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Location: Chicago, Illinois, United States

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Lord, what fools these mortals be

captialLast weekend, I was in Washington D.C. mostly for a new illustration job that I'm doing for the Frederick Douglass Historic Site, but as a treat, I also got to see my friend Liz, who also contacted me about the FDHS project in the first place. Since she had already made plans for Saturday, we ended up doing all of the work on Sunday. All-in-all, it was a great way to plan out the weekend.

I flew in Friday and we had a nice Italian dinner over which we discussed our game plan. I got in rather late and we had a lot ahead of us on Saturday; so we went to bed early. Early for Liz at any rate. I'm a "bath and bed by 11" girl. Saturday morning we found our way through the Metro and some light showers to the Folger Shakespeare Library, the largest collection of Shakespeare materials in the world. We decided to visit the Folger because of the current exhibit, Technologies of Writing in the Age of Print.

The exhibit focused on the symbiotic relationship between print and manuscript and how they influenced each other. I was fascinated to learn that books were printed with wider margins to facilitate the taking of notes. Early modern Europe seemed rather obsessed with practicing their writing on any free space or scrap they could find, which probably has to do with the expense of paper. A lot of early print technology incorporated handwritten elements such as page numbers and illustrated capitals.esther inglis kello There were some lovely examples of the development of different styles of handwriting [the first "fonts" !!] used by 15th C clerks and so forth. I also remember seeing a line of text reading "This is writ with neither pen nor ink" squished inbetween some inked lines on a page. It was an early sample of graphite writing. Included in the exhibit were technologies like erasable writing and shorthand as well as cipher and invisible ink. As you can tell, I thought it was a spectacular exhibit. If you're in the D.C. area, and you're into old paper and print, definitely check it out.


After that we walked over to one of the places that I've wanted to go to for a long time: The National Postal Museum! We didn't get to spend a lot of time there, but that just means that I have to go back. I had a great deal of fun printing out postcards from the postcard machine and mailing them off to the people whose addresses I could remember. stampsuitcaseThere were zillions of stamps. More stamps than I think even I could look at. Although I did buy a bag of 500 "Worldwide Stamps" at the gift shop. I even got to use my Smithsonian membership discount. I can't believe I had the card in my wallet. I was so excited about the stamps that when Liz and I got home, I immediately opened them and sorted through them all. I made sure to neatly put them back in the bag before packing it up. Even still, this is what my suitcase was like while I was unpacking it.

Liz and I ended our free, fun day with renting a car and heading out to the Maryland Renaissance Festival. Liz had planned this before I told her I was coming out because last weekend, and last weekend only, the Mediaeval Baebes were performing. I like them a lot as well and it was really great to see them live. They played my two favorite songs and a new favorite song, "Dringo Bell." We had a grand time and I got to eat Macaroni and Cheese on a Stick which is always a treat. This renfest is also memorable for giving me my new favorite "dirty" song lyrics:

There once was a lad I was tamin'
And I asked him why we were gamin'
He asked me "Have you your madienhead?"
I laughed "Don't be silly" I said
"But I still have the box that it came in."

Sunday consisted of the Frederick Douglass Historic Site all day. I got to experience probably the most dangerous part of a city I've ever been in my entire life. There was even an attempted theft of the site projection equipment and laptop while we were there! This is a week after an armed robbery in the parking lot. Still, it's a beautiful site and now I can't use posting this journal entry anymore as an excuse to procrastinate on my starting sketching some map tonight.


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