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Workshop in Australia

August 30, 2015

For those who live in Australia, and more specifically Northern NSW, please note I will be running a one-day workshop The Inner Artist on 1 October 2015.

Limestone and slate sculpture by John Pitt

Limestone and slate sculpture by John Pitt

This workshop – being held at Dorrigo, home of the wonderful Don Dorrigo Gazette, the last newspaper still printed letterpress in Australia, (see here for post about the press) – is not about lettering (though no doubt that will crop up in conversation) but about connecting with your creative self.

I will start with some exercises to loosen your inner self, before moving on to introductory 3D work. The afternoon session will be devoted to carving a piece in soft stone.

If you’d like more information write to me through this page or email The cost is $120.

The workshop is being held at the delightful and peaceful gardens of Mossgrove B&B in North Dorrigo. Morning and afternoon tea provided – BYO lunch for a tranquil picnic in the lovely gardens of Mossgrove.

Something Rampant for the weekend

July 10, 2015

Looking through my collection of typography today I came across these images, included in Portfolio Three by The Rampant Lions Press, Cambridge, England, dated 1982. I have written about Will and Sebastian Carter many times throughout the life of this blog so please hit the search key to find out more, or send me an email. Enjoy your weekend. (This was a regular feature of the blog – the last entry can be found here.)

Franklin typeface

Franklin typeface

Rampant Lions Press prospectus

Rampant Lions Press prospectus


Graham Greene on Eric Gill

June 28, 2015

Graham Greene (1904-1991) was a novelist, critic and Catholic. I read much of his work when I was younger, though not now.

Graham Greene on Eric Gill

Graham Greene on Eric Gill

I came across this volume The Lost Childhood and other essays (Eyre & Spottiswoode, London, 1951, 2nd impression) at a bookshop the other week. Pulling it from among its companions I flicked through quickly and was astonished to find an essay Greene had written on Gill. The essay is not dated or sourced (though I guess it may have first appeared in The Tablet as this is one of the periodicals noted in Acknowledgements).

You can read the entire essay (it covers but two and a bit pages) for yourself as I am reproducing it below.

Greene is dismissive of Gill, calling him ‘an artist not of the first rank’ and refers to his ‘fervent little articles on sex’. Greene may have had no idea of Gill’s perversities though he writes: ‘Eric Gill, with his beard and his biretta, his enormous outspokenness, his amorous gusto, trailing his family across the breadth of England with his chickens, cats, dogs, goats, ducks, and geese, belonged only distantly to this untraditional tradition [‘a carefully arranged disregard of conformity to national ways of thought and behaviour’]; he was an intruder – a disturbing intruder among the eccentrics’.

Maybe, after all, Greene had a whiff of the real Gill.

[This is my 401st post.]


Graham Greene on Eric Gill

Graham Greene on Eric Gill

Graham Greene on Eric Gill

Graham Greene on Eric Gill

One week in street lettering

June 27, 2015

Images from my week. These were taken in Brisbane, Australia. The first at a train station – a nice display of cast letters (heavily covered in paint – be great to see that taken away and the true letters revealed once more) representing Queensland Rail and used as a brace for a seat; the second a metal plate in the road covering services – lovely use of the cross bar in the capital A as a functional element for inserting the rod that will remove the cover for inspection; the third some quirky figures (‘biffo man’) at pedestrian crossing. Great to see such inventiveness.

Metal cast letters in cross frame of a seat.

Metal cast letters in cross frame of a seat.

Metal services covering plate spelling GAS


Biffo man/men

Biffo man/men

Michael Snape and cut lettering into metal

June 21, 2015

In Brisbane, Australia, last weekend. Having parked the car in an underground park on the South Bank (this information strictly for those who know Brisbane – a wonderful city with a thriving arts culture – so definitely worth a visit when you are over this way [this is not a paid for advert by the way] ) I notice this sculpture. Michael Snape sculpture

I am drawn, of course, by the lettering cut into  the surface I assume by a welding torch. The piece is tucked away in this location and really does need to breathe in the open air – this would also assist with trying to read the inscription, which, as you can see, is long.

Snape sculpture A23

I made out the words printing press. Thank you Mr Snape. But no thanks to the municipal authorities or whoever for, having presumably commissioned such a piece, gave it the insult of this subterranean setting. For more on Michael Snape click Michael Snape

Be seated – record covers and typography

June 14, 2015

Hello again. It has been a while since the last post for which I offer no explanation except for life getting in the way of blogging. (I have also launched another web site called Rocket Ship that satisfies my alternative creative side – sculpture and space travel.) I thank all readers, regular and irregular, for continuing to step by on their way through the swamp that is the internet.

Recently, while at a local cafe, I came across this record sleeve (undated) among bric-a-brac for sale in a back room. I think it terrific. See how many typefaces you can identify. (Note – I have yet to play the record on my new Sherwood PM-9805 turntable.)




Memorial lettering

January 4, 2015

A tradition of fine hand-cut memorials exists in the UK. I was once a small part of that heritage, being commissioned to create bespoke headstones and other memorials for clients. Over the last week as part of a effort to simplify my ever growing lettering collection and archives I came across these images of mine, all made in England and pre-dating 2004 which was when we moved to Australia. I would often use both sides of the stone with the client providing a piece of prose or poetry appropriate to the person being memorialised which I’d carve on the reverse. These three examples show this, the first and third in green slate, the middle one in Welsh black:

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 6.34.44 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 6.35.11 PM Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 6.35.26 PM


I also made this piece for the courtyard of a church in Essex, England. It is limestone and slate.

Screen Shot 2015-01-04 at 6.34.58 PM

Alas, there is, as far as I can discern, such a tradition in this part of the world. Maybe I should start one…

Also see this post on Percy Smith. Also see my page on sculptural items.


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