The Typewriter Movement

DRO&I partnered with Greenfire Loft in Seattle's Capital Hill to present an Art Walk event open to the public. We got swamped. For being at the outer edge of the walk's perimeter, people showed up! Thank you to everyone who did.

The Story

For a type-written account of the event, click here to go to the blog.

We were surprised at the turnout for this event. Even more at how excited people were to sit down and give typing a try. And when people showed up who may have been on the fence about trying it, they saw others banging away on the machines and said, "Let's do this!"

And we learned a few things. First, typing isn't easy. Or maybe, typewriters aren't always easy. Watching people who have been used to computer keyboards, we noticed people being very gentle with the keys. We kept telling people, "PUNCH THOSE KEYS!" and we could tell it just felt weird for people to do that, and when they did, they smiled. Beating up a typewriter doesn't feel normal, and I explained to more then one person that sometimes it just feels good.

People were caught off guard to find typewriters missing the number 1 key. Most typewriters don't have the number 1, and use the lower case L instead. And more than one visitor chuckled that they kept looking for spellcheck to kick in underlining words they knew were misspelled. But the most common question was, "Where's the return key?" which, of course, manual typewriters don't have.

More than a few people wrote letters, stuffed them into envelopes, slapped a stamp on it and sent them off. We noticed that getting home addresses was also a thing.


Typewriter artist Kelye Kneeland found herself swarmed on a few occasions with people who were fascinated by her portraits, and spent some time watching her work on her Hermes Baby typewriter. Be sure to check out her Instagram account @kelyekneeland to see more of her work.


And of course what really made this worth the effort was watching the kids who  dove in and got busy. What was interesting, however, was how the kids seemed to be all business compared to their adult counterparts.