Their love of printed language informs many of New Yorker Erin Fae and New Zealander Moira Clunie's choices of best-loved items.
Who said print is dead? New Yorker Erin Fae and New Zealander Moira Clunie are behind a new community art space and gallery in Auckland called Alphabet City, which looks at the written word - from letterpress printing to zines to the book arts to bookbinding. The space will host several workshops and events with a focus on hands-on involvement, including a monthly (the third Thursday of each month - or tomorrow, at 6.30pm) letterwriting club, an upcoming poetry event as part of National Poetry Day on Friday, and the launch of Alphabet City's Zine Library Launch. The pair, who live above the gallery space, both love words, but have their own area of interest: Fae loves intaglio printmaking, making little books and zines and writing as many letters as possible (she says she makes a piece of mail art every day), while Clunie writes, reads and reproduces words using letterpress printing, web publishing and other duplication technologies.
To find out more about gallery and events visit the site above.
Here, Fae and Clunie tell us what makes them happy.
10 FAVOURITE THINGS
1. 1973 Schwinn Breeze
Everything about Petal, a beloved green bicycle made in Chicago, makes Erin swoon. From the curvy "S" on the two-tone seat to the shiny chrome rims, the sparkly handles to the letter-forms on the chain protector. Petal is a magic object. She was stolen on the streets of New York and then recovered against all odds.
2. Zord Robovend
Zord wants to be your special galactic friend. He collects old-sized 50c pieces, and trades them for toys and trinkets. He's currently Alphabet City's butler, and we plan to convert him to vend small poems, mysteries and pieces of art.
3. Victorian slipper chair
These chairs were commonplace bedroom items of the 19th and early 20th centuries. Often called slipper or nursing chairs, they're low to the ground and the perfect size for someone of Erin's small stature. This was the first piece of furniture she bought as an adult. She carried it home from her local flea market in Brooklyn, New York, and, more recently, it made the longer journey across the Pacific to live in Auckland.
4. Wall hanging quilts by Erica Saladino
The first thing we hung up in the bedroom was one of Erica Saladino's wall quilts: tiny squares of colour (orange through to green) framed in a delicious grey with small leaves hand-embroidered over the work. Saladino makes monsters, quilts and archival boxes for books. Her wall quilts are detailed and delicate, on par with a perfect painting. We are lucky to own two.
5. Spacecraft Artplay tiles
The last place we lived was a 1970s hexagonal townhouse, and for a while Moira was drawn to collecting hexagons. Artplay is a set of tessellating wooden tiles, cut from bigger screen-printed images including book spines, polka dots and geometric patterns. Spacecraft's shop is in her favourite part of Melbourne: Fitzroy's Gertrude St, and is full of beautiful prints on wooden furniture, fabric and clothes.
6. Hermes Baby typewriter
Manufactured in 1940s Switzerland, the Hermes Baby had a revolutionary compact design that spawned a generation of imitators. Ours was made for the German market, with a "qwerty" keyboard and umlaut key, but lived in Rotorua before joining Alphabet City's typewriter collection.
7. Museum of Jurassic Technology
The Museum of Jurassic Technology is an institution that blurs the line between fiction and artifact, instilling wonder in everything. We visited together in Los Angeles last year and discovered exhibits including "Tell the Bees" (old wives' tales and ancient remedies) and "The Eye of the Needle" (microminiature sculptures carved from a single human hair).
8. Serious Bear
Last December's Finders Keepers Market in Sydney was packed with lovely handmade objects. Serious Bear, sewn in Australia by Cat Rabbit, found his way into Moira's suitcase and under the Christmas tree. We love creatures, critters and monsters, so Serious Bear with his sleepy eyes, red bow tie and beret was a welcome addition to our menagerie. He can often be seen fraternising with some of Erin's Blythe dolls.
9. Artists' books and books about art
A love for finely crafted books of all varieties was part of the impetus for starting Alphabet City. Erin will do just about anything for a good art monograph. They're beautiful objects all on their own with their weight, binding and heft, and that doesn't even begin to cover their contents. She's especially fond of any book about Surrealism, Egon Schiele, post-mortem photography, and modern printmakers and photographers.
10. Queenie's Lunchroom in Freemans Bay
Light and airy, with a cleverly curated mix of old and recent New Zealand design and royalty memorabilia. We love sipping coffee, eating delicious food and staring at the paint-by-number mural and (faux) antler lamps. There's always the latest issue of The New Yorker and various art and design magazines to read.By Zoe Walker Email Zoe