Weaving Type

The exhibition explored the relationship between weaving and typography by using metal type to make the restricting process appear fluid, transforming the line back to the woven appearance of fifteenth-century typography. The process of weaving parallels the restrictions in letterpress. With both thread and text, the interwoven variables create fluidity from order. 

‘In the fifteenth-century Gothic book-hand known as ‘texura’, this parallel was drawn quite explicitly: the hand was so called on account of the resemblance of a page of writing to the texture of a woven blanket. Just as the letter-line had its figurative source in the weaver’s yarn, so the prototype for the straight, ruler lines of the manuscript, between which the letters were arrayed, lay in the warp strings stretched taut on the loom. Originally these ruled lines were scored, and – as with warp-lines – were faint or invisible. When Gutenberg adopted textura for his first printed type, the lines disappeared altogether. What has begun with the interweaving of warp and weft ended with the impression of formed letter-shapes, pre-arranged in rows, upon a pre-prepared surface. From that point on, the text was no longer woven but assembled, pieced together from discrete graphic elements. The transformation was complete.’ Tim Ingold, A Brief History of Lines.