Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies

I love kits.  I always have.  There's something about learning something new and having a complete set of tools needed for this skill at the ready.  There's the hope that you'll just dig in and be proficient right away - at least, that was always my hope.  :D

Check out this wonderful kit!  I got it at the Oshkosh Antique Mall about two years ago.  It's fairly complete - all that's missing is the bottle of ink, which I'm sure dried out 50 years ago anyway.  What it does contain is the original receipt of its purchase!  Isn't that wonderfully bizarre?  Apparently you could purchase art supplies at the Sherwin Williams store in Dubuque, IA back in 1952.  Of course, the fact that it's still in there tells me that someone got this as a gift and wasn't real keen on the idea. Indeed, only 4 of the 9 pen nibs look like they've been used.

His or her loss is my gain!  The instruction manual looks like it could've been printed yesterday!  There is also a price list that's in pristine condition. It appears that a modeling knife was thrown in the box later - it's really scary-looking.

This whole kit is so cool, I think I'm going to submit it to The Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies.  What's that, you ask?  Well, I just discovered it a
few days ago - if you visit, be prepared to lose HOURS there.  It was started by a man named Lou Brooks, who toiled in the field of graphic arts beginning in 1965 at the Philadelphia Bulletin, a now-defunct newspaper.  He's the guy responsible for, among other things, the redesign of  "Mr. Monopoly".  How fun is that?

The museum itself is divided into 16 categories, ranging from color charts to waxers to typography.  It is utterly fascinating to see what graphic artists, cartoonists and artists had to deal with before the advent of Micron pens and computers.  There is also a wonderful section called "Unforgettable Art Supply Moment", where artists talk about their worst nightmare experiences with vintage art supplies, and those art supplies that have bitten the dust but they still wish existed.  Like I said - expect to waste HOURS there, but it's time well spent.  :D

I've made one ATC that uses old art supply ads from the 1940s (and vintage Letraset letters!).  I'm quite nostalgic for the old supplies, even though they probably would've made me crazily frustrated!

1 comment:

  1. Okay, okay, so I'm slow getting around to it... Thanks a bajillion for a wonderful write-up on the Museum!