Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Grasping the Illusive

Trying to grasp the illusive, isn't that what we often try to do?  Fleeting thoughts, connections, glimpses of something that could be profound and that really is why I'm trying to explain my choice of words for these exercises.

"Encode, encoding" to me they have a meaning for then and now: the past, that world of cyphers and spying, the mysterious world of John Dee; it is also part of the present with its computer resonances.  But the idea of using the word wasn't linked to either of these things, instead it occured when watching a short interview of an elderly couple on television.  Though long retired he had been a fisherman and she throughout her life had knitted his ganseys, those densely patterned, navy or cream close fitted pullovers designed to fit snugly, to protect and keep the cold at bay.

Herring Girls knitting, filling the time 'til the catch comes in.

So where is the link between ganseys and encoding?  Well, she explained how the many patterns knitted into these pullovers had names: Marriage Lines, Tree of Life, Fishnet.  They were in fact a form of abstract art connected to families and to places. passed down the generations.  It also occured to me that encoded in each gansey were similar messages to those I found in the envelopes arriving from my family, messages of an enduring connection that goes well beyond surface meaning.

Monday, 5 June 2017

Chapter 2 : Lettering Designs

I'm feeling rather muddle-headed about these activities, in spite of working through them twice.  I think I expected instant success, though I'm not sure quite how I'd define that: liking the results, I suppose, is the bottom line and many of them seem contrived without the flow and naturalness that I'd expected to be the case.

Using handwriting is a curious thing, it's such an intrinsic part of self.  Therefore it seems to me my samples work when my writing flows, slopes, is semi-joined.  For the other samples (those for example using a card edge) seem to push me towards an upright hand, the chalk board one with its precision and legibility, but little comfort.  Also, the sloping hand self is attached to the self that jumps ahead seeing the next phase of experiments, their untried nature being the very thing that attracts me.

So, if I discuss the story so far I'll be able to decide where the gaps are so that I can fill them in, decide what I should try again.  These samples are from my very first session.


Some warming up handwriting exercises on a piece of printing paper leftover from a dressmaking pattern download: testing out a range of felt tips -- thick permanent marker, fine super colour marker, the brush and felt tip ends of an Art and Graphic Twin.

Now with Brusho: a waterbrush, feather, piece of metal tubing, then my Grandmother's dip pen.


On the inside of an envelope: a 5.0 calligraphy pen with Brusho.


A metal calligraphy pen with Brusho allowing it to partially run out.


Now much more exciting results using two directional writing. 4: 2:5 is achieved with a water brush, 4:2:6 with a calligraphy chisel ended felt tip.  Both samples use Brusho,

I particularly like the impression of entanglements and knots.  In 4:2:5 there is a sense of disorder, the very opposite in 4:2:6.  The pressure of my hand on the pen is noticeable in 4:2:6.  Both have energy and have started me thinking about how they can be achieved in stitch.


The final experiment of this session where I try out different pens.  The lines of writing in samples 4:2:5 and 4:2:6 used the same pen for each direction.  In 4:2:7 I have used a dip pen horizontally and a waterbrush for the vertical writing.  Interestingly the sample is upside down. Clearly legibility is a thing of the past!  I can see there's scope for plenty of permutations.

And below an example using bleach, which I like very much indeed.