I’ve just returned home from my time in India and I can honestly say that I wish I were back there! It’s not just because of the palm trees or the warm sun, but rather the fantastic Indian folks that we worked with from Tara Books & Footprint B&B, and of course the amazing attendees.
We had a wonderful range of campers: Ingrid from Norway; Annusia from Singapore; Hanna from The Netherlands; Stu & BJ from Texas; Paul from California; Amanda, Kristin, Tania, and Mark from Canada; and Kalapi from Gujarat, and Pavithra from Mumbai, India.
It only took us an evening to really get to know each other, mainly because of Pavithra (‘Do I look like I care if it has ghee in it?’) and because of Hanna and Ingrid’s lack of caring if we crammed 4 bodies per auto and that they had to sit on everyone’s laps (one becomes good friends after that kind of body contact!). That first pre-day of camp demonstrated an ease of being that carried through the week.
We explored and experimented with everything. We took pictures of lettering and type everywhere, and admired the craft.
Our studio was at the lovely Tara Books building in Thiruvanmiyur, a neighborhood just south of central Chennai. The lobby and reading room was converted into our studio for practicing our Tamil type and learning about the local lettering, and the patio was our lunch area.
We were quite the thing as we did our ‘Tamil Type Kolams’ on the street outside.
And the food! Oh, that amazing food. (Several people raised their hands on our first night announcing their love of eating!) Together, we discovered an obsession for Manchurian Gobi at our delectable catered meal at Dakshina Chitra, a new fruit, & nickname for Paul with ‘chikku’, illegal wine at our final dinner, farewell breakfast desserts in Pune, and mountains of fresh tropical fruit for breakfast. Every day was a feast and an exciting one at that.
Our final project was sign painting for the neighbourhood. Expert sign painters gave demonstrations and helped with technique and then everyone created their masterpieces . . . and then they gave them away.
I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again – the friendships that emerge from the week-long camps are truly special. We all connect with each other easily as we all have curiousity, adventure, and typography in common. It’s the individual personalities that are fun to discover, and of course, connect and laugh with. I’m already talking with Amanda and Kristin about a project or two in Edmonton next year and I’m looking forward to seeing Tania in Regina later this year as well. I hope to pop in on Hanna & Kalapi & maybe even Ingrid when I’m in Europe this autumn. Stu and BJ have offered a Type Camp in their area, and so has Annusia, so look for new camps in 2015.
Rathna and I were honoured to have been able to spend a week with the wonderful people that started as Type Campers and ended as Type Colleagues. It was such a success that we look forward to our next Type Camp India in 2016!