24 February 2015

Orange-inspired: ALaW "Place"


Hello again! As promised, here are some more of the orange/paper-related photos of the letter forms shown in the image at the beginning of my previous post. I really liked how the light hit the different surfaces, and the shadows that were created by/in/on these little "places"...

...which is how I am thinking of these letters. They are my belated solution for a project I was working on last year, A Letter a Week 2014, the theme of which is "place."

You may recall that I was studying Italo Calvino's Le Città Invisibili (Invisible Cities) in preparation for the "place" alphabet. But, try as I might, I could not come up with an elegant way to structure/do justice to Calvino's fifty-five "cities" with a mere twenty-six letters. I did have fun trying though, as I played with ideas ranging from designing a board game to a multi-sectioned/windowed fold-out book, a deck of cards or a sort of fantastical map. And, in the process, I certainly became more intimate with this poetic work of Calvino's, which considers the multiple facets/personalities of Venice through fifty-five poetic tales.

As an alternative, other ideasa Florence-centric piece, an artist's book featuring eight of my favorite cities, a series of collages focusing on urban elements...really, the theme of "place" is just about the most inspiring thing I can imagine—tumbled around in my mind. But I was distracted by other things last autumn, and this second ALaW alphabet of the year ended up falling by the wayside. So, with 2014 drawing to a close, I found myself contemplating simpler ways of addressing the "place" alphabetsomething less left-brained and more about simply working with my hands.

I started thinking about how to use paper/the structure itself to "draw" the letters and somehow arrived at the idea of creating them from strips of paper seven centimeters high. Each is then housed within a 7x7x7-cm volume/"room," which keeps the letter shape in place; the letters can thus be "read" in either two or three dimensions. Even with past ALaW projects (for which the letters are each required to be presented within a 7x7-centimeter square), I have often found myself extending into the third dimension. Over all else, structure tends to be the aspect that drives my work/designs, and in this case it's definitely the principal element.

Color also plays a role; I've chosen a dozen or so colors of Fabriano Tiziano, and will use different combinations for the various letters of the alphabet. As the making of these first ones coincided with the "orange" edition of the ROY G BIV photo challenge, they each incorporate orange for either the letter, its housing, or both. (ROY seemed as good an excuse as any to get the ball rolling.)

My initial thinking was that each letter would essentially be like a small book(let). This will perhaps be more evident with some of the other lettersthose composed of straight lines, as opposed to curvesbut can be seen here, for example, with the "Z." I had even considered introducing words onto the "pages," but I quite enjoyed how the sun interacted with the little letter-forms on the gorgeous day when I photographed them last week...and that seems to satisfy any yearning I might have for "content." I especially like the triangles of light & shadow on the "Z" in the second image belowthere's a bit of an optical illusion happening.


The next images show the letter forms free from their confines...


So, I am looking forward to seeing how these letters
turn out as I work my way through the alphabet
 (slowly, no doubt, but I'll get there!).

 Here's wishing all of you a creative week...

19 February 2015

Orange joy


Once again, it's time for the ROY G BIV photo challenge, and this month we have been looking for "orange." For January's edition I let paper inspire me, so I thought I'd continue with a paper theme again this time. As is often the case, other tangents tempted me, and I must say that it's the most fun I've had for a while (things are still not the same around here since the beginning of the year).

Orange is my favorite color, so the hardest thing was probably deciding what to photograph. My day is full of orange: I brush my teeth with an orange toothbrush, my hair with an orange hairbrush, use amber shower/hair products and orange towels. Orange curtains frame the windows, which look upon terracotta roof tiles, blankets & wraps in shades of orange keep me warm, I pour tea from an orange pot into a cup with a sliver of orange rind. And since it's citrus season, the fruit basket is inevitably bursting with the delicious blood oranges that are at their best right now. However, I opted not to catalogue my orange life here (at least not visually).

In the image at the beginning of this post you should be able to just make out some letter forms for one paper project I'm working on, belatedly: the "place"-themed alphabet for A Letter a Week 2014. Originally I had planned to include several more photos at the end of this post, but have since decided to create a separate entry——so this post is less paper-y than I had first envisioned.

Here are some notes on the photos that have remained...

First is an image of the confetti (known locally as coriandoli) I made in honor of carnevale this week. When I emptied the hole punch of the orange and copper circles I had cut, out fell the remnants of a long-ago project, adding some other colors to the mix——certainly more in the spirit of Carnival. 

After the confetti is a picture from this morning...it's not the first time I have posted an image of the early sun falling on the roof tiles and so beautifully highlighting their curved edges, but this "crescent"-enhancing moment delights me each time I catch it.

Next is a selection of my favorite orange-spined books. The one on top——All the Little Live Things——is my current read from Wallace Stegner, an author whose writing I savor. Not page-turners, but rather stories with a painterly sensibility, told at a pace that invites on-the-page reflection, I have been taking my time working through Stegner's collection. You may notice that Witold Rybczynski's books compose a good chunk of the stack...I've always enjoyed how he writes so engagingly about the multiple facets of architecture/building. (I only just realized he has a blog, which I have yet to peruse.)

And then are some chili peppers that have been slowly drying (shriveling!) over the last several weeks. They began as a bouquet of bright oranges, reds & greens, but had changed considerably by the time I rediscovered them when making a pot of chili earlier this week. (In fact, they are perhaps even more photogenic now——definitely more patinaed——though I will spare you the dozens of photos they inspired me to take).


I thought I'd finish with this photo of an orange freesia that I took a couple of years ago, against the temporary "garden" of freesias that popped up on the studio table during a photo shoot. I liked the image so much that I gave it a title——OrangeJoy——and offered it in my Etsy shop for a while (plus have sent many post card versions as thank you's). It remains one of my all-time favorite pictures, and fills me with joy whenever I come across it.


Here's wishing joy for everyone, in whatever shape, form or color
that happens to be. I'd actually love to hear which color symbolizes
joy for you if you'd like to note it in the "comments" section...

And Happy Year of the Goat/new moon!


For those of you who are not familiar with the
ROY G BIV photo challenge from past years, it was first begun
by artists Jennifer Coyne Qudeen & Julie Booth. Each month is
devoted to a different color of the rainbow, and once we do each
of these we will move on to other colors later in the year. All
are welcome to join in the search. Please visit Jennifer & Julie's
 blogs for links to other participants. Guidelines are here.

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