This image is one of many studies of my own ‘personal alphabet’ that I created at Cheerio in May. The amazingly talented, generous, funny, helpful, and encouraging master teacher and calligrapher, Thomas Ingmire taught there for the week. We explored the idea of interpreting poetry, music, sounds through mark-making. From our marks we developed an ‘alien alphabet’. It was so freeing exploring an alphabet which had its own ‘rules’. Pushing the boundaries of ‘letters’ which essentially aren’t real is so much fun – and relatively easy…but then from our alien alphabet we developed a Latin alphabet utilizing the shapes and relationships we explored in our alien version. When asked to push our own alphabet to the limits it was surprisingly (well, maybe not so surprisingly) difficult. The Latin alphabet is in my head and in my hands and arms. I was continually re-thinking the ‘rules’ and found that treating a Latin alphabet in the same way was much more challenging.
We have this pre-conceived ideas of these letters, right? I mean we are calligraphers who have spend a long time ‘perfecting’ these forms which makes it much less freeing when asked to push the boundaries of shape, spacing and letter identity. Our alien alphabets had no rules – they were marks that we found interesting, ‘fun’, expressive in their own right. So, pushing those boundaries was invigorating.
My goal is to return to these from time to time and to explore the Latin alphabet so it can be just as invigorating. Spontaneity and freedom in letterforms takes lots and lots of practice!!
I look back on these now as I move to a new state. Not just new geographical state but maybe even a new state (of being). My new location is ‘alien’ and I haven’t yet set the boundaries of who I am or how I fit into my new environment. So…I’ve tried to jump right in, reinvent, explore, and see what happens if I break the rules a little (not breaking any laws here – just breaking with convention, or what I thought of as convention in my prior surroundings). Anyway, it seems easier to reinvent oneself when plopped into a totally different set of circumstances.
Not sure what I’m exploring in this post – reinvigorating one’s creativity? reinventing oneself? Maybe just simply a way to organize my thoughts as I try to make a new life in a new place.
If you have thoughts to share – please do!
Until next time,