Museum of Forgotten Art Supplies

Unforgettable Art Supply Moment No. 2 - Carole Walsh

January 4th 2012

"My Most Unforgettable Art Supply Moment" is a series of short interviews with seasoned artists who have survived substantial combat in the great war of the graphic arts. Each participant was asked the same five questions.

In her own words, Carole Walsh has been a graphic designer “…for long enough that I remember most of the forgotten art supplies shown here at the Museum -- since the days before computers when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and cutting and pasting involved X-acto knives and blood.” A long-time contributor and fan of the Museum, she now resides in South Florida where she maintains Carole Walsh Graphics & Design. Learn more about Carole at

1. Can you recall for us your worst most unforgettable art supply experience?

I remember many instances of cutting myself with an X-acto knife which wasn't so bad, as long as I didn't bleed on the mechanical. If it didn’t happen while cutting up type galleys (remember type galleys?) for paste-up, then it would be while cutting rubyliths for color overlays or silk screening. I particularly remember not liking the swivel-point X-acto. It was supposed to make it easier to cut curves, but often ended up going off in some direction I hadn't planned on.

2. Other than your first answer, is there an art supply that you've hated having to use more than any other?

There are actually two: (1) the dreaded hand waxer and (2) spray mount adhesive! The hand waxer constantly leaked wax all over the place and ran out of wax at the worst possible moments. The wax turned yellow with time and showed through to the other side of the paper. It spilled on clothing and burned your fingers. There were three choices way back then for pasting down copy, all of them awful: wax, rubber cement (way to slow), or spray mount. Spray mount was just as awful as the waxer, except you couldn't burn yourself with it. But the hair on my arms would get coated with the stuff, as well as the hair on my head and in my nose. I can't imagine what my lungs must have been like after years of using it.

3. On the other hand, can you think of an especially favorite art supply that you miss the most that has unfortunately left us for that big art supply heaven in the sky?

My all time favorite was an art/light/drafting table that my boyfriend at the time made for me. He built a wooden frame for a large aluminum frame storm window, then mounted it on two wooden legs so that I could rotate the angle of the window, as well as raise and lower it. Under the window, there was a shelf that held a lamp. I taped a large piece of graph paper to the underside of the window to diffuse the light, and the graph paper gave me perfect guides for paste-up. This is more or less what it looked like:

4. Are there any other art supplies that you've just plain thrown away that you wish you still had?

Same answer. I wonder if that wonderful table still exists somewhere.

5. At one time or another, a lot of us have purchased something that we thought was soooo cool when we saw it at the art supply store, then we ended up never ever using it. Has this ever happened to you?

Every time I’d walked into an art supply store, I'd find some new Letraset press-on type. (Did anybody call them fonts back then?) The typeface would look so cool that I'd have to buy it. I ended up with tons of Letraset that I never used.


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