Tim Jordan, aka Typewriter Tim, started playing the typewriter as a percussive instrument while studying painting at the University of Kansas. Soon after, he got the idea to blowtorch manual typewriters, and did so after someone told him that he couldn’t. From there, he stumbled upon the idea of infusing glass into them after accidentally jamming some glass dips into an old one, and spent years finding a glass blower that would let him experiment with mixing glass and metal – something that you’re not supposed to do.
When he’s not blowing glass into typewriters or playing improvisational funk music with his band, he is an art facilitator and therapist at Artists First at the Turner Center for the Arts.
I started playing the typewriter as a percussive instrument while studying painting at The University of Kansas in 1993. Soon after, I started blowtorching typewriters after someone told me I couldn’t. I “accidentally” jammed some glass dips I had upside down into a torched typewriter. I then became obsessed with recreating that effect without glue.
For the next 10 years I asked every glassblower in the region I was in to help me pour glass through typewriters and they all said the same thing, “Glass doesn’t mix with metal. It won’t work.”
I moved back to St. Louis from Los Angeles and got a random phone call from someone at The Third Degree Glass Factory after he heard what I wanted to do. I couldn’t believe it because I had already given up my quest to find a glassblower by then. So we started burning, filling, ladling, dripping, flipping, pouring, wrapping, and playing with glass and typewriters and their parts, having the greatest time doing it.
My bands play the most beautiful improvisational funk music with a typewriter player for 3-4 hours nonstop just like how we throw 2200° glass on interesting metal machines.
Zen and the Art of Typewriter Tim is a retrospective of process, duality, setting the stage, letting go, and the work creates itself with the help of my friends. I like the idea of things that don’t mix, and are extremely different, getting along and being cool. People think it’s funny that I hate to type. My smug answer is that typewriters don’t type. We just sit there, waiting for a muse. That part is you.
Typewriter Tim’s exhibition runs through February 25th. For more information, visit swic.edu/TheSchmidt.