In addition to touring the world and teaching workshops with Better Letters, Mike Meyer also hosts events at his shop in the small town of Mazeppa Minnesota. These are more structured than his brilliant Letterheads meets, spread over a number of days, taking participants through a crash course in basic lettering, lettering effects, and anything else that he/they fancy doing. They should really be listed as workshops with Mike Meyer and Friends because he also invites special guests along to share their knowledge and inspire his students.
Mike has gradually been converting his shop to host workshop participants, including the addition of bunks and other facilities. His neighbours in town also host visitors in their homes, making each event a truly community affair. As well as a feast of lettering, there is Bingo, a film night and other local entertainments. Each July there is a workshop set up to coincide with the town’s annual Mazeppa Daze festivities, including the workshop easels being set up on a float for the procession through town.
Last night I attended the sell-out screening of Wall Writers: Graffiti in its Innocence at London’s Prince Charles Cinema. The feature-length documentary traces the origins of contemporary graffiti in late-1960s and early-1970s New York and Philadelphia. Director Roger Gastman tracked down the writers of 50 years ago, in order to focus on the individuals that developed and evolved the then fledgling culture. These contemporary interviews are blended with archival footage and stills to paint a fascinating picture of urban deprivation, and the response to this in a new form of youth culture and expression.
Joby Carter, showman and signwriter, runs Carters Steam Fair (see photos here). Due to his touring schedule has never been able to attend a Letterheads event before, but that didn’t stop him from deciding to host one last month. Egged on by Mike Meyer, Ash Bishop and various others that fancied getting let loose with brushes and paint in his famous Maidenhead yard, the result was Abnormal Letterheads. The November weekender was attended by 77 guests, including Joby’s original teacher, Stan Wilkinson, and others from as far afield as the Netherlands, Singapore, the USA and Germany.
Most of the work produced across the weekend was auctioned off at the end. This, and proceeds from the bar, raised over £6,300 the Teenage Cancer Trust. (More lettering for good!) Unfortunately I could only attend the first day, but the photos below capture some of the action. Joby is so fired up after hosting his first meet that he’s already planning another for November 2017. Details and tickets are due for release on 1st March 2017 so keep an eye on the Better Letters Facebook Page and/or Twitter feed for these when they’re available.
This year Better Letters has run over 40 workshops in 19 cities across three continents. These, and the events from previous years, means that there are hundreds of people out there that have learned something through a Better Letters workshop. We want to celebrate this, and reconnect, so have created the Better Letters New Year Challenge.
The idea is simple, create a piece of lettering to welcome in 2017, making use of the skills you’ve learned at a Better Letters workshop. This can be a panel, shocard, blackboard, or anything else that you feel like working on. The wording can be as simple as ‘Happy New Year’, ‘Hello 2017’, ‘Better Letters New Year’, or get creative and surprise us!