Rob Ryan

‘As Each Year Went By…’ Wooden Height Ruler 2016

Posted by on Tuesday 7th June, 2016

As you may have seen, we recently launched the new edition of the ‘As Each Year Went By…’ Wooden Height Rulers. The team have been working hard to finish the new edition here at Ryantown HQ. Here is a behind the scenes look into the production process.

The original design was cut from paper many years ago and transferred onto silkscreen where it has stayed ever since. There have been many incarnations of the design in many colour-ways with hand-painted accents to make each edition different.

Once Rob decided on the colour-way for this edition, he drew up a detailed plan for us to follow. This guided us through each stage of the ruler production.

ruler drawing

Work begins by lightly sanding down each ruler so the surface is smooth and easy for Josh, our printer, to screenprint onto. We can then measure out the design on the rulers, ready for the next stage in the process. With the help of the wonderful Daisy and Maria, who come in for work experience, each section is hand painted. This creates the background to screenprint onto later.





Using a roller, a bright orange strip is added onto the left hand side. This is where the numbers of the ruler will be screenprinted later.



Now Josh can get to work screenprinting each ruler. As the ruler is longer than the screen bed, it has to be printed in two sections. The blue section of the design showing the text and figures is printed first. The white section of the ruler measurements can then be printed to complete the design. You can find out more about the screen printing process here.




The text printed on the ruler reads: ‘As each year went by, and each day I got one more day older and hairier and cleverer and sillier, I ran so fast and talked and drank 7up. Until, Until, one day I discovered how thrilling it could be to walk around slowly and take my time. Looking at the things in my town as they passed me by, savouring them and enjoying them. And as i walked I realised the futility of anger. I resolved not to return cruelty with more cruelty but to always rise above it!!! I determined myself never to be dragged down to the miserable depths of their angry and bitter existences.but to always return a frown with a grin, and a scowl with a smile and a song. And I grew and grew as quickly as I could believing in forgiveness rather than holding a grudge and as I grew I slowly realised that every thing that is supposed to be in heaven is already here on earth.’





When the rulers have been printed and are completely dry, they are carefully checked so that Rob can sign and edition them by hand.




Height ruler 2016

The rulers are an edition of 26 and available to buy from our online shop.

If you would like to learn more about the history of the height rulers, read our blog post ‘Height Rulers: a History’. You can take a look at the 2014 ruler here.

Briony Mullan
Studio Assistant