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Archive for Thursday, March 8, 2012

Mobile print shop promotes moveable type

March 8, 2012

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The Type Truck

Kyle Durrie, a resident of Portland, Oregon, has been driving her "type truck" across the country for the better part of a year. She brings her two small letterpresses and allows visitors to make their own cards. She parked in front of Wonder Fair, 803 Mass., on March 7, 2012. Enlarge video

Sarah Herrmann looks at cards she's just purchased from Kyle Durrie's "type truck," parked outside Wonder Fair gallery, 803 Mass., on March 7, 2012.

Sarah Herrmann looks at cards she's just purchased from Kyle Durrie's "type truck," parked outside Wonder Fair gallery, 803 Mass., on March 7, 2012.

Kyle Durrie likes to think she’s giving people a little bit of new education in a very old subject, one handmade card at a time.

Since June, Durrie, a resident of Portland, Ore., has been touring the country in her “type truck,” a truly moveable moveable-type studio made from a gutted 1982 Chevy step van. So far she has reached at least 123 cities.

Printing like she does as an artist has been around for centuries, she says, but it’s still relevant — and, almost more significantly, “working with your hands in a nondigital format, it’s increasingly rare, and it’s important,” she said.

Parked in front of Wonder Fair, 803 Mass., on Wednesday, Durrie invited folks into the truck to experience firsthand the process of printmaking. She set up one of her two presses — the other is at least 100 years old — with “Ad astra per aspera, Lawrence, Kansas” from woodcut letters and had members of the crowd who participated roll gold ink across them, lay a card on top and roll the press over to create a print.

“I think of the trip as an education opportunity for the community,” she said. “It’s at least a basic education in giving them a feel — a small, firsthand experience.”

She travels largely thanks to fundraising from the creative-donations website Kickstarter.com, and finds galleries, universities and print shops to park near.

Meredith Moore, co-owner of Wonder Fair, said Durrie’s experiment in, as she writes on her blog, “adventures in printing,” should be an inspiration to other artists.

“It’s good to see someone do something strange,” Moore said, “and be happy and successful in doing it.”

She also agreed with Durrie’s belief that a centuries-old technique can be a part of a new education, and a modern life.

“DIY culture is really on the rise, especially for young people — we read books on small, illuminated devices but to do something tangible like printmaking is really cool.”

Durrie and the moveable type truck will be at the Spencer Museum of Art, on Kansas University’s campus, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. today. Durrie takes donations and sells handmade prints.

Comments

George_Braziller 2 years, 9 months ago

The weekly newspaper in my hometown was still being composed with hand-set type and printed on a manual press until the mid-1970s. It was a dying art and extremely uncommon even then. They finally had to modernize when the typesetter died and couldn't find anyone to replace him.

Ragingbear 2 years, 9 months ago

Movable type! Quickly, we must hide this lest the surfs learn of it and acquire the ability to read and rise up against us! To the Peter Coptor!

tolawdjk 2 years, 9 months ago

Fah, "movebale type". This "fad" will quickly fade. Come back to me when there is a converted Chevy full of Gregorian monks and illuminated script.

Lawrence Morgan 2 years, 9 months ago

This is a wonderful article. Many reporters, as well as readers, have never experienced moveable type. When I was in high school, I reported for the High School Newspaper, which was a first-rate newspaper at the time. Later I reported also for the Hutchinson News during my senior year.

Mr. Knox, the printing instructor, let me in after hours to learn the Linotype and work the presses. At home, I also received a press - I've forgotten the name of it, but it made me much more conscious of what I wrote and had published.

If you want to see one version of the life of a newspaper reporter, get the series "The Waldens." It still rings true today. And he had a press with moveable type just like I did.

I think it's wonderful what this woman from Oregon is doing.

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