A common use of imagery on hand fans seems to have been informational rather than just decoration. This one is for “666” brand remedy for everything from malaria to neuralgia. The stylized illustration of Diana is in the traditional depiction of the ancient world of gods and goddesses. The handle of the front of the fan uses a classically Art Deco all-caps font, with its low crossbars on the “E,” stylized “S,” and geometrically circular “O” and “Q.”
Apart from the small matter of the horrifying death and illness we see around us and in the media, by now we are all heartily *tired* of this pandemic. Whether we are stuck at home, stuck working, stuck taking on new household/schooling responsibilities, any combination thereof or—I hope not—stuck in bed with *any* ailment, a diversion is necessary.
Behold: April is fan month!
For the next three weeks, I’ll be bringing you font-related posts about hand fans: the old, the new, the folding, the fixed, the genteel, the rude. Today’s post is about the Victorian language of flirtation using fans (and other items).
Ways to tell the coronavirus: “I wish to get rid of you.”
Twirling a fan in one’s left hand or, alternately, placing it to one’s left ear
Biting the tips of one’s gloves
Twirling one’s handkerchief in the left hand
Carrying one’s hat in the left hand
Folding up one’s parasol
Placing one’s stamp in the left corner of one’s envelope
As a left-handed person, I am buoyed by these acknowledgements of the power of the sinister (see what I did there?).
On 31 March, 2017, Gilbert Baker, the creator of the iconic Rainbow Flag, sadly passed away. Mr. Baker was both an LGBTQ activist and artist, and was known for helping friends create banners for protests and marches. To honor the memory of Gilbert Baker, NewFest and NYC Pride partnered with Fontself to create a free font inspired by the design language of the iconic Rainbow Flag, the font was named ‘Gilbert’ after Mr. Baker. A preview version of the font can be downloaded for free in the download section.
Golly gosh, folks, this Sunday, March 8 is International Women’s Day! Isn’t it neat that they let us ladies have a whole day to ourselves? And a whole month to ourselves too? One out of twelve is just nifty! In any case, I thought I’d celebrate the day’s novel status with some typography for this, my cute li’l typography blog, and look for women-oriented fonts.
Sunday, December 22 at 04:19 Universal Time is this year’s winter or summer solstice! (Former: Northern Hemisphere; latter: Southern Hemisphere.) UT is 8 hours ahead of Pacific Time, so for here in San Francisco the solstice is Saturday, December 21 at 8:19 pm.
Next: science! Wait, don’t run away, this is cool. Due to the tilt of Earth’s axis while we orbit our beloved Sun, we have seasons: periods of greater or lesser daylight and warmth. Combined with other atmospheric phenomena, we have rain, snow, dryness, wind. All the stuff! Yay tilt!
The word solstice is derived from the Latinsol (“sun”) and sistere (“to stand still”), because at the solstices, the Sun’s declination appears to “stand still”; that is, the seasonal movement of the Sun’s daily path (as seen from Earth) stops at a northern or southern limit before reversing direction.
Below are an orbit diagram and a solstice closeup, for the more visually oriented of us. Scroll to the very bottom for a chart with exact times.
And because I am me, I’ve curated for you three very different typefaces called “Solstice”—or in one case, “Solstice of Suffering.” If anyone can explain that name to me, please feel free. Peak suffering, after which the suffering wanes, only to be reborn again in six months? It all seems a bit dubious. In any case, scroll partway down for those.
In the U.S., today is Thanksgiving, billed as a day of giving thanks for our blessings, in commemoration of the story of the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians feasting together. (You’re supposed to do it with your birth family, unless you’re too queer or trans or many other marginalized groups, of course. Or too political. So many of us spend the day with chosen family if we can. )
For many Native American people, however, today is the Day of Mourning, marking a characteristic and systemic way in which the shameful history of colonization and genocide by Europeans of Native Americans has been elided and erased. Find out whose land you stand on. See here and here for starters, and beautiful image results from a Google search on “Native American script.”
I wasn’t able to find any reputable references to writing or transcribing the Wampanoag language, but I did find this 2002 article about the relative ease of rendering the Cherokee and Inuiktitut (Inuit languages) syllabaries in Unicode type. It’s great that people are interested in keeping the first languages of this country and continent alive.
My love to you all, however you are spending the day.
Sunday, January 19th, 2020, is the 48th anniversary of my father’s death. He died at just 59, when I was nine. He’d had a bad stroke two years before, and, in the days before early intervention in stroke patients prevented or ameliorated effects, was paralyzed on his left side and lost the ability to speak. His mind was as sharp as ever though, and the loss of ability to speak or write (he was left-handed, like all us five children) must have been horrendous. I remember him nevertheless being able to teach me the meaning, spelling—and, somehow, pronunciation—of two new grown-up words: “solder” and “cerulean.”
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