Inpouring by Ceri Tallett and Will Hill

Ceri Tallett, Writer
Will Hill, Artist


‘I’ is for “inpouring”

Ceri: I was not present when the sword chose our word so I have no idea which dictionary it came from. What I do know is that the word “inpouring” is not in any of the dictionaries I own. Luckily it is not in the dictionary Will owns either so at least we were both starting from the same point.

The ever useful coughed up a couple of vague definitions which were “to pour in” or to experience an inflow or “an inpouring of spiritual comfort.”

But since neither were a hugely inspiring start, we decided to meet up in person to see what we could come up with over a pint and some peanuts.

From: Ceridwen Tallett
Sent: 14 June 2013 08:06
To: Hill, Will
Subject: Re: 26 words

Hi Will.

Let’s meet at Liverpool St station for 330 and we can go from there.

By Delice De France.

What a place to meet.

I’ll be dressed in bright yellow so you won’t miss me.

See you later.



From: Hill, Will
Date: Fri, 14 Jun 2013 09:10:43 +0000
To: Ceridwen Tallett
Subject: RE: 26 words

That’s fine.

In case you have not been able to access my photo on the Anglia Ruskin Website, I’m the one who looks like a middle-aged graphics lecturer. (Balding, goatee etc.)




We found each other, headed to The Ten Bells in Spitalfields and spent a good hour discussing our mutual crush on Jessica Hische, the typographer who did all signage for Moonrise Kingdom before ordering another ale and getting down to business.

I’d started looking at the antonym for inpouring and made these scribbles before our meeting:


Emptying out
Letting go


Filling up
Bottling it up
Under the surface


Will: At some point during our chat, after the ‘inpouring’ of a beer or two, it occurred to me that the word could also serve very well as a description of the means by which type had been cast for the first 500 years of the history of the printed word.


From: Hill, Will
Sent: Saturday, June 15, 2013 4:05 PM
To: Ceridwen Tallett
Subject: RE: 26 words

Hi Ceri

Such a pleasure to meet with you yesterday.

Summarising the idea that emerged (some way through that second pint):

Inpouring: as the process by which liquid metal becomes type; the typefounder pouring the type metal into the mould with a ladle, as in the attached wood engraving by Jost Amman from 1568, and a plate from Joseph Moxon’s 1694 Mechanick Exercises.

As type metal is primarily lead (actually a mixture of tin, lead and antimony) it’s a kind of alchemical metaphor; base metal transformed, not into gold but (much better!) into language.

Now I’m hoping that you can distill the essence of this idea into a short text (phrase/paragraph/haiku?), which I could then develop into a piece of custom typography.

It occurs to me that this reconnects with the other aspects of ‘inpouring’ that we started with; the idea of internalising experience; synthesising it into something more durable than ‘outpouring’ – as often happens through the act of writing.

I’m really looking forward to our working together

All best,



Ceri: After more discussion, we decided it should be based around a quote on the process of inpouring with the words from the quote spilling out into other tiny stories.

Finding such a quote, however, proved tricky.

From: Ceridwen Tallett
Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 7:06 AM
To: Hill, Will
Subject: Update

Hello Will,

Hope all’s grand with you.

Had the archivist at Pentagram pull out every book on typography and type but yet to find a decent quote about inpouring to make metal type.

Have you come across anything short but good?

Sorry again for my fruitless search.



From: Hill, Will

Sent: Tuesday, July 16, 2013 11:44 AM

To: Ceridwen Tallett

Subject: RE: Update

What do you think to this from Moxon (verbatim and untreated)?

“…while the Mettal is yet hot, running fwift and ftrongly into the very Face of the Matrice to receive its perfect Form there…”

Seems to give about the volume of words we need? I think I’d break it into five or six lines and then your text could run within the letterforms

Attached is a rough layout to show the kind of character count we could expect to fit in the inter-line spaces. We could also let the text run on out beneath the last line of the quote if you like.




Ceri: Watching the videos Will sent me of people making metal type in the traditional fashion got me thinking about the way in which life and experiences pour in and form each of us, just like molten metal pours in to form type.

As I’d also been reading quite a bit on space, quantum mechanics and the cosmos, I ended up using the Moxon quote as a starting point to write a poem about leaving your own print on the universe.

Given the spacing of the design, the text boxes running off the quote were too small to have individual stories in so the poem idea fitted perfectly. The limited space and having each word of the quote as the start of a new line made for great constraints around which to write.

Will: The letters used for the Moxon text were digitally traced by me from specimens of the 3-line Pica Roman and 3-line Pica Italic, probably cut by De Walpergen and first used in 1686-7, as reproduced in the 1981 edition of Stanley Morison’s John Fell, the University Press and the ‘Fell’ types.

Ceri’s interlinear poem text is set using a typeface derived by Jonathan Hoefler from smaller sizes of the Fell types, as part of the HTF Historicals series.  

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