If I want to get more people to contribute to the project, I think the best idea will be to run events during the E17 Art Trail at the start of July. I’d like to have an exhibition space where people can come and find out about the project.
In Walthamstow there are a few different options to host:
We Are Here exhibition
Vestry House Museum has a rich history and great exhibits on social issues – for example the We Are Here exhibiton showcasing the stories of the Windrush generation in Waltham Forest. The space is a little small for having people in and out and not well-ventilated. The museum is also out of the way for a lot of people and I want to attract lots of through traffic, not necessarily tourists to the area.
Walthamstow Central Library
I’ve never seen an exhibition in the library, and it is very Central. I would have liked to have something set up in the entrance lobbies which are much more modern and open, but these spaces aren’t available for hire. Overall, good location, but not the right feel.
I really like the Mills Community Space because it has such an artsy feel, and it has a few spaces available, like this room which has huge windows onto the street to get people in. There is also space on the walls to host people’s work. But, it is slightly small and I want to host an event here so to get coverage over the area, I’m thinking about another location.
In the lovely Lloyd’s Park, Winn’s Gallery is a white-walled exhibition space at cheap rates for local people. There are multiple windows and doors for a breezy, well-ventilated time, and it’s on the main avenue of the park and next to the cafe and children’s area. There will be plenty of local people around to take part. We have a winner!
I can’t find official layout plans of the gallery which is very annoying, and as a consequence of the pandemic layoffs, my requests to the council for more information about it have gone unanswered. Using my mapping and sleuthing skills, I think I’ve found rough dimensions of the gallery:
Let’s call it 27 x 8 metres. From photos, I can estimate where the doors are I would want to use:
This way, I can get cafe visitors from the south entrance, and park visitors from the north. I can create a one way system too if needed, plus it will have great ventilation.
At the south entrance I want to have a large table where people can do the activities and will be enticing to the children if they want to do some colouring in. There will be crayons, colour pencils, arts materials for people to use and activity sheets people can do at the time or take away with them. The doors are large and glass so no matter the weather people will be able to see in.
At the north entrance I want people to see the Walthamstow is … activity. A wall full of bits of paper in the breeze will hopefully entice people in to see what is being written there! Also near the north entrance will be information about the project so far, and a place to have a go at the online tool.
I’ve just thought that I can have a scanner like at the Aquarium so that people can fill in their letters and glyph ideas and I can have a record of them while they take their creations home. Using a projector at the Eastern end, I can show people’s contributions live.
The pink circles are hand sanitisation stations that are everywhere so that people are always close! The art materials will have to be sanitised after every use, so maybe I should have another table so I clean things between people coming in.
As you know, this project came from a previous module, and so I have a fair amount of branding already done. Still, I think it’s good to test out a few things to make sure I can make the best out of it.
I wanted to experiment with the thickness and density of the scribbles making up the letters, so used different pens, pencils, crayon and charcoal with varying strokes to achieve this. Here are my experiments and notation about what worked and what didn’t.
I also found that I like the ‘e’ tilted so that the crossbar is pointing upwards rather than horizontal.
I do really like the current logo because Stowe has a pleasing weight and neatness that I didn’t achieve in the new experiments whilst still retaining a craftiness. I don’t like writing the Framework underneath – I’d rather have it typed – because it provides contrast and looks more polished.
From this stage, I’ve gone onto tinker with the logo some more and used the experiments above to refine the look.
I used Illustrator to create a vector file and touched up the letters.
Playing around with a website logo and favicon using different weights of Archia.
After consultation with my esteemed cohort, I am go with logo 5 as it has a nice balance between the two elements:
As you can see, the Framework in the new logo is now justified under the Stowe and with a bolder version of the typeface. The t in Stowe is more defined too. A good result!
For the favicon, I’ve decided on this one:
It will work at a small size and on light and dark backgrounds, as shown above.
Over the weeks I have been working on the glyphs for the saw tooth typeface:
I’ve changed some of the glyphs from the previous – the F, E and I. I did think that the Emigre E was cool, but distracted from other features.
I’ve been working through Designing type by Karen Cheng (978-1-78277-544-8) as it provides a usual step by step for each glyph set and gives existing examples. For a san-serif uppercase, it recommends starting with an O and an E, with a W and M one of the last characters to design. Because this typeface is so inspired by the saw tooth roofs, I’ve had to work backwards a bit.
If I want to get more people to contribute to the project, I think the best idea will be to run events during the E17 Art Trail at the start of July. The people running it actually got in contact with me after talking with them previously:
Because of the pandemic, and the nature of the project, I think I need to devise events that can be around the neighbourhood rather than in my house. There are spaces that I can hire around the area that means that I will cover a large area and make it accessible for more people.
In previous versions of the project, I wanted to run glyph drawing courses at the Mill, and I think that I can still make this happen, as they have some nice spaces. In Week 11, I went to an online workshop run by Sarah Hyndman of TypeTasting. She set up her workshops to let people experience type in a sensory way, from taste of chocolate or alcohol, or touch. I think the best one for this project is ‘sound’ – where people can react to sounds that are played to the participants and they respond.
By commissioning Hyndmann to run the session, the participants get the full experience of her workshops and her passion, which is very catching!
I’d really like to give people the opportunity to meet in person after this year, and The Mill has a suitable space that can have a few people in whilst retaining social distancing. There would be a limit of the number of people, though this can work really well with workshops like this. Because it is so central and accessible during the evening, it’s a good space.
Ideally, the workshop would be completely free, but I know from experience of myself and other people that when events are advertised as free people think they are of lower value and are happy to take a place and not turn up. A token amount, such as £5, means that people have to make a commitment. However, the area has a very mixed income population and a fee would be out of the reach of some people. I want as many people to feel like they can come, so with the advice of Cassie Yates of Knots Arts, there will be charge but people can ask for a bursary place if they want to. There isn’t a limit, and no questioning why, but it means that people who want to come, can come. The project isn’t about making money
The other people I have talked to are theLand Arts Agency, who run photography workshops based on environmental themes. Maybe it seems a bit out of the remit of a typography project, but I feel that Walthamstow has so much to offer, that it means that I can ask the photographer running the sessions to encourage people to see the context in which the typography is placed. Elizabeth suggested I created some short routes of what I have in mind:
Walthamstow is changing as a result of the changing community. This is good. Ghosts of the past remain and help us understand where we come from. There are many ghost signs in Walthamstow that promote long-gone businesses and tell us about the area. To celebrate this, I want to host a history walk. I’ve heard great things locally about a guide called Joanna Moncrieff and would like to commission her for a walk around the borough. By asking her to focus on the history behind the typography, rather than the typographical features themselves, it provides great context.
I think here I have some good ideas that people will be interested in attending, and focus on typography without being intimidating. Photography and history walks are a format that people are familiar with, and so hopefully will be comfortable in participating in them.
This week is the big week for the critical report! I’ve got a lot done so far, and am very happy with the project, but I just have these little parts that I need to do before I set it into Indesign.
I’ve asked Anne-Maria Geals to take a look my glyphs that I’ve designed, but scheduled this for after the deadline. She has created some great typefaces and worked with Bruno Maag, so she will be an amazing person to get feedback from. She’s such a lovely person giving up so much time.
My partnership with Forest School will hopefully yield some submissions that I can include on my website and analyse for my critical report.
I’m taking a look through old blog posts at my previous work on this project and assessing how far I have come. In Week 4, I planned for my formative assessment, the outcome of which is here. More interesting is when I started planning the difference between this MA project as a testing phase and a more detailed Stowe Framework I could do later. The original is here.
I’ve already established that I need to scale down this project, and make it a testing phase for a project that is run as a full-scale project. I made a table that breaks down the elements of the project and how I can achieve them.
STOWE FRAMEWORK “AT LARGE”
What do I want to do?
How can I test this?
Photo walks with adults
Small walks with a few people doing it independently with survey at end
Adults asked to look for typography they like
Small select group of adults
Target wide demographics to reflect Walthamstow
Make sure people are varied, but a smaller number
Adult asked to design glyph for themselves
This could be possible, but it will have to be independent rather than in a workshop and I would have to get more feedback about what went well and what needs improving
Area Survey photo walks
Go around myself to take photos like in GDE720
Could this launch the beginning of the full project and be formed from feedback?
Talks online with local typography experts such as archives, Bracey, Angry Dan
Interview them myself and publish. Ask them to design type/glyph/describe their favourite piece of type
It is heartening to see that what I achieved has broadly followed my plan: I have designed and published a range of workshops that people can take part in. Some of them are the same, for example the Area Survey walks, and some have been changed, such as glyph designing, as a result of the pandemic. I have jettisoned some ideas, such as the photo competition, for this stage as it felt like the project was becoming too broad.
I would have liked to reach more people with my workshops and am disappointed that I have not got more responses so far. It is hard to distinguish between the shortcomings of the workshops I designed and what is down to the pandemic. I’m going to do a more thorough review later in the project.
It’s hard to put into words what the pandemic has done to everyone, and to see how it has affected my project has been tiring. I am excited about this project just feels like bad timing. It’s not what the people of Walthamstow need right now. I feel constrained by deadlines of the course and would ideally push it back until September to be able to get out into the world and engage with people in libraries and museums that are opening up as of today.
I will be free to concentrate fully on the outputs, and my plans are to:
design more glyphs
so that I can experiment with distorting them
ensure that the type map is working because I’m not happy with it as is
I’ve taken a lot of photographs of typography for this project, and I wanted to capture some images in another way. On the high street, there are some brass bricks laid into the pavement that say interesting facts about the area. They are so easy to overlook under the busy movement of people that it’s a treasure to find a new one.
Commissioned as part of a larger art project by the council, Matter architecture and Richard Wolfestrome, they “celebrate and enhance the existing life of the High Street and its connection with the Forest and Wetlands through a suite of adjustments to the market and the public realm. The concept of a woodland walk, with clearings along its length is used to organise aesthetic treatment of existing elements in the street, bringing out local stories and histories and creating moments of pause and intensity.”
Now, they are battered and worn, with the black enamel chipping away, weathered by hundreds of thousands of feet and the elements but the engravings still provide a textural contrast.
The printing pirate of Berlin took urban structures like manhole covers, grids, technical objects and other surfaces of the urban landscape, to create unique graphical patterns on streetwear basics, fabrics and paper:
Yes, this doesn’t concentrate on typography, but I love how they capture the unseen and forgotten part of our streets and make them into something useful and desirable. The pieces are created on location (rather than an impression taken and printed elsewhere) which gives the feeling a sense of authenticity. It allows passengers to become viewers, observing the process as it evolves. It creates possibilities for communication, exchange and spontaneity. Furthermore production depends on factors like weather, time and season, which makes the project human. This approach takes a critical view and offers an alternative viewpoint on nowadays mass production. A part of the city is being extracted from its origin and brought to new life in a different context. By carrying the image around, people become part of the project themselves.
Emma-France Raff, the main creator of the project, says that their motivations are to stimulate our perception regarding the relationship to our surrounding, refine everyday routines, as well as being sensitive to the beauty hidden in the unexpected.
They run workshops in the street that allow people to make their on personal print, and to stop for a few moments, and appreciate the small things around them.
I wanted some way of showing this part of the environment other than photographs, and decided on brass rubbings. This inspired me to go out with a large pad and crayons one evening to see what I could find. There are a lot of utility covers and the Walthamstow Bricks, and I followed my feet to see what I could find.
Here are some of the images:
The texture gives the images a much more human and yet urban feel that would be impossible to capture with photograph pixels. They aren’t perfect: the wind caught the paper and the image shifted slightly, and sometimes the text isn’t legible at all! The wearing blurriness contributes a certain something to it. I also captured the patterns, not just the text because they came out much better than the text. I’m not sure what to do with them right now, but building a wider archive than just the lettering will make for a richer outcome.
During the process, I did have a lot of weird looks that I ignored, but a few people asked what I was doing. When I explained, they were charmed and wanted to know more about the project and more about what I had captured so far. Brass rubbings are an old fashioned activity for children in fusty museums, so it amused them for an adult to be doing it so intently in the middle of a pedestrianised high street. Maybe in the future, I can involve more people in getting examples to get people looking around them.
As well as showing photos on maps, I would like the website to show submissions from the workshops. After my first submission yesterday, I have created a section of the website to display the outputs. Here is the finished look, which you can also see here:
This submission is from Jess for the glyph workshop:
She wanted to go for a minimalist look and chose the following features. She lives near Blackhorse Road, and so included a black horse and the construction work cranes that are next to the station. There is an old building that was a music venue on the corner that has a bold striped colour scheme. She loves to walk around the area, particularly the Wetlands, so drew a flower. As Walthamstow is her home, she has put a little house tucked away in the top left and one of her cats in the right. She loves the community spirit in the past year so has a rainbow in the shadow. Great work, Jess!
I’ve been trying to think that if I put posters up around Walthamstow, what would they be?
I’ve been inspired by the Demo Festival that Studio Dumbar hosted in Amsterdam to showcase animation talent during the Covid lockdowns and also the local treasure hunts set up by Angry Dan. You can see the post with inspiration here.
I want to incorporate letters I have designed in the type output and combine them with community input. I’ve decided that this will be in the form of ‘one word’ answers to Walthamstow is … that I have released on social media.
Each letter will be allocated a word, so 11 in all, and designed to make an aesthetically interesting poster that can move in AR. The posters will be posted up in places in Walthamstow with a map so people can go around and capture each one.
After all, I’m not sure that I am going to follow through with this. I like it, but there is much I can do by supporting the current ideas of the project after the lockdowns are lifted. I’ll keep this in my pocket for a future project in the area.