A new year - > new projects! A new year is also the perfect excuse for a new arrangement in the studio. While things are constantly changing places in our apartment, the studio desk has remained in the same spot for well over a year. This feels like an unusually long time to me...I am a wholehearted proponent of that principal of feng shui that says moving twenty-seven objects brings new energy to a space (I swear it's true!). The desk is now at an angle to the window, & I'm enjoying the new view from my stool, as well as the easier access to the window. Space has also opened up for my easel to go next to the window, & I am excited to resume painting with oils; I've had too many unrealized ideas floating around for far too long.
You don't really get a sense of it from the photo above, but when I sit at my desk at the moment I feel as though I am in a garden of Paperwhites, & it's lovely. The only thing missing these days is sunlight—though the sun did stop in for a nice visit today—& we're now up to a generous ten hours & five minutes between sunrise & sunset...
One project that has started up again is A Letter a Week 2014, edition five. Begun in 2010 by Australian artist Fiona Dempster, ALaW involves creating a letter each week of the year, for a total of two alphabets by year's end. The brief always includes an alphabet that is to be inspired by a particular theme (this year it's "place"), & the other one is open to the artist's interpretation. In both cases the letters must each fit within a 7x7-cm square & ultimately be brought together into a final piece...this can be a book, a wall piece, a quilt, a set of cards, etc. Last year Fiona organized a lovely collective exhibition of the three previous years' work. (More about the guidelines on the blog for this year's ALaW.)
While I completed both alphabets in 2012 (my first year participating) I did not fare so well with ALaW 2013. In fact, I am still working on my "Peace" alphabet, & will likely not manage the second one in the interest of completing both of this year's alphabets. It was not for lack of inspiration or time at the studio table that I struggled with ALaW in 2013, but rather that I had a hard time settling down & committing to a concrete direction...I tend to get carried away with the "process" sometimes, & enjoy playing with/stretching ideas—unfortunately sometimes at the expense of bringing them to a conclusion. If anything, ALaW has been useful in making me understand this; hopefully by the end of 2014 I will be able to say that indeed I did manage to apply what I learned from 2013's attempts.
The structure of this first set of letters, my "free" alphabet, borrows from an idea I was developing for one of the alphabets last year; it will consist of twenty-six "sleeves" that each slide over a 7x7x2.75-centimeter box made of Canson Mi-Teintes paper in a variety of colors. Here are a few shots—with a glorious slice of sunshine—followed by images of the files...
The concept for these "letters" came to me as I was creating a gift card for my parents' seventieth birthdays. I started playing with a couple of letters, trying to conceal their identities, but allowing them to guide the design. At first I experimented with blocky, sans serif fonts, but decided to see what would happen with the more flowing English Vivace. Through a series of manipulations—duplicate, flip, group, rotate, repeat—I then grouped the resulting elements into a new object, duplicated it & altered its dimensions (which changed the amount of space between the individual letters that comprised the object). I transformed them further by applying different colors & then began layering the designs (sometimes with a further rotation of the original). This likely doesn't make much sense, but I will try to record the steps of one of the letters at some point to clarify the process.
|The alphabet in English Vivace|
Here are some of the letter arrangements in a more basic form; you may remember them from my Christmas greeting in this post. The first one was made from 16 "P's," the second from 32 "J's," & the third from 16 "L's" (inspired by "peace," "joy" & "love").
Most sleeves will likely just have a design on the top, but these next two images are screenshots of the print files for those with designs on the sides/bottom as well (the lines at top/bottom are guides for the scoring-lines).
Now I just need to decide what will go in the boxes!
I didn't photograph the original card before sending it off to my parents, but here are some of the others that have helped along/further inspired my AlaW alphabet. The first, a birthday card for my sister-in-law, is based on "A" (the colors are a little off as there wasn't much light the day I sent it off/took the photo). The next two are cards I made for my daughter's birthday, variations on the "E" theme. I'm looking forward to discovering other ways to use these designs...