I would have preferred to polish the bell off the machine but I don’t have a long enough screwdriver to go in all the way from the opposite side of the typewriter. Brasso and wet & dry paper. Carefully, slowly turning the bell. The metal is pitted from the rust but so far it’s looking a lot nicer.
As soon as I had got the valentine underwood home, I saw that the drawband was so frayed it was about to go. Before I did anything else, (even brewed a cup of tea) I found some strong linen button thread and put some stitches into the strap. However I could see that just poking the needle through would break the strap, so I held it steady with a pair of tweezers. There are no in-progress pictures as it was touch and go. The strap broke after a couple of stitches and I heard the mainspring lose a bit of tension, but the thing held and I finished off with a few more stitches.
I looked long and hard for the serial number and consulted a lot of photos on the database to check I was looking in all the right places. Eventually I discovered this ground down plate under a layer of rust and grime… Thanks to Richard Polt for pointing me to the secret back-up serial number hiding place under the nickelled plate on the right of the carriage!
Everything was stiff and rusty, especially the margin stops. I struggled to get them to shift and too impatient to sort it, I wrote a letter with a rather narrow format. Then in the evening we burned the rice for our Valentine’s Day curry while we tried to work out how to shift the stops. Badly. However with all the windows open to let the freezing night air in, and the smoke out, the air cleared enough to get a screwdriver into action and take the ruler off to clean up the stops…
You might notice the plastic spools on the machine at this point. I was too excited to try typing to be bothered respooling and found that the lettera 22 spools worked ok for a test run. I’ve missed having a filthy thing. On with the cleaning!
Taking a bench break this morning with my Valentine’s Day typewriter… a surprise gift from someone who really gets that I’d rather have a hunk of rusty typing iron than roses any day
Time to break out the emergency box of prompts and button badges
I made this box in 2009. It still has some old detox tea bags in there. Ha ha ha. Bleargh! I can think of better ways to clear my mind for plot twists and word padding! Onwards
You know those pictures of amazing bookshops you see on Pinterest and think “Botheration, where ARE these bookshops?” Ok, I will tell you. I found this second hand bookshop yesterday and I just cannot believe I have been walking past this place for 2 years… You can find The Scarlet Pimpernel at 25 London Road, St Leonard’s on Sea, East Sussex, U.K. Nice detail: the prices are written on slips of paper in each book. Also, it’s by sea and just around the corner from some great coffee shops.
Unfinished ( only just started) altered portrait number 3. I tend to start with the eyes or an eyebrow. Who knows how it will turn out… The eyes are speaking to me so I will carry on.
I’m making these portraits using a vintage studio portrait as my starting point.
She looks like a movie star in the photograph, but I am not interested in replicating what the photographer had in mind.
Last week I went to the Frieze Art Show in London. There were no typewriters but many pairs of fancy pants parading around. It was a lot of fun and it made me think hard about what I want to do when I make marks on paper. I had a deep discussion about the origins of art and it transpires I’m a romantic. Not really a surprise!
Ok, have a good weekend x
this is an altered portrait of anonymous woman, circa 1930.
The letter predates the envelope so they were still corresponding and I hope, still in love and having marvelllus weekends together. The last pages of the letter are missing – the person who loved Alice so dearly remains a secret. This letter was rescued from a junk shop today. I’ll keep it safe. 17 endearments on two small pages are too priceless to throw away.