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Memory and Heritage

Thirty-three years ago, America celebrated its bicentennial. Anybody else remember the "Hands Across America" campaign? Not the 1986 fundraiser, but the original one that reportedly "failed completely and never took place." Well, Battle Creek, Michigan was along the original route and I was among the 200 or so people who showed up and stretched out along a block or two of the Michigan Mall, holding hands at the designated time. It was lame, but kind of sweet. The three other people I was with that day had great fun forming "Hands Around the Clock Tower" and taking silly pictures of ourselves doing it.

In 1976, I'd never made professional use of a single one of the items currently featured at The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies. Then again, I never was an artist, not that kind at least. I still need a see-thru ruler (with the right sort of printing on it) to draw two parallel lines. But glancing quickly through the images tonight, I found well over 33 tools I've held in my hands and pieces of equipment I've used to make money in the 33 years since. There are many I still own.

Like the other museum visitors who commented, I use my Pantone books regularly. My loupe, too, actually. You won't find my clear acrylic rollers, X-acto knives, and box of blades among the "Shop at Geri's" merchandise; they're tools I treasure and use enough that I would feel handicapped without them. If you're looking for a drafting table, I suppose we could talk, but I'd certainly miss mine if it were gone even if I didn't miss the debt its sale would pay off. For not being "that kind of artist," I certainly have a surprising number of their tools.

I smiled at the photos of non-photo blue pencils, a KroyType lettering machine, the Haberule, smelly Design markers, waxers large and small, rubylith, Bestine, Rapidograph eraser, and so much more. They're all on my "not yet forgotten, but no longer used" list.

Thirty-three years. So much has changed; so much endures. Two hundred and thirty-three years? Yep, same story. Happy birthday, America. Here's to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Here's to you.


( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 5th, 2009 06:11 am (UTC)
A hand waxer! Transfer lettering! Chartpak tape! A stat camera! A lead pointer! And of course, the Banana PC 9000 first Macintosh.

I remember when Bill Colsher brought me a page of jaggy-edged type around a pixelicious wiggly drawing, all of it at maybe 72 dpi, and said, "This is the future."

And weirdly enough, I looked at it and said, "Yep. Yep, it is."
Jul. 5th, 2009 02:41 pm (UTC)
I ended up with at least one and probably two of your waxers when you moved west; they stayed in Minnesota when I moved east. I also left behind a little hand heating device that could be used to hand-foil laser type...I forget what it was called.
Jul. 5th, 2009 10:21 am (UTC)
On the Fourth of July, 1976, I was at the Roskilde Festival in Denmark. The headliner was Steeleye Span, catching me up for the show the night after Worldcon in Melbourne, when I'd wimped out and slept since there was another party each night for the rest of the week.
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 5th, 2009 02:03 pm (UTC)
Back before computers, or rather, before we could use computers for layout, I took a day course in how to do pasteup for printers. We'd get typeset columns of text in long strips and had to cut them apart and carefully paste them onto blue-lined sheets. If you were sophisticated about this, you'd use exacto knives and a waxing machine instead of rubber cement. I even learned a wonderful technique which I'll never use again - when you're substituting, say, a typo'd word, you'd lay the two versions over each other and line them up using a light table, then cut out the substitute word through both sheets of paper. Then the substitute would slip right into the hole left by the old word and you could be sure it was lined up properly.

I was really good at pasteup - yet another obsolete skill I'll never use again....
Jul. 5th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
I don't remember where I learned that technique...probably from watching an experienced keyliner. Spiff, wasn't it?

Jul. 5th, 2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
I remember seeing many of these items at Bill Bowers home. He never got rid of anything and he was still using many of those things for Outworlds, up until we went entirely on the computer. He taught me to cut and paste for mimeo and do layout using many of these tools.
Jul. 5th, 2009 02:48 pm (UTC)
I meant to say until HE went entirely to the computer. I was just a spectator, though he did help me produce my first Graymalkin.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )


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