Friday, 11 May 2012

Arts Trail 4 - Traditional signwriting

You know how much I love the colourful narrowboats on the canal, with their distinctive hand-painted signs, decorations and pictures.  It was lovely therefore to meet Bradford-based Craig Ainge, who was demonstrating the art of traditional signwriting in the back yard of one of Saltaire's Open Houses, as part of the Arts Trail.  Craig is the only signwriter in the north of England to be accredited by the Waterways Craft Guild and he also uses his skills and experience to produce hand-painted signs, murals and restoration work for a variety of other commercial and heritage projects.  He was busy here with a painting incorporating the lovely roses that so often feature on boats, but there were examples of many more different styles of traditional writing.  I particularly liked one that said 'Dress Circle' with a finger-pointing hand, the kind of sign that would have been commonplace in old theatres - just the thing to put at the bottom of the stairs!

 (My current header shows more of Craig's work.)


  1. I've always admired this skill. Quite mesmerising, isn't it?

    1. Yes, fascinating to watch the layers build up and the forms take shape.

  2. What a great folk artist ... These type of signs would look wonderful on your canals narrow boats. The "Saltaire" sign in your header is very classy. Well done Craig!

  3. I thought I'd like to be a sign painter when I was a kid. It's nice to see the skill is still alive.

    It looks like he's using One Shot, the paint sign painters often use.

  4. He seems to know what he is doing.

  5. Just doing some catching up reading blogs. This has to be one of the more under valued arts!

  6. Love the sign! And how I wish I could have been on that Art Tour for real. Beautiful art, historic homes opened, England in May -- perfection!

  7. I also like these traditional signs. It must have been enjoyable watching a colorful sign emerge as he worked.


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