I come from a long line of sign writers and am happiest with a brush and some paint! Add
paint to fabric and I get really excited!!

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Signs of the times

Whenever I get home to PEI, I always make a little trip into my Dad’s workshop. I grew up with the smell of paint and it is forever a part of my past. Some people equate baking bread, or even a particular perfume with a part of their childhood; for me, it is oil based paint.
After years and years in the sign industry, Dad still has a few tools of the trade available that he uses if he makes a sign for the church, a local fiddle player,or maybe for the golf course down the road. For years after he retired he made banners for my kids’ sports teams and there were numerous times that he and Mom and my brother drove all the way here to Moncton, NB to paint sets and props for his granddaughter’s Drama program. My sister even drove from St John to help me air brush the plant for Little Shop of Horrors. Yes, we are all crazy like that in this family.....
I loved being a sign writer. I love the feel of the brush in my hand as I create letters. I loved designing signs. I loved finishing a sign and knowing it was going to do a great job for my client. I loved knowing that the sign would last a long time and that I would see it every time I went by their business or when their vehicle passed me on the road. There isn’t much I disliked about my job and I was lucky to work in the industry for a couple of decades.
I never did fall in love with computerized signwriting. I know it had a place in the industry, but I just wasn’t really able to grasp it. There are parts of the technology I like, but as a whole it wasn’t for me. Gradually hand lettering had less of a place in what was a fast paced, customer driven business.
So, when I go home, I have my few minutes with Dad’s collection of brushes and paints. When I do, years of wonderful times and experiences wash over me and I am reminded of just lucky I have been.


  1. Lovely post, Jennifer! It's a nice little view into a world I really didn't know about.

  2. Thanks, Holly! Signwriting really is a lost art in many ways although there is a bit of a resurgence in some areas, especially where there is value on history or the “vintage” aspect. There is a lot of really beautiful work being done with computers, but I just prefer the old school methods.