In Focus

Letter A detail from Desideratum… (1874) by F.W. Devoe & Co. Arts Library Special Collections call number AOB 55

September 25–December 15, 2017

A letter is the smallest unit in an alphabetic system of writing, though this is only one of many systems for recording and transmitting language. Letterforms also have meaning beyond the speech sounds they represent. Their formal and material qualities bear witness to a long tradition of abstract symbols enabling the exchange of ideas. The flourish of a pen stroke or particular angle of a serif reveals technological constraints and stylistic conventions. The lines of letterforms are marks of re-creation, refinement, and reinterpretation.

Jesse Marsolais, Proprietor, Marsolais Press & Lettercarving

On Thursday, September 28, the Arts Library hosted letterpress printer and stone carver Jesse Marsolais. He spoke about his work and gave a stone carving demonstration in the Great Hall of the Arts Library. Marsolais maintains a “commitment to the original tools and methods of production,” and attendees had the opportunity to see his mallet and chisel at work.