I stumbled across these tickets at an Oregon historical society museum last fall, and thought to snap a photo of them, something I've been trying to do more often when I see interesting printed ephemera while visiting these wonderful little museums.
It's a reminder of the importance of the printed piece. Even when printing becomes the detritus of everyday life it serves to tie our lives, experiences and activities to a string of human history. A dance ticket stub, bus transfer, postcard, tradesman association or union card becomes a point on the map of an individual's life.
These days we're lucky if a community makes the effort to preserve its historic grange hall or community dance hall from those times in which these structures were the center of American social life. These buildings, once quaking with life, provided refuge for young folks from societal restrictions and older folks from the rigor of the work day; they housed secrets and celebrations, where revelers began new branches of family trees or just caught up with the news from the neighbors. Many of these halls have been completely wiped from history by fire, decay, new development, etc. Often times it's the printed pieces that remain to tell the story, as is the case of the tickets pictured above.
The tickets, printed in the 1920s and still with us nearly 100 years later, demonstrate the role that the printer played in telling that story of these lives and communities.
Here in Portland we have the Every Sunday Square Dance, which is a weekly community dance held at the historic Village Ballroom. What a perfect opportunity to use the inspiration of the Silver Spray Gardens tickets to print some tickets for this volunteer-run event.
I came up with what is pictured bellow. Offset printed on utility grade #110 index using two spot colors, the tickets were also mechanically numbered on a platen press, and then die-cut using a custom die for this job.