Great Lakes Type

Letterpress, Found Materials, Photography

Shot (detail). Letterpress printed pheasant feathers. 

The Great Lakes Type Project uses found materials along Lake Michigan to explore the connection between economic modes of production and the environment.

Hammond Beach

Throughout the 19th century, participants in “the big cut” extracted lumber from upper midwestern forests to construct cities on the east coast. A burgeoning wood type industry surrounding the Great Lakes used the same lumber to produce moveable type. In response to wood type’s roots in the extractive economy, I attempted to gather materials at three sites surrounding Lake Michigan. While beachcombing did not yield enough material to form a 12” x 18” block, I found alternative mediums to represent modern industry around the Lakes.

Hammond Beach.

Collecting materials for the type.
Wolf Lake 

Beachcombing bust. The research missions yield only garbage.

Coating spent brewing grains to adhere to the mould.

Laser cutting the dried grain mould.

After the block is laser cut, the individual pieces of type are finished by hand.

The finished type is cut down into individual pieces and locked-up on the press bed.

Printed 6 pica Grain Type specimen.

Spent (detail).

Pheasant feathers sourced from a Chicago hunter.

The pheasant feathers were adhered to type-high particle board and laser cut.

Laser cut feather block.

The feather block was finished by hand and cut down into individual pieces of type.

Feather Type on press.

Inky feathers.

Shot 6 pica printed specimen.

Shot (detail).