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• • • • • • on letters, words, books and graphic design • • • • • •

Two sisters? needlework type

To finish the series on needle-crafted type with a sunday feeling, here are two pieces from the Ecole Moyenne de l’Etat in Verviers. Made by two girls with the same aristocratic surname von Hagen. Sisters I presume, but I have no information on the makers and the date. Looking at the detail and degree of sophistication, this can hardly be labeled as folk art. It is hard school work.






Berthe made some beautiful monograms with her initials, but got the Y mirrored. Jenny used a symmetric Y. I am not sure which piece I like most. The last picture shows the most adventurous try: a 9 plus!







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Analog pixel art 5: faience?


Ninove, today. Postscript has taken over the market…

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Analog pixel art 4: another stitched alphabet


Another great exercise, dated 1921. While she has all the other N’s right, Ghislaine mirrored the one in her own name. I like this piece a lot. It looks very even at first sight, while looking closer reveals some patching up for miscalculation: notice how the last letter of the name didn’t fit, and simply drops. It helps to spread colour where the dot after ‘Salzinnes’ would have left a blank space if left on its own. The 1921 sits close, but doesn’t mess up the Z. And I fancy the R trying to leave the grid. Is it mimicking the Q’s tail?



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Analog pixel art 3: Bonsoir!


This piece comes from a lot I found in a ‘brocante’ in the Blaesstraat (Rue Blaes) in the Brussels Marollen district. It is a bag, made as an exercise in needle-work, without doubt to contain more exercices. The Z in the alphabet looks almost italic compared to the other characters. Josée, the girl who made it in the schoolyear 1938-1939 says ‘goodnight’ on the back. If she’s out there: une bonne journée, Josée.


josee1938detail joseeOPQdetail


to be continued…

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analog pixel art 2

Today is mosaic day, or tiling day
if you like your mosaic a little more prosaic.


Pictures were taken in Merchtem, Belgium.
And ‘brouwerij’ means ‘brewery’. Cheers.



Looks very Fontstruct, not?

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analog pixel art

When I was a kid, we had no computers.
But did we have pixel art! It looked like this.

Pixel art is as old as the grid. Looking for old examples of the use of a grid, two disciplines come to mind: mosaic and weaving.

During a trip through Devon last month I stumbled upon some fine folk art. While entering a church, my eye was caught by colourful packages hanging between the benches like christmas presents. People bring their own cushion to church to make the praying on wooden benches easier on the knees. While in other rural churches those cushions were often covered by uniformous crotchetings (as if every grandmother had  been given the same obligatory pattern), the needlework in St. Pancras in Widecombe-in-the-Moor was far more authentic and varied. Beautiful colour schemes and patterns and the inevitable cross stitched alphabets… Say hello to Josie.



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