Craft & Design

In response to my “Lost Knowledge” column on sign painting (aka signwriting), one of our readers, peterman921, himself a signwriter from Southern, Oregon, sent us links to some YouTube videos of the craft. The one above is by Alicia Jennings, aka monkeysign123 on YouTube, a big rig ‘striper and signwriter from the Great Northwest. This video of her painting on glass, viewed from the opposite side, so perfectly captures my childhood experience of seeing a signwriter at work while getting my hair cut, as recounted in my piece.

Monkeysign123’s YouTube Channel

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4 thoughts on “More on signwriting

  1. She’s amazing, I wish I had her talent. I’m glad she shared the tools of the trade, I learned something new with the mahl stick suggestion, clever idea. I just love how she constructs each letter, even though you can guess what it is… there’s still that sense of anticipation as it all comes together!

    1. I find it mesmerizing to watch, just like when I was a kid. The surety of the hand is what gets me every time, whenever I see any craftsperson and a skill that’s obviously come from doing the same thing over and over and over again. There’s something very noble in that. But as profound as that struck me, even as a kid, I also remember thinking how dull it must be, doing the same thing over and over again. I’ve struggled with this duality my entire life: being attracted to obsessive levels of craft, but having mild ADD at the same time.

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Gareth Branwyn is a freelance writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture. He is currently a contributor to Boing Boing, Wink Books, and Wink Fun. And he has a new best-of writing collection and “lazy man’s memoir,” called Borg Like Me.

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