Saturday, February 9, 2013

Turn Left & Motorway Services {in progress}

So I wanted to do a little update/work-in-progess post. I think we each wrote many more of these kind of posts last edition, and I liked to read how people were thinking and progressing with their ideas and books.
I have two titles, and no, I haven't finished them yet; sorry guys, life just gets in the way sometimes!

I have been thinking about these two titles for a long time, brainstorming, coming up with ideas, working on them, rejecting them, and forming new ones. Alongside all this thinking has been an awful lot of research. Now that I think I have actually hit on an idea or two that I want to follow, I want to share a few links to show you my background research and ideas so far.

Kurt Johannessen - his work has intrigued me for sometime even before the project was settled; working with directional language and instructional bookworks, he obviously appeals to me and my work. Having not actually seen the bookwork Exercises before I did an internet search for some images and came across this page of Printed Matter bookshop in New York, with a great description too. I would of course love to see the work in the flesh, but have yet to get round to making an appointment at the Tate library in London who have a copy; maybe next week...  Anyway, for Turn Left I was struck by the description that "statements are presented in small delicate text on stark white pages with wide margins" - I feel like I want to make work that is somehow  giving something back, or having a dialogue with the original material Sarah used to make her 100 stories; and perhaps the basic structure of the original Jonannessen book could be a way to do that. Structurally I like the idea of trying out some designs that mimic the 10x10cm square with black text on white pages. The original is offset printed, but I would like to use letterpress, or at least try it out and see.

Little Chef - for Motorway Services I immediately wanted to include in some way or other the influence of the very British institution of the Little Chef; a roadside family restaurant, the UK's answer to the American highway diner. In my childhood, on long car journeys I would keep my eye out for Little Chef's, beg my parents to stop at the next one, and plot the time gone with the distance between each one. Little Chef's, or the ones left still open, are quite depressing places now, maybe they always were, but I was a kid, what was I to know?! Anyway, I have in my collection of old, eclectic printed matter, a copy of a Little Chef map, a pamphlet type of folded map and the perfect structure for my edition. I am always interested in cheaply printed ephemera, tourist maps, leaflets, pamphlets and other assorted printed matter; and using this as a structure in which to make work so I want to use this ephemeral quality, this aesthetic leaning toward tourist maps and make work my edition with this structure.

A Little Chef 

Fonts & Printing -  In terms of the typeface, I have research and thought about this quite a bit. For both titles I want to incorporate the feeling of road signs, directional language in a recognisable typeface. I researched the fonts that UK road signs are made up of and came across this website where you can download the fonts for free: - this made my day and I'm now quite excited about having a solid basis from which to start making the work. I want each title to be quite differently printed and differently structured; the first (Turn Left) I already mentioned I want to letterpress and  use the 10x10 white book format.
The second (Motorway Services) I want to to try a method of printing I have not previously investigated; the plotter printer. This way of cheaply producing large format (A3 - A0) black & white print outs is normally used by architects and engineers to print out their building plans. I know someone who recently used these guys to print some posters, so I'm going to give them a go and do a test run.

So as you can see; I'm getting somewhere, I'm just not quite there yet!

Abigail Thomas
Groups 6 & 11
#16 Turn Left & #54 Motorway Services


dinahmow said...

Thank you, Abi, for this.
I, too, enjoyed reading our process posts in earlier editions.
And reading this, I can see how you approached your titles and why.
As one of Group 6 I'll be a recipient.[note to readers: I have one of Abi's earlier works and it is something i keep returning to, re-reading]I like your methods, Abi and look forward to seeing my copy.

Abigail Thomas said...

Thanks! Hopefully you won't be waiting too long! I'm going to order the letterpress plates in the next few weeks and test them out.

Helen M said...

I really like your work Abigail, and your ideas for these two books sound great. Love your idea and methods of referring back to Kurt Johanessen in the first one, and the attention to structure, fonts and production methods in the second.

Sara Bowen said...

Hi Abi, your books sound great! Can't wait to read more... Sara x

Abigail Thomas said...

Thank you Helen & Sara; hopefully I can schedule a few days in the new book centre to mock these ideas up. Also ordering printing plates for the first time, so its exciting!

Angela said...

This is what always amazes me about this group. The way everyone's approach is so different and people come up with things that would never enter my head.

When I was doing my degree my friend used to call me "The Research Queen", I think this makes you the "Goddess of Research" Abi ;-) Love the links and the whole thought process about fonts and maps.

Its weird that our books are about a book which was about another book, which was about burying books in a forest. Maybe this will cause some sort of breach in the space time continuum or a temporal causality loop? Or have I been watching too much Star Trek? ;-)

Abigail Thomas said...

Angela, I think that since I knew immediately what you were talking about before I'd finished reading the sentence, shows that I also have been watching too much Star Trek! ;)

Thanks; I do love researching!

Paper Chipmunk (aka Ellen) said...

Abigail, this is wonderful! I've long had a fascination for roads and signs. And thanks also for the link to RoadsUK. What fun!

I'm in Group 6 and still trudging along too...

Abigail Thomas said...

I went to see the copy of Exercises at the archive today and it took over an hour & a half for it to be found! Yikes. I only looked at it for 20mins! Sigh. Anyway; seen it now; feels good to know what it looks, handles like. Got some good ideas now.