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Simon Kiefer

Typewriter Writing Enthusiast


Several Open Books

Poetry workshops are offered on a wide range of subjects for a variety of age groups.  Two types are most popular - Haiku Buttons and Exquisite Corpse collective poems.

Haiku Buttons feature the creation of haikus or other short poems that I guide people in writing.  I provide art supplies to decorate the typewritten poem and then operate a button maker to encase the poem in a 2.5" button that can be worn on the spot.


Exquisite Corpse (based on a term coined by Dada graphic artists) involves the creation of composite poems by people starting a poem on one typewriter for a timed interval and then moving on to another machine to continue writing for another timed interval continuing the poem started by the previous person.  In repeating this, people rotate while pages stay in the typewriters.  Recitation of the collective poetry created follows at the end of the workshop.  I offer guidance and writing prompts as needed during the exercise.

Writing Letters

A wide range of subjects is offered.   Card-making workshops for kids are very popular where Mother's Day, Father's Day, or Holiday Cards are written on typewriters and then decorated festively.

Love Letter workshops are also very popular.  Attendees of all ages are encouraged and guided in writing lovers, family members, and friends.  I also guide people in writing a letter to themselves - including their former selves (such as at a trying time when encouragement would have been welcomed), future selves and present selves.  A mailing service is available for those who want their correspondence delivered on a requested date in the future.

Yoga at Home

The practice of expressing gratitude on a regular basis has been found to result in benefits on many levels, including physical, psychological, social.  I briefly provide information supporting these findings and then guide people through various exercises that help identify aspects of daily life that invoke meaning - including joy, sorrow, reflection.  These elements help express our individuality, whether they are considered talents or challenges.  I offer attendees blank gratitude writing journals to take home and establish a daily practice.

I assist people interested in expressing stories of their past.  I guide meditation exercises focused on past experiences.  Typewriters help facilitate the expression of this inward reflection.

Pile Of Books
Workshop Offerings



 I hold typewriter writing workshops throughout Santa Barbara County (and beyond) on a variety of topics.  Venues include universities, public libraries, museums, galleries,  nonprofit organizations, craft fairs, festivals, wine/beer tasting rooms.  I also serve retirement parties, wedding receptions and parties in private residences.  My workshops are designed for all ages - from kids to seniors.

I bring enough typewriters so that every attendee gets their own machine and guide folks through stimulating writing exercises.  I provide fine stationary and a wide array of art supplies for people to decorate what they have created.  Workshop topics are described below.  Prices start around $100 and vary depending on the number of typewriters needed and distance from downtown Santa Barbara.

Workshop with University of California Santa Barbara

Writing Program on January 16, 2020

Public Radio InterviewMarika Ravitz WOWD 94.3 FM Takoma Park MD
00:00 / 10:08

Public Radio Interview with Marika Ravitz of WOWD 94.3FM Takoma Park, MD on April 28, 2020

Creative Correspondence
Age-Specific Workshops

Weddings & Retirement Parties

Festive gatherings, particularly wedding receptions and retirement parties often feature guestbooks.  I provide multiple typewriters and art supplies for guests to type and decorate their own personal messages.  I orient guests to the operation of the typewriters and offer assistance in writing their messages, if needed.  I adhere the created messages onto pages of the guestbook and deliver a finished product by the end of the event. 

Age-Specific Events

While my workshops are open to all ages, I also create workshops that are specific to particular age groups.  When working with young children or elderly people, I generally rely on electric typewriters that require less strength to operate.  Folks in between tend to prefer the older manual typewriters.  Card making workshops are popular with children, and memoir workshops are popular with older people.  Everybody seems to enjoy writing poetry and creative correspondence.

Weddings & Retirements
Pop Up Events



I am a retired Urban Planner, with a Master's Degree from UCLA, who worked 30 years for the City of New York and the City of Santa Barbara.  My job responsibilities frequently involved extensive writing.


In retirement, I have found the practice of writing to have therapeutic value and to contribute to constructive community building. 

I use restored, vintage typewriters to encourage people to write and have found the tactile/sonic quality and immediacy of the typewriter to facilitate expressions of emotion, sentiment and spontaneous creativity.

Clients and collaborators in Santa Barbara County include:

SB Public Library

SB Office of Arts & Culture

UCSB Writing Program

Museum of Contemporary Art SB

Explore Ecology/Art From Scrap

SB City Housing Authority

SB Community Arts Workshop


Dunes Center

Youth Interactive

Habitat for Humanity

Municipal Winemakers

Third Window Brewery

Danielle Siano's Story Catcher Mailbox 

Sondra Weiss' Love Letters Project


Pop Up Events

I have set up many spontaneous "Pop Up" events on public sidewalks and at craft fairs, festivals, and private gatherings.  My events cover a range of themes.  Upon request, I create spontaneous poetry, love letters, quirky name tags (naym tagz), personalized library lending cards, bookmarks, poetry buttons (often haiku).  I generally bring at least 2 typewriters, and while I am busy creating on one machine, I invite visitors to create their own on my other machines and to use my art supplies.  I am constantly developing new ideas and welcome any requests or suggestions.  



We have featured Simon and his typewriters in 10 classes and have plans to have him return for an additional 4 classes.  Through guided exercises, students are inspired and typically create 2-3 single-spaced pages during a 30-minute session.  Students are stimulated by the tactile and sonic qualities of the typewriters and afterwards remark on how immediate and engaging the experience is. They note how they put away distracting multi-tasking gadgets and focus solely on their writing.

Dr. Christopher W. Dean

Dr. Kathleen Patterson

Continuing Lecturers of

Writing, UC Santa Barbara

Simon is creative, enthusiastic, and passionate about sharing his one-of-a-kind collection of typewriters and art supplies with the community.

Participants are instantly drawn to not only the beautiful typewriters themselves, but also to Simon's creative and generous spirit. 

Simon creates an environment where analog objects come alive, and participants make art that is one-of-a-kind and completely their own.  

Jace Turner

Community Relations Librarian

City of Santa Barbara, Library

On a 1st Thursday/

KCRW Summer Nights event, Simon's 

typewriters and writing prompts were a huge hit.  Long lines of people formed waiting their turn to create their own unique messages.  Participants were typing the entire night and included the current and former Mayors and some Councilmembers.

Monika Molnar-Metzenthin

Director of Engagement & Visitor Experience

Museum of Contemporary Art

Santa Barbara

News and Events

News & Events

Rentals, Sales &


Typewriter Repair.jpg

I have a vast collection of typewriters that are available for rental or sale.  While I am not a mechanic, I am capable of completing minor repairs and can give advice on maintenance, lubrication and cleaning. 


For workshop offerings, event reservations, and sales & service, please contact Simon Kiefer:

Tel: 805-453-6083|

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