Foreword to the book
Exhibitions devoted exclusively to lettering are rare. The written and printed word is so integral to our culture and an accepted part of our daily lives that, except amongst the practitioners of the lettering arts, the letters themselves are not considered worthy of interest. This exhibition brings the shaping, making and use of letters into sharp focus and visitors will see for themselves that letters and words can be enjoyed for the things they are as well as in relation to the message they deliver. The work on display, ranging from traditional carved headstones to experimental drawn letters, demonstrates the rich variety that is possible when creative imagination, sensitive aesthetic judgement and craft skills are applied to the twenty-six letters of our Roman alphabet.
The exhibition has been organised by the committee of Letter Exchange, a society of practising professionals, teachers and scholars. We are grateful to the many members who have contributed work, some of it made for this 10th anniversary exhibition, and to individuals who have helped make the exhibition possible, especially Sally Bower, Brenda Berman and Annet Stirling for hanging the show and Jane Hartwell of Morley Gallery for her unstinting help and coČoperation. - Ron Costley, Chairman
About Letter Exchange
On 7 April 1988 over 40 invited lettering artists met in the Blue Post pub in Kingly Street, London WI, agreed a constitution and voted Letter Exchange into being. The rationale behind the formation of Letter Exchange was the recognition of the unifying factor of the alphabet per se. All lettering people, regardless of the medium in which they work, and whether they see themselves as artists, designers, craftsmen or teachers or scholars of the subject have Edward Johnston's dictum at heart, 'Our task is to make good letters and arrange them well', and the aims of Letter Exchange are centred on the promotion of the professional expression of the art of lettering at the highest level.
The society embraces the whole spectrum of the lettering arts from calligraphy and letter-cutting through design for print and typography to signage and architectural lettering and, through its lecture programme, has become a valuable forum for the discussion of common interests.
Full membership of the society is by election through an executive committee. Associate membership is open to teachers, historians, students and institutions.
1st edition 1998, paperback, 54pp, 47 stunning pieces by some of the best lettering artists of the time, about 30% in colour, 17 x 25 cm