Tuesday, 10 July 2012

The Book of Ampersands

I recently reread Simon Garfield's Just My Type, a quirky book that breathes life into the arcane mysteries of fonts. I was taken (again) by the author's reflection on the delights of the ampersand - 'Done well, an & is not so much a character as a creature, an animal from the deep. Or it is a character in the other sense of the word, usually a tirelessly entertaining one, perhaps an uncle with too many magic tricks ...'
I decided that the ampersand deserved a book of its own and that I would make it. After much playing around with options, I've settled on a binding in the French Simplified style that will hopefully be heading for an exhibition at the Art Gallery of NSW later in the year. I've now printed images of 223 ampersands onto sheets; folded and cut the sheets; assembled the sections; and (this afternoon) sewn the block onto tapes. It's a great feeling to have a new work underway.


  1. that does it ..... I am taking my copy of Just My Type, which has been sitting in the studio for the last couple of months, with me to bed. The writing sounds sublime. Looking forward to bedtime ....

  2. Terence PLESAE show us this book when it is done! I have my own funny punctuation one developing in rough sketches but am also terribly fond of the ampersand...so pleased you are honouring it with an entire book.

  3. Hope you're enjoying the book Susan - my favourite bit was the tale of Gyoergyi Szabo, a Hungarian printer's apprentice who, downcast at the loss of his sweetheart, set her name in type and swallowed it!

    I'll keep you posted Fiona.