Friday, February 1, 2013

Kathy's first letters

I confess to stealing an idea -- wait, I mean finding inspiration -- from Ersi's post, where she doodled all over a sheet of paper, then tore it into random 7 cm squares as her background.

I had some paper that I had covered with illegible writing, mostly in walnut ink.  After I tore it into the background squares, I added letters cut from some paste paper that I had made in a workshop a few years ago.

I have a psychological block when it comes to calligraphy, being always afraid that my letters will not be beautiful.  So to sidestep the block, I have taken to making letters that aren't beautiful, just functional.  This is a personal alphabet that I have used many times over the years, executed in various mediums.  I guess it's loosely based on the classic typeface Optima.

When I cut letters out of paper, I use an X-Acto knife but I like to work from the back of the paper, without marking it.  I find that working blind and in reverse gives a spontaneity that I would never achieve if I were obsessing from the front.


  1. Oh, I don't think it's "stealing"...the scribble-sketch I posted will probably be my final piece; my peace words will also be my background.

    (Photos when I've sorted my camera software)

  2. It's an honour to have my idea stolen by you :)) But of course it isn't 'stealing' at all, I agree with Dinah. I LOVE your set of letters, it's gorgeous. The background is fantastic and hey, I may 'steal' your idea of cutting out letters from the back of the paper, the result is indeed spontaneous and absolutely beautiful!

  3. I love the small, surprising compositions that come out of "doodling" on a large sheet and then cutting it into smaller pieces. It is so rewarding to see these little masterpieces that result! And your spontaneous looking letters are wonderful. What is "perfect" anyway? Calligraphers (and typographers, etc.) are always exploration what makes a letter that letter. What makes an "a" an "a"? I think you've captured the letters and they are whimsical and interesting I can't wait to see more!

  4. There's a punch and vibrancy to these along with the delicacy of the 'scribble' which makes these letters zing. Interesting that you have chosen Optima which was one of my favourite typefaces - although I was frequently told that echt designers do not have favourites, of course always using what is appropriate!

  5. I love it all. I love the delicate scribbles and wash marks in the background, and I like the boldness of the cut out letters - and I think its a great idea to cut them from behind as it gives you much more vibrancy in a way. Looking forward to seeing the rest of them.


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