John Rigby & Michael Forrell of
"SMART-ARTS" in Wagga Wagga NSW
request the pleasure of your company at the first ever


Australian gathering of Letterheads

The aim of this get together of Sign & Allied Crafts people was the free exchange of ideas...
The techniques & passing around of traditional skills such as gilding, marbling, wood carving, calligraphy, pin striping, along with sessions on the history of sign writing in an environment of hands-on workshops filling the weekend of May 20th to 22nd 1994
All were welcomed to the SmartArts workshop in Wagga and the only must do's were:
Bring along: Your Signkit
Your Photo Albums
Your Enthusiasm

Not a bad way to start I'd say

I wasn't at the first letterheads meeting in Australia but by the kindness of John Rigby who sent me his photos, clippings & a copy of the program I almost feel like I was.

The program speaks of Friday as the casual getting acquainted, swap & chat time and goes on to say that this would be a great time to view each others portfolios & photo albums.

Followed by display and talk on Transfer Release Technique.

After lunch guest speaker Mr David Nimo would enlighten everyone with his view of Design in the Sign Industry and related fields.

Saturday held a terrific list of hands on workshops, with Wood graining & Marbling by Mr Roy Woodwood of Wagga TAFE, also a Gilding & Leaf Demo to follow morning tea.

The great Ozie tradition of B.B.Q lunch was alive an well by the looks of things, and then it was on to Calligraphy by Mr Bruce Boyton.

Sunday morning the program mentions a Sausage Sizzle for breakfast...
Knowing as I do, what this lot get up to on a Saturday night of a Letterheads weekend, I can't image too many fronting up for that.....
But then again you know what they say about hangovers & greasy food!
It'll either fix it or ...... (I can just imagine the line up for the dunny!)
The team effort required for Screen printing on the Sunday morning was nothing if not confusing, check out the pic of Michael Wicks with a little help from his friends (grin)

A chance to see other parts of this place we call home is another great part of a Letterheads event and a visit to one of Australia's largest private collections of sign related memorabilia owned by Mr Brian Lynch of Wagga can't hurt either,

After lunch Mr Tony Gibbs of Truck Art demonstrated the skills involved in Pin striping, as most of us know dedication to this form of sign writing is a life time pursuit.

2pm saw the official end to the weekend. But of course that doesn't mean a thing to attendees that just can't stand to let the weekend be over.

From the Signs Australasia & Sign News articles that I've read on the Wagga Wagga meeting I found that nothing much has changed over the years since John & Tony took a chance and invited everyone to their place for the weekend.

Apart from grinning for 3 days another thing everyone has in common is the question "Where's the next one gunna be?"
Around 65 folk attended and the decision to hold the next meeting in Jindabyne at Mark Norling's Snowy River Signs was made long before the last person left for home.

From ol'hands who have lived many summers in the world of signs to young apprentices who need to see the beauty of "the way we used to do things" those 65 people all got a gift from this meeting.
They returned to their daily lives with an renewed enthusiasm for their craft.

And they can count themselves as some of the first few, who grew to be the many, that is Letterheads in Australia!