I was cleaning off my work desk this morning and found something that brought back a flash of my dad. During my cancer treatments, my dad was also going through his own challenges with heart disease and so we couldn’t see each other in person, but talked on the phone often and shared our woes about our particular challenge that week. I know it was hard for him to know about what I was going through without being able to come visit, but his calls meant so much to me.
When we were growing up my dad managed the Graphic Design department of the Singer Sewing Machine Company (back when moms still sewed at home). His department was responsible for all the instruction manuals for the sewing machines; basically he was in Marketing, the career that I eventually found myself in. I never actually understood what he did until I was in my 20’s and when we both realized that I was working in the same field, we started to connect in a new way. One day he showed me his printers loupe, the device he used to review artwork back when he was still at Singer’s.
I love this thing. It’s solid and hefty, feels good in the palm of my hand. It’s about 2″ x 1″ x 1/2″ in size when it’s closed like above.
To use it, you open the top and then pull the little magnifying loupe out and place it over the art work you’re reviewing.
It sets up in the exact correct position to review whatever art you’re looking at, to help an art director decide which of the images they’re working with is the most exact and has the best resolution for reproduction.
The first thing he told me when he shared it with me, was how all printed artwork is basically created out of 4 colors, CYMK (cyan, magenta, yellow and black). When I looked into the little loupe magnifier and saw my first color image under magnification, I looked up at him with a flash of recognition and said “Oh, it’s just like Pointilism!” and he nodded with a pleased smile on his face. We were a weirdly intellectually oriented family and so I was really familar with Seurat’s pointilism and had always been fascinated with the dots that he used to create artwork. Here were those Seurat pointilism dots, only in a piece of advertising that my father and I were viewing through his loupe.
It was nice to find that we shared this work, and after that we talked about work whenever I visited. Somewhere along the line, he gave me the loupe and I’ve kept it ever since. I actually used it a lot during my own jobs over the years, before everything was computerized and viewed on line. I kept it in my work drawer at J&J, and now keep it on my home office desk. I like the way it feels, the solid metal and hard plastic, rounded edges, the tiny little magnifying glass that is stored neatly away inside. It’s been a touchpoint for me for a long time and I still feel somehow safe and solid when I have it in my hands.