Friday, March 26, 2010

Another of my experiments with unusual scripts. This one is Sorang Sompeng, a script developed to write Sora, a language of central India. I think it has a whimsical quality to it, what with all the little loops and all. That said, not sure this piece uses it to its full potential. I like the second grouping of letters best-- they've got a sense of movement and fun that's missing from the first grouping. I'll be playing with this script more in the future....

Friday, March 19, 2010

Hello, all! I'm back! Not that I've gone anywhere-- I've just been...busy. But now I'm getting back to my creative work and hope to be able to share new things on a regular basis once again!

For Christmas, the philosopher got me a comprehensive tome all about the writing systems of the world. "Writing Systems of the World", I believe is the title. I had no idea there were so many! And so diverse! I immediately began concocting plans to use some of these in my work...the challenging question being, how? I don't know the languages most of them were devised to record, and many of the existing passages written in them are, well, not what I'd necessarily choose to feature in a calligraphy piece. A bit boring, frankly, and of limited interest to non-historians. Not art-inspiring, in a word.

So I began to work with the idea of using an abstraction of text, rather than a real text-- I don't know if you have the experience of trying read something in a dream, but when you try to focus on the letters, they're just a meaningless jumble. I have this dream often-- the most interesting, illuminating book, but I can't make out what it says! Unusual scripts would be excellent for this, I thought-- I can just use the form of text (nonsense letter jumbles, chosen for their visual appeal) in conjunction with layout and color to convey an idea, a mood, to evoke what the letters would say if they said anything at all. Dream-like and evocative.

I quickly found that this was at least as challenging as doing calligraphy based around a quote or poem. The letterforms and layout really have to stand on their own. What I mean is, sometimes when I do a piece, I find myself willing to evaluate the final product more kindly if I really like the quote. It's a weakness. Anyway, that can't happen here.
I've done a few pieces along these lines now, with mixed success. Here's the first of them. Actually, this one does say something, as the example text given in the book was from a folktale and I rather liked it. "Once there was a story, once upon a time", repeated 2 1/2 times. The script is Lontara, for Buginese, an Indonesian language. I'm very pleased with how this one turned out.