A Workshop in the Revived Art of Hand-Painted Signs

Vanessa Power has left several marks across the city.

Her hand-painted signs are on shop fronts, restaurants, and cafés, from Two Boys Brew in Phibsborough, to Meet Me in the Morning off Camden Street.

In May, she’ll be moving indoors to the Chocolate Factory on King’s Inns Street, where she plans to offer classes to those who want to learn hand-painted letter styles and techniques.

Power says that it was a natural transition for her into hand-painted signs. “I was working in web design for five years, and I always had an interest in lettering and typeface,” she says.

Since then, she has taken commission after commission in the now-revived art form.

“I think there’s an appreciation for craft, and also I think people are trying to move away from the digital age a bit,” she said. “Hand-painted signs take hours and people notice that and they appreciate it.”

Power says that she will supply the materials – paints, paper, brushes – for each of her sign-painting workshops, which cost €275 for two full days. The next one is this weekend, 13 and 14 May.

There are a handful of people painting signs around the city, she says, and lots of businesses seeking the skills.

“One of the main guys, Colm O’Connor, has done the majority of the signs in the city and another guy, Lawrence O’Toole. So I think somebody said that I’d be fresh on the scene,” says Power.

This month’s workshop will begin with instruction on block lettering styles and brush strokes, brush control, technique and consistency.

It’s for all ages and skill levels, says Power. “I hope people’ll get the experience of sign painting, a little bit of a foundation so they can try it out themselves.”

Sometimes it can be painstaking, sign painting outdoors. “It’s 12 hours a day, sometimes,” says Power. “But you do get used to it. My family would never see me outside. A creature comfort sort of girl but I just love painting so it doesn’t matter whether it’s outside or not.”

More sign-painting workshops are planned for August and November. “The more people painting signs the better,” Power says.

People can find out more information about the upcoming workshops on thelocals.ie.

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Cónal Thomas: Cónal Thomas is a city reporter for Dublin Inquirer.

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