Thursday, 15 December 2011
Sign's on it: the craft still lives
THE LYF so short, the crafte so long to lerne, as Chaucer had it - and so, all over Dublin, tacky vinyl signs are replacing the beautiful hand-lettered shop signs that once beckoned customers in.
But not everywhere. There are a few signmakers still left, like the Painted Signs crew at http://paintedsigns.ie/
You see them working, changing and restoring the lovely old gold leaf signs that were the pride of Dublin, bringing them back to their glory. And in the case of the Welcome sign on McCormack's Celtic Jewellery in Grafton Street, producing a glorious piece of fantasy.
In the multilingual welcomes, there's a curly fada over the 'Fáilte', and a 'kickout' - a dropping decorative serif on the 'N' of 'Benvenuto' that leads the eye into the centre line. The use of English and Irish in a larger face in the centre, and the longer welcoming words on the top and bottom line framing them, gives an impression of many more welcomes than the six there.
There are a few streets the vinyl bandits haven't got to yet, and there are a few shops that are searching out true signpainters who can give their premises signs of timeless beauty and lasting quality.
In a city that has abandoned the beautiful green street names with their white cló Gaelach and English lettering surrounded by a delicate curled line, and replaced them with a slamming industrial blue with misspelled, non-standard names in Irish, it's a real pleasure to see that someone keeps the faith yet.