Do-It-Together Artists: Movable Type Truck

Kyle Durie needed to recharge her creative battery. She left her business printing wedding invitations to embark on a cross-country letterpress adventure.

tiles for letterpress printing

Photo: Sarah Gordon/WFIU

Much of the equipment in Kyle Durie's Movable Type Truck, including the letter tiles, is at least 75 years old.

Taking A Movement On The Road

The Do-It-Yourself movement has its roots in punk rock of the 1970s, when bands would record, produce and distribute albums on their own without the help from the existing corporate structure. That mentality has blossomed over the past forty years to include everything from growing your own food to making your own clothes to fixing your own car. Some young artists are embracing what seems to be a natural out-growth of the DIY movement: the Do-It-Together movement.

Outside the Bloomington Print Collective’s studio, the Movable Type Truck has set up shop for the evening. Kyle Durie transformed a 1982 Chevy Step Van into her own mobile letterpress studio. She’s making a stop in Bloomington, Indiana as part of her year-long tour of the country conducting workshops. Visitors will be able to print free B-Town Indiana posters in her shop.

Road To Letterpress

Durie came to letterpress printing after she finished her art degree. She fell in love with it. “I just really liked the hands-on physicality of it,” she says. “It has a very immediate sense of creativity and production and inspiration.”

Three years ago, she opened her own business making wedding invitations and business cards. This cross-country adventure came about because she felt the urge for a creative change. “I wasn’t feeling terrifically inspired and kind of wanted to recharge my batteries,” she says. “Hopefully this will kind of feed some more inspiration when I get back home.”

Durie feels like she’s part of a movement: The general interest in DIY culture, specifically the resurgence of the popularity of hand crafts.

“I think it has to do with the spirit of self-sufficiency and sustainability, that we can just take matters into our own hands.”

More: Listen to Kyle Durie talk about her experiences with the Movable Type Truck here.

Annie Corrigan

Annie Corrigan is a producer and announcer for WFIU. In addition to serving as the local voice for NPR's Morning Edition, she produces WFIU's weekly sustainable food program Earth Eats. She earned degrees in oboe performance from Indiana University and Bowling Green State University.

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