drag out for months, I would have said no. I naively believed that this case would be settled in a few weeks.

Boy, was I wrong.

We find ourselves in a battle with some of the biggest corporations in the world, and we have no idea how long and hard they intend to fight as they have seemingly unlimited resources. Our jury trial date is not until September 2013, in that time the process could easily bankrupt us. We need money to see this case go to trial; money for depositions, forensic accounting, expert witness testimonies, and other expenses related to the case.

In June of 2012, I made the decision to sell our Greenwood house, partly to reduce our overhead expenses, and partly to fund the lawsuit. I realize now that we are in it for the long haul. I cried the day I handed the new owners the keys, but I also felt a sense of relief because I knew that I personally would be able to help my company fight."

Please help the underdogs.

And do your part when it comes to respecting intellectual property. Know the difference between inspiration and infringement. Don't put images on Pinterest if you don't know who created them. Don't repin or post without attribution. Give credit where credit it due.

typewriter notecards call for submissions

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Would you like to collaborate with UPPERCASE and be published by Chronicle Books? Doesn't that sound amazing?

TYPEWRITER NOTECARDS is a boxed set of 20 notecards and envelopes featuring Polaroid or lo-fi/retro-inspired photographs of vintage typewriters, taken by UPPERCASE readers. It will combine our love of outdated technologies into beautiful notecards suitable for a variety of occasions. Chronicle Books plans to publish it for the Spring 2014 season as a follow-up to Shoegazing Notecards, curated and designed by UPPERCASE editor Janine Vangool.

We look forward to your submissions! Please keep in mind that the images will be used for notecards, so we will be looking for images appropriate for a variety of occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries and weddings, Valentine's Day, Mother's Day, friendship, thanks, general greetings, etc. The typewriter should be a prominent, but not necessarily an exclusive element in the photograph. Typewritten text, keys, hands, fingers and other props are all ok. If a person is represented we prefer no faces (for example, a person typing as seen from behind, or perhaps wearing a hat or with their face somewhat obscured thus making the card more universally appealing rather than a portrait of a specific person.)

CLICK HERE FOR THE SUBMISSION DETAILS. >>>

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.

a visit to berkeley typewriter

About a month ago, we were in San Francisco for the Evernote conference. We hadn't been to Berkeley before, so we took the train to go explore. There was really only one place on my sight-seeing list: Berkeley Typewriters.

Jesse Banuelos demonstrates some features of an older machine.

Jesse Banuelos demonstrates some features of an older machine.

All of the typewriters have had their share of love—and neglect.

All of the typewriters have had their share of love—and neglect.

The general jumble of the old and very old.

The general jumble of the old and very old.

The owners know what sells, so they paint certain typewriters red!

The owners know what sells, so they paint certain typewriters red!

A Selectric in non-original red paint.

A Selectric in non-original red paint.

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This machine was originally sold by Berkeley typewriters in the 1950s and has made its way home to the shelf once again. This particular typewriter sold to a young woman and her mother; after some debate they had returned to purchase it even though it was priced at over $500.

This machine was originally sold by Berkeley typewriters in the 1950s and has made its way home to the shelf once again. This particular typewriter sold to a young woman and her mother; after some debate they had returned to purchase it even though it was priced at over $500.

Of course, everyone wants to try before they buy!

Of course, everyone wants to try before they buy!

After introducing myself as visiting from Canada (and showing him my business card that depicts my red Royal typewriter) Mr. Banuelos let me take photos of his workspace. 

After introducing myself as visiting from Canada (and showing him my business card that depicts my red Royal typewriter) Mr. Banuelos let me take photos of his workspace. 

In such a place, keeping track of the days going by is perhaps a good thing. One could easily lose track.

In such a place, keeping track of the days going by is perhaps a good thing. One could easily lose track.

With more than four decades of typewriter repair, the organization and systems at Berkeley typewriter are definitely their own.

With more than four decades of typewriter repair, the organization and systems at Berkeley typewriter are definitely their own.

The Royal Quiet Deluxe is always a favourite.

The Royal Quiet Deluxe is always a favourite.

But wait, there's more! A peek into the back room.

But wait, there's more! A peek into the back room.

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Berkeley Typewriter in Berkeley, California. If you're in the neighbourhood, stop in for fresh ribbon.

Berkeley Typewriter in Berkeley, California. If you're in the neighbourhood, stop in for fresh ribbon.

girl friday: meet Trixie

Nicole Geller Photography

Thank you for all your support of The Typewriter project. I'm working on updating the latest total! In the meantime, I wanted to share this photo that Judy sent my way. Judy writes:

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I just contributed to helping your new Typewriter book get published. I have a few vintage typewriters myself. Several typewriter accessories, vintage pencils, school boxes, items that have life and continue to work. When I read about your new book, I had to get this photo taken for you. My dog happens to be a canine model (yes there is such a thing). Meet Trixie, an Italian Greyhound and my Royal typewriter.

As as dog model, designers send her clothes to model. Her big moment was a Halloween contest where she was dressed up like Audrey Hepburn—wig, tiara, pearl necklace and all. She was a hit, made the newspaper and so her career began. She was a finalist in America's Top Dog model contest and appeared in their calendar in 2009. She found her calling, she's a ham in front of the camera. I am convinced watching her work with a photographer that she knows what they are saying and what her to do on set. Agility training with her helped me learn signals and commands they we use on set. Of course a piece of chicken helps too.

She has been everything from Cleopatra, Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, Cinderella to a Toddler and Tiara contestant. This year she will be a Pan Am flight attendant. Imagine trying to explain to a designer I found on Etsy that makes reproductions of the Pan Am uniforms for people... can you make one for my dog? All her contest winnings and earnings are donated to rescue groups. Also the national rescue group for Italian Greyhounds auctions off many of the dresses she models. She also helps by donating to the military service dogs and their handlers overseas. Dogs can teach us so much, sometimes we have to listen to them even though they don't use words.

Trixie is featured in and on the cover of the new 2012 book by Jo Jo Harder, "How to Become a Top Dog Model.

Thanks again for creating such an amazing magazine. I am not a designer, can't draw, sew or such, but inspired by those that can. My background is from an ad agency, account executive, so I learned to inspire and direct talent over the years. That fun bridge between creative and clients, always done with "kit gloves" on.

Your magazine creates an environment for anyone to find their voice. Oh—and I just purchased a pink Royal typewriter! Adding to my collection. Too exciting.

Dream Big Always,

Judy

Twitter: @PawsUpTrixie
Website: www.TrixieTalk.com

FUN FACT:

Did you know that Trixie is also the name of the typewriter font made famous as the X in X-Files television show?

book recommendation: Ruby Star Wrapping

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One of the perks about being an editor of a magazine is that publishers generously send preview copies of forthcoming books in the hopes that you will promote the title. There's quite a stack of books awaiting my review—now that issue #15 is off my plate, I'll start sharing the best titles here on the blog (read about Louise Fili's new book here). Ruby Star Wrapping: Creating Packaging to Reuse, Regive & Relove by Melody Miller and Allison Tannery is a standout and was moved right to the top of the pile. The submission included a letter from the book's publicist, Jennifer Campaniolo at Roost Books, but also a handwritten note from Melody and some actual finished crafts from the book. The book preview sent was just a black and white printout, but even from that (and without the goodies), I could tell that the book is beautiful. (Flip through a digital preview over here.)

In reading the book, I quickly discovered why the book is so beautiful... Of course it features the bright and quirky textile designs of Melody Miller, but the book's stunning product and style photographs are by her husband, Greg Miller. The book's design is by writer Allison Tannery's husband, Blake Tannery. Ruby Star Wrapping is obviously a labour of love for everyone involved. Each has brought their exceptional talents to this book, a publication that is all about giving gifts in beautiful packages.

The projects in Ruby Star Wrapping are really easy to accomplish. Those who are naturally crafty might not necessarily need a book with instructions on how to, say, sew a drawstring bag or turn a cereal box inside-out and decorate it... However, I think much of this simplicity is on purpose; this is a book about making the packaging for gifts, so a quick and easy assembly is actually an asset. Perhaps when the gift itself is less creative, like the ubiquitous gift card, then the presentation can become more elaborate, like this Gift Card Truck Softie.

This pillow with pocket is a double gift: the pocket is meant for a gift card.

This pillow with pocket is a double gift: the pocket is meant for a gift card.

The use of vintage and repurposed fabrics emphasizes the ethos of the book: why give a gift in wrap that is thrown away? Give something where the entirety, packaging included, is the gift.

The use of vintage and repurposed fabrics emphasizes the ethos of the book: why give a gift in wrap that is thrown away? Give something where the entirety, packaging included, is the gift.

While the crafts might be simple, the gorgeous styling and photography elevate the content from just a how-to book into a lifestyle book. This is the kind of pretty craft book that you just enjoy looking through... it gives you that joyful boost of encouragement: "yes! I can do this at home!" As a book designer (and publisher) this is the kind of book that I personally love to see; where all elements have been considered and come together seamlessly.

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I have seen Melody's typewriter print fabric a lot lately; it seems a favourite with Etsy sellers. Melody included a length of fabric inside a gift box covered with the design. I asked Melody about the typewriter motif:

I don’t currently own a typewriter, but I’m always looking for objects to include in my designs that are meaningful and nostalgic without necessarily being kitschy. The typewriter just happened to strike the right chord. I still remember the rare occasions when my mother borrowed and brought home a typewriter from the bank where she worked. I felt supernaturally strong carrying it around in its case (I had never been allowed to pick up something so important!), and would beg to use it when my mother was finished. Sitting at a table hitting all those keys fulfilled my every fantasy of being grown up and busy and important.
— MELODY MILLER

Ruby Star Wrapping is available here.

a model man

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As part of my research for The Typewriter book, I am looking at a lot of old ads spanning the last century. The ads are full of images of people: models, mystery hands... men, women and children (and the occasional fox) employed at the time to represent the typewriting experience in some way. For the most part, they remain uncredited, anonymous folks from decades ago. Imagine my surprise and delight when Amy Rowan emailed to share these photos and ads starring her grandfather!

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Her grandfather, George Thomas Fitzsimons, was a model in the 20s and 30s. 

He and I were very close, Monday, September 10th will be the seventh anniversary of his passing. I believe I got much of my creativity from him. He was an inventor and a tinkerer (a mechanic by trade) and always taking pictures with his modified point-n-shoot. I put a selection of his modeling portfolio on flickr. There you can read the intro I wrote for the book I made for family. He supported his family during the depression (his two siblings were also in show business but not as successful). He has a small appearance in the 1932 Oscar-winning movie The Grand Hotel, but it's only a flash of him as a bellhop and then he's gone. He starred in a silent movie, you can see images from that in the photo pool. I could relay a million different stories—his brushes with death at a Macy's shoot, getting picked up in a limo in his small town, refusing to undress for a swimming scene... I guess his greatest achievement as a model was sitting for Norman Rockwell.

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Thank you, Amy, for sharing your grandfather's story.

Mrs. Drysdale's Circus

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I received this intriguing press release about a show by the Blue Horse Folk Art Gallery and wanted to share it with you verbatim:

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After touring the hinterlands for several years, Mrs Drysdale feels her troupe is ready for the Big Time. The first public performance in the great metropolis of Vancouver will take place in the heart of downtown, at the dramatic Pendulum Gallery. As a result of her world travels, she has assembled many new, exotic, and never-before-seen, acts. For example - Jacque Pierrot the Cat MasterBunny Bishop and his Wing Walkers, and the World's Only Tapir Race! The troupe is privileged and honoured to be performing for the sophisticated Vancouver audience! Once again, we emphasize, they must be seen to be believed. Do not fail, if possible, to be among the number at our opening reception, Thursday, September 13th, from 6 - 8pm. RSVP on our Facebook event page!

Show Schedule: Monday, September 10th to Saturday, September 22nd, at the Pendulum Gallery in Vancouver (885 West Georgia Street across from the Vancouver Art Gallery).  

Sounds like a fun event for those of you in Vancouver!