< There was a timeâ€2.5 million yearsâ€when stone was an exclusive material. Later came the Bronze Age, followed by the Iron Age. Fast forward to our digital age. In our interface culture, it’s understandable (the by-product of a modern life) to reflect on materials characterized by a slow, natural paceâ€shaped without the awareness of internet speed and bandwidth.
A stonecutter’s tools cherish time and the quality they can bring, particularly in making typography, composed of hard-earned shapes. Etching letters into stone begins with drawing, though a pencil didn’t cross my mind as one of the first selections in a stonecutter’s toolkit. Each letterform is drawn before making the cut.
Like the formation of stone, the mallet-to-chisel motion is at a steady pace, slow and natural.
The letterforms undergo a progressive journey to escape flatland.
The sculptor Michelangelo said, “If people knew how hard I had to work to gain my mastery, it would not seem so wonderful at all. The relationship of stone and metal encourage respectâ€for craft, for timeâ€by way (one of many) of hand lettering. Their combined effect is wonder. Their hard-earned lesson is humility.
Photographs from Eye Magazine’s “How lettering is made for public display: hand-cutting in stone.