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Chewing the fat about fonts

Categories: Events, Extra-curricular

Following on from the first event back in June, last night James, Sophie (our intern) and I went along to the second Birmingham Chitterlings supper club – again held at The Vaults in the Jewellery Quarter and organised by the lovely folks at Type.

Chitterlings is essentially a smallish (there were 16 of us) gathering of folks interested in design-related things, who get together to listen to a guest speaker, then have a chat over dinner. It’s all very civilised, don’t you know.

Our guest speaker last night was John Berry, a designer, author, President of ATypI (Association Typographique Internationale) and program manager at Microsoft Typography. John recounted how he found his way into typography (serendipitously) and told us a bit about his role at Microsoft, banging the drum for good, legible typography on-screen. (Incase you’re wondering what the secret is – it’s all about space.)

Just like the previous Chitterlings (properly pronounced “chitlins”, John informed us!) it was a fun, interesting and enlightening evening; good food, good chats and good people.

Oh, and we were each given a calligraphic artwork of our name too, expertly penned by calligrapher Paul Antonio.

Besides all that, I was chuffed that Caroline from Type asked me to design the menu/nameplace/programme leaflets for the event. Although there’s not much scarier for a designer than designing for other designers, it was great to have a play around with Baskerville and some grub-related quotations. Typography and food – two of my favourite things. (And my design even got a compliment from Mr Berry, so I was very relieved. Phew!)

Hands on

A while back I signed-up to a Crafts Council thing called ‘Craft Matters’, which aims to demonstrate that hand-crafted things are important to an awful lot of people.

The nature of my job means a lot of my day’s spent at a computer; researching on the web, emailing clients, organising virtual ‘paperwork’ things … oh, and actually designing of course. I love my Mac – in fact it’s invaluable to me – but that’s not to say I think computer-generated stuff is the be-all and end-all.

I’m also a big fan of handmade, crafty things – whether it’s limited edition ‘zines, hand-printed t-shirts, locally-made jewellery, handmade letterpress posters or any other beautiful, useful and/or bizarre bits and bobs that have been lovingly created by hand.

So, yes, craft matters to me. If it matters to you as well, here’s the link so you can sign-up too: Craft Matters

In step

Categories: Events

On Saturday evening I took a trip to see Bollywood Steps, a dance spectacular which was held as part of People Dancing; a strand of the Cultural Olympiad here in the West Midlands. (It was also part of the Town Hall’s 175th Anniversary celebrations.)

Essentially the life-story of originator Simmy Gupta told in dance, the first half hour consisted of a ‘basic steps’ tutorial, so the entire crowd could dance along during the wedding scene at the end of the show. I’m not much of a mover but bopped along in time; suppressing the urge to join in with the arm movements lest I accidentally bop someone on the nose. (Dancing’s not my strength!) I was actually really impressed with the number of people who got into it and gave it a go – there were arms waving round all over the place.

The performance-proper was fantastic – the dancing was, naturally, pretty impressive but fusing it with such beautiful, dramatic lighting and the backdrop of the Town Hall made it something really special. And there were fountains and fireworks and everything!

It was most certainly an invigorating way to spend an hour or so on a chilly October evening. (Especially for the floaty-sari-clad dancers who must’ve been blooming freezing!)

I’ll be keeping an eye on West Midlands Dance (a hub of local dance-related stuff) as I’m intrigued to see – following Bollywood, water features and pyrotechnics – what else will come from People Dancing.