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Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012

Handmade Signs

Faythe Levine’s Craft of Communicating

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Our urban landscape is packed with signs descended from a rich history of hand-painters unknown by most passersby. To pay tribute to artists who continue to hand-paint signs in the digital age, Faythe Levine, co-author of Handmade Nation: The Rise of DIY, Art, Craft, and Design, and Sam Macon produced Sign Painters. This anecdotal book is the first of its kind and looks at the craft of sign painting and the modern-day painters who are persisting in their hand-lettered trade. There was a time—as recently as the 1980s—when storefronts, banners, barn signs, billboards, and even street signs were all hand-lettered. But, like many skilled trades, the sign industry has changed with technology, resulting in the proliferation of computer-designed signs across America’s landscape.

Sign Painters presents a narrative history of the craft, featuring stories and photographs of more than two dozen sign painters working in cities throughout the U.S. Levine, a photographer, businesswoman and prominent figure in the D.I.Y. ethic indie craft movement, is optimistic about the future of the field. Levine grew up in Seattle, but currently lives in Milwaukee. Levine and co-author Sam Macon will discuss Sign Painters at Sugar Maple (441 E. Lincoln Ave.) on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7 p.m. The event will be sponsored by Boswell Book Co.