Immediately after touching down from
the Better Letters Circus Tour in the USA, we packed our bags and headed over to Copenhagen, Denmark, to run a workshop for Technical Education Copenhagen (TEC). This school runs a number of vocational courses, including, to our knowledge, Europe’s only dedicated sign programme. This rounded curriculum includes everything from design, to fabrication, to painting and is all run in partnership with key industry employers.
We had 26 people participating in our workshop, a mixture of industry practitioners and school tutors. It was the first time we’d used water-based paints for a workshop, and the first time that Mike Meyer and David Kynaston had worked as a double act. Our wonderful hosts also lined up a full programme of extra-curricular activities for us, meaning that we got to see more than just the inside of the school. Thank you for inviting us over, here’s a little photographic documentation of the experience.
NB. You can buy
Bent Grølsted’s book . The sign shop we visited is Fra penselstrøg til print here Nielsen & Kromann, and more about Tivoli is here.
Ahead of the workshop David Kynaston painted one of his brilliant panels
A tour of the long-established sign shop, Nielsen & Kromann, featured plenty of eye candy on the walls
The famous Tivoli Gardens is one of the Nielsen & Kromann clients, this test piece was hanging at the shop
Over to TEC to check the set-up for the workshop – immaculate, including these fetching home-made mahl sticks
Students at the school learn a variety of sign techniques during their studies
This piece was spotted hanging in the bookshop opposite our hotel
The name of the sign company in the bottom right corner of the gold and glass piece
The workshop gets underway
Mike Meyer looks perplexed by the perspex…
Another piece of perspex being used to practice the Gothic alphabet according to Mike Meyer’s Mazeppa print
Our first special guest was retired local signwriter Bent Grølsted. He used his mahl stick for straight lines like this.
Bent Grølsted playing around at the workshop
Bent Grølsted also bought three signed copies of his book about the history of the Danish signwriting industry
Bent Grølsted with his signwriging history book, Fra Penselstrøg Til Print
Team photo with Mike Meyer, David Kynaston, Bent Grølsted and Sam Roberts
David Kynaston was inspired by the vernacular Danish script and had to have a go
David Kynaston’s Danish Script using water-based paint
After the first day we walked to dinner and spotted a large carved shopfront with this detail
Not once but twice etc:
Carlsberg is the famous Danish beer but this old sign was hanging in our dinner venue where we sampled traditional Danish fare
Some very characteristic lettering spotted on the walk home above a doorway
Day two of the workshop and it’s on to casual and script
The workshop in full swing and Mike Meyer being interviewed by a local journalist
Tutors from the school pulled out some of the archival teaching resources they have, including this set of cards comparing Gothic and Roman letterforms
One of a series of posters showing the geometric consruction of a Gothic alphabet
Another poster, this one showing the ‘Three Column Block’ alphabet
Details from the ‘Three Column Block’ alphabet
Variations within the ‘Classical’ alphabet
Trine Kromann brought a stack of books, this instructional guide showing the use of the mahl stick to paint vertical and horizontal lines
Our special guest on day two was Carl a.k.a. Frisso and Mike got an eyeful of his sketchbook
One of many beautiful pieces from Frisso’s sketchbook
Piece for the Pre-Vinylite Society from Frisso’s sketchbook
A pertinent piece from Frisso’s sketchbook
Team photo at the end of the workshop, but it wasn’t all over…
The last night we got to visit Tivoli Gardens which was all decked out for Halloween
Not really sure what this was but it looked good!
The Magic Suitcase ride celebrates the collected works of Hans Christian Andersen with myriad painted models (all painted by Nielsen & Kromann)
The end of the ride shows Hans Christian Andersen at his writing desk
We got to go behind the scenes and meet the director of Tivoli Gardens in his office full of memorabilia, including this bill poster
A final frolic and Better Letters team photo!