[Alyson Kuhn] I have always been fond of ampersands & have even gotten to write about them on occasion, including here. Today I’m pleased to introduce my new cookie cutter. Now I can have my ampersand & eat it, too!
Air pockets in the sourdough cause a jaunty, jagged edge; more significantly, they allow acute seepage of butter & jam. Photo by Beth Kellman.
This anatomically correct cookie cutter, made by Stadter, is a recent gift from Mary Austin, whose collection of artist books we’ve featured on Felt & Wire. I had mentioned to Mary my fantasy of making ampersandwiches … & she indulged me with this gem of a cutter. I promptly proceeded to impose on several friends to photograph me & my ampersands.
Counter attack: I extract the two little doodahs from the body by gently poking with the handle of a butter knife. Photo by Nancy Shapiro.
The Pacific Center for the Book Arts (PCBA) publishes an occasional journal called … Ampersand. I called & asked if I could contribute an article about my cookie cutter. Well, serendipitously, the Maker Issue of the Ampersand was about to go to press, & Yvonne Tsang, the journal’s editor, offered to include my article as an insert!
The Maker Issue served up many papery delights. Generous swatches of paste papers by Marie Kelzer (whose work we showcased in our Summer Solstice tribute to Mohawk Superfine), tipped onto letterpress-printed comb silhouettes showing the actual comb configuration used to create each pattern.
Marie Kelzer’s paper of choice: Mohawk Superfine 70# Text Soft White
I cackled over another ingredient in the issue: the clever coaster below for a Mojito à la Printer’s Devil, designed & letterpress-printed by Lisa Rappoport — who has thus far resisted my suggestion that she start a blog called The Rapp(op)or(t) Repor(t) — & Yvonne Tsang.
Below: My article in the Ampersand was die-cut … into a slice of heaven!
Back to those toasty ampersands: They are a soupçon fragile, lacking the dynamic stability requisite for insertion, no matter how gently, in the slot of a vertical toaster. Actually, you could insert, but you would be hard pressed to extricate. A toaster oven is ideal for small batches, a baking sheet in the broiler for a bigger production.
I took my ampersand over to Mary Austin’s with a loaf of cinnamon raisin bread — which proved quite tricky to cut, partly because of the slippery raisins. In a moment of overkuhnfidence, I wandered off to the dining room briefly, returning to discover smoke curling up from the oven.
Amper Sans Black — a fleeting typographic novelty
I will avoid sugared breads in the future & plan to experiment with buttering toasted ampersands & dusting them with cinnamon sugar.
Ongoing research: I am on the brink of actually making ampersandwiches. My strategy will be to leave the counters in the bottom ampersand, apply the filling (such as cucumber & chèvre, or chopped egg & olive), then top with an ampersand whose counters have been removed, revealing the filling. Lisa Rappoport has suggested that ampersandwiches on a picnic might logically be called hampersandwiches, whether they contain ham or not. For cheese & hampersandwiches, I’m hoping to cut an ampersand out of a slice of Jack or Havarti. Have at it!
Below: Amper Sans Dark (Chocolate) makes a tasty thank-you note, set by hand, for my friends at Logos Graphics, who produce the Ampersand with such panache.
The Maker Issue of the Ampersand is sold out, but other back issues are available here.